Digital consultant for Havas Worldwide, Aurélien Pécoul has +6 years experience providing digital components, making websites, managing teams, and working with clients to design, implement, and supplement their digital strategies such as rebranding and advertising campaigns.

How does your job fit into the advertising process? My job is to provide digital components to our client’s advertising campaigns. Using the client’s brief I research and recommend what they should do on the internet whatever their goal is: to launch a new product or service, to brand or rebrand their image, publicize events, etc. I decide which channels the ad campaign should communicate on such as a website and/or which media platform(s) they should use (pinterestfacebooktwitterviadeolinkedin…), and how.

Content management systems (CMS) and services are constantly improving, and it can be expensive and time consuming to switch platforms, especially if you have +1,000s of pages with 10,000s of links (internal and external). Therefore companies generally budget for a modernization of their already existing site. So my job involves updating websites that were built using the CMS available at that time.

You create entire websites dedicated to an advertising campaign? In addition to your advertising efforts across your social media platforms, it might not be necessary to create an individual website for every advertising campaign you do, a sub-domain or maybe even just an individual page on your website or post on your blog might suffice. It all depends on the goal and life of your advertising campaign. Another option might even be creating an image branding website specifically dedicated to showcasing your advertising campaigns.

Any advice on linking my blog to my social media platforms? The purpose of social media should be so that visiters can follow you and interact with you, and many blogs try to accomplish this by linking to their social media platforms using a simple hyperlinked icon:

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But sending your visiters away from your website and toward social media platforms before you’ve had a chance to ‘convert’ them is extremely dangerous from a Customer Relations Management perspective because, let’s face it, facebook and twitter are professionals at occupying, distracting, and engaging their visiters. Your sending your visiters to them could lead to your visiters getting swept away onto other pages and websites before they’ve had a chance to ‘follow’ you.

A better approach would be using Application Programming Interfaces (API) integration between your website and social media platforms so they can follow you immediately and on your website. Why send your visiters away from your website to your Facebook page when you could integrate facebook directly into your website? When you think about it this way, your website is no longer a free standing website with share buttons, but part of a bigger online eco-system, like a dashboard your visiters can follow you with one click without having to leave your website and will want to refer to again and again:

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Be careful though! Using API requires a certain budget and you’ll have to stay on top of it. Policies and software do change, so there’s always a risk you could spend a sizeable chunk of money integrating an awesome API into your website only to find at the next policy change or update that it no longer works as effectively as it did, or that a better tool has been launched.

One thing is for sure, expired widgets, tools, and API versions make websites appear outdated and abandoned.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: As an example, a few years ago twitter offered the following buttons for website integration:

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As of this interview, their vertical count button is no longer offered and even their horizontal count button has changed slightly. See for yourself.]

What are some misconceptions you encounter? Some brands think in terms of channels and not content. You ‘need’ a facebook page but don’t know what to do with it. You ‘need’ a website but don’t know where you want to go with it.

Secondly, there was a time when everybody ‘had to’ be on facebook – no matter what – as it is a popular social network. I agree with Steven Brinlee, Senior Creative Director of AR NY that brands can get so “caught up in this forward momentum, it can become a sort of ‘me too’ default reaction for brands, causing them to be easily enticed into jumping headlong into the pool before taking the time to define what they actually want to be in that digital space.” But it’s important to remember that without a goal and a clearly defined brand objective there’s no reason for you to be on facebook, or any social network for that matter.

I also agree with Thomas Palugan, Data Consultant for Ogilvy that “opening a facebook page and simply posting things isn’t a safe solution.” Diving headlong into a social media without thoroughly thinking it through could backfire and you could regret it.

Before you do anything, your main question must be “What is my story? What am I trying to accomplish?”

Where do you go to for ideas and inspiration?  I follow so many blogs and websites that it’s easier for me to use  Feedly with Google Reader to follow them, but here are a few of my favorites:

What is one of your most favorite advertising campaigns? I appreciate PETA‘s “Stay Firm and Fresh” video for it’s shock value:

I have a small advertising budget, any advice? If you already know your target demographic, the main rule of websites is content is king.

Consider creating a corporate website that:

  1. Communicates your philosophy and values,
  2. Sells your product or service, and
  3. Blends seamlessly into your blog. If your blog looks different than your corporate website, it feels like a different website. like it’s disassociated from the corporate site. If your website and blog are built from the same template, then it can give the impression that your brand is bigger than it may really be.

Your blog should request something from your visiter, the “call to action”. This leads to your conversion rate. Your objective could be for the visiter to:

  • subscribe to your RSS,
  • make a donation,
  • share your page,
  • give you their email address,
  • download something,
  • etc.

The less money you have, the more creative you have to be with the limited resources you have. This can be a good thing if you’re creative. It means that nobody else is doing what you’re doing.

Lastly, don’t reinvent the wheel. Chances are whatever service or widget it is that you’d like to incorporate into your website already exists in some form. So before you spend time and money trying to create it, search the internet and see if you can find it.

I want to update my website, any advice?

  • Instead of your homepage being your blog, create a read-only (no comments section) corporate informational page that outlines your philosophy, values, and goal, has your social media API integration, and links to your FAQ page, blog, and press page – Like a dashboard for your website.
  • Less is more. Organize your content so it stands out and easy to browse.
  • Your content must provide useful information or people won’t come back.
  • Put as much content as you can on your home page without crowding it, and  organize your navigation and website to reduce the total number of clicks visiters must make to find any piece of information they want to as few as possible. The more clicks visitors must make, the more likely they are to leave.

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