Centralising multi-brand multilingual sites
Over the past 100 years Imperial Brands (formerly Imperial Tobacco Group) has established itself as one of the world’s leading producers of high quality tobacco products. Imperial's brands and products are available in over 160 countries, it employs over 33,000 people, and achieved a 2015 revenue of £25,289m.
Imperial has a diverse and fragmented brand offering worldwide. Prior to this project, the brand sites were managed independently, on different platforms. This decentralised approach resulted in fragmented brand equity, with no control or visibility over site content, consumer communication and user data. This decentralised and disparate approach was leading to multiple, escalating digital budget requirements.
Imperial needed a centralised content management solution that was scalable and offered an efficient platform to enable regular updates by multiple users across many countries, whilst addressing the legal boundaries which differ from country to country.
Sitecore was selected at the technology platform, and the build was exclusively implemented by Building Blocks, including UX consultancy, technical architecture, front end development, back end development, testing and deployment.
Sitecore has enabled the centralisation of multi-country, multi-language brand sites onto a single platform. The solution takes advantage of Sitecore’s capabilities to support all of these requirements, for example, the ability to host multiple websites within a single instance of Sitecore, enabling regionalised instances of sites across multiple regions/languages for each brand, whilst being edited from a central point. The implemented solution uses Sitecore Dictionary and built-in translation handling functionality to store translated versions of common text, for use across these regionalised site instances.
Imperial currently has multi-language, multi-brand sites live in GCC, Germany, Russia, Greece, Algeria and Japan.
Customer experience improvements
Prior to the Sitecore solution, Imperial’s consumers had no real reason to come back to the sites; the sites had no dynamic content which could be refreshed regularly, easily and at low cost. The solution Building Blocks delivered has enabled Imperial’s market teams to deliver localised, relevant content, with the central marketing team retaining control.
Previously, the worldwide sites looked different, with no uniform brand offering. Imperial are now starting to rollout the global builds, so that no matter where you are in the world, if you visit the sites you will see the latest, consistent branding and experience a site which is delivering the essence of the brand enhanced with relevant, localised content.
Imperial can now personalise the user experience. It tailors content based on past interaction to provide a much richer and more relevant customer experience. For example, Imperial can communicate with the user in real time to invite them to participate in off-site interaction with a specific, time-based offline activity, where they can connect with the brand.
Imperial can drive and track consumers from online to offline events and back again, rewarding them with loyalty-based programs. The solution enables the triggering of onsite banners and emails as consumers work their way through the loyalty program and become ambassadors of the brand.
Business stakeholder improvements
Imperial’s business users ‘in market’ can now upload their own country-specific content and activations, whilst utilising its global dynamic to continually engage consumers. They can also utilise consumer data to target specific local promotions.
Imperial’s marketers can now use the platform to deliver global, unified brand equity and promotions, whilst gaining key consumer insight and data. The central marketing team now has constant visibility of market uploads, which means they can ensure the brand is represented correctly across all of Imperial’s digital touchpoints.
Future digital roadmap
The project exceeded all targets set by the business, many by a considerable margin, within the first month of launch. By successfully delivering and exceeding its KPIs, the solution Building Blocks implemented has helped to demonstrate the power of digital to the wider business, and secured further investment into this solution in the future.
The sites that are currently live are only a small part of the overall digital plan for ITG. There are a further three new brand sites going live in the next six months, with another three regional rollouts over the same time period.