May 15, 2007

French mis-connection

French Connection have entered into the world of social networking with the launch of their website. I stumbled across the site getting a slagging in the Sunday Times Style supplement, which wasn’t the best endorsement . . .

The site itself is fairly simple in its format – and leaves much room for User-generated content. The main problem is that it’s a complete ghost-town, without very much going on and seemingly very few people engaged in the campaign. It’d be interested to see the real numbers behind the campaign – but at the mo it seems to be a turkey.

Where French Connection seem to have gone wrong is in assuming that as a big brand it’s got the pull and the relationship with its consumers to be able to create their own walled-community. This is a big mistake, and one I’ve seen a number of brands fall into.

What brands should be doing is creating brand related content to be distributed via existing social networks (e.g. Facebook / Myspace), rather than trying to create their own social networks from scratch. The BBC are spot on with their strategy here. At no point has the BBC attempted to create a massive BBC network. Instead, it sees itself as a content / entertainment provider, whose content is consumed by whoever wherever. And it’s the “wherever” bit that’s most important – hence their creation of the Radio 1 Music Cube project, which embodies this to the full.