By MAIRI CLARK,, Friday, 26 January 1996 12:00AM

There are many pitfalls to be avoided by companies planning to set up on the Net. Edited by Mairi Clark

There are many pitfalls to be avoided by companies planning to set up on

the Net. Edited by Mairi Clark

Who is best suited to building you a presence on the Internet?

Once the novelty of just being on the Web wears off, smart advertisers

will create innovative sites that offer a compelling user experience and

value-added services that lever brand equity. Once that happens, it will

be difficult for the non-creative new-media specialist, which cannot

claim the ability to deliver ideas that build a brand. At the same time,

complex new technologies will create barriers to entry for agencies and

independents that do not understand the medium’s creative potential or

cannot keep pace with the changes and make the required investments.

What’s needed is a new kind of team that understands the potential of

technology to deliver an outstanding consumer experience beyond the

scope of traditional media.

Ajaz Ahmed, AKQA,

The simple answer to this question is that it doesn’t really matter who

builds your internet presence. You just need to make sure they are

specialists who possess both experience and expertise. These people work

for all kinds of different companies and are best judged by the quality

of the sites they have produced for other people. What is of critical

importance is who you choose to be the architect of your site, and how

well they work with the builders jointly to realise the plan. Strategy

and objectives must be clearly defined long before any computer buttons

are pushed. Otherwise there is a real danger that the site will not be

consistent with the overall communication of your brand. Advertising

agencies, as experts in your brand communications, are ideally

positioned to be the architects and must take this role if they are to

offer a truly integrated service.

Rhona Tridgell, Ogilvy and Mather,

An internet presence should be in keeping with the personality of brand

and hence the development process should involve the guardian of that

brand - the creative agency. This lesson is painfully demonstrated by a

number of the client direct sites. However, although agencies must

maintain an involvement, the level of commitment, the production

resource required and the flexibility needed to straddle the variety of

communication disciplines that Web sites necessitate will probably be

beyond most agencies. An effective presence will be best developed

within a situation similar to the current poster specialist/agency

relationship. This allows the main agency to maintain a creative

understanding and a strategic overview of the medium, but use the in-

depth media resource of an outside new-media independent.

Chris Perry, DNA Communications,

In the past, the only people who had this expertise were what agencies

called nerds. Unfortunately, a nerd generally had no concept of the way

that advertising works. Now, agencies are employing nerds to sort out

their technical questions. But the problem is that agencies (with four

or five exceptions) do not understand the culture or technical

restrictions and facilities that the Internet offers.

The best solution is the specialist creative consultancy, which offers

both creative and technical expertise integrated into one neat package.

Agencies, almost universally, don’t understand the medium or the

technical issues. Production houses cannot offer creative solutions.

Teccies can’t meet the client. Nerds don’t understand advertising. But

specialist consultancies with in-house expertise should provide good


Shop around. If you think what you’ve seen from a company (of any sort)

is just what you’re looking for, get it to pitch to you - make sure you

spend some money before you waste your opportunity. And be certain

before you go online that you will achieve your aims, because if you

cock it up, it will be a year before you can try again.

Felix Velarde, Hyperinteractive felix@hyperinteractive. Web site:

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