The interface contains tabs that, instead of linking to pages on its own site, link to social media properties where the brand has a presence – YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Wikipedia and Twitter search. In fact, the index page, if you want to call it that, opens to Twitter search for #skittles
Tweets were flying left and right with sentiment ranging from “What an incredible idea; I LOVE THIS! Website nothing more than aggregate of what everyone is saying about u,” (my sentiment
) to “What do Skittles.com and Modernista.com trend indicate at meta level in regards to SoMe?” IMO, it’s fashion. No more, no less.”
(Skittles is not the first attempt at such a creative approach. Branding agency Modernista
started the “trend” more than a year ago.)
What is of most importance?
First, Skittles bucked conventional wisdom about what corporate brand sites should be,
especially those of packaged goods companies. Compare, for example, Skittles to Tide
and more relevantly, Jelly Belly
Second, this move pays homage to the importance social media has on building a brand’s reputation
. Mashable’s Stan Schroeder said it best
: ”We won’t see all corporations do a complete social media makeover [à la Skittles] anytime soon, but we will see them give more and more importance to the various social channels out there.”
Keep in mind, this is not a complete abandonment or acquiesence of control over the brand. After all, links go to sites where Skittles does maintain some level of governance – YouTube, Facebook (fan page) and Flickr to name a few. It is an acknowledgement that the brand and its consumers can and should partner in co-creating brand reputation and buzz.
What is most important is that Mars recognizes that the strength of a brand relates to how much conversation there is about it. And, right now, there’s a lot being said about Skittles.
It’s a risky, gutsy move that some will pass off as gimmicky and unoriginal, given that Modernista has already “been there, done that.” However, I think the real lesson here has little to do with the execution, and much to do with the philosophy behind it.
Whether it will prove to be a win for Skittles remains to be seen. What it is is a win for the importance of social media and the impact it is having on commerce and culture. Thanks to Skittles the cat has been let out of the bag and it can’t be put back in.