What we like about... Nestle.com

Nestlé's corporate web estate leads the Index of Online Excellence, with 221 points out of a maximum of 280. Jason Sumner explores what corporate digital managers can learn from the Swiss food and drink giant’s impressive online presence.

Nestle.com is one of the few corporate web estates in the world that combines big strategic thinking with a highly professional focus on detail – the site hums with efficiency, and has few flaws.

Three big things that Nestle.com gets right

It is hard to choose just three, but I’ve picked out the parts of the Nestle web estate that we get asked about all the time at the moment – explaining who and what the company is; promoting responsibility and reputation in an era of extreme public cynicism; and how to organize a complex international network of country and brand sites.

Explaining the company: Several sections work together to tell the Nestlé story – the core information is in ‘About us’, but the corporate site has primary sections on Brands, Innovation and ‘Our stories’. About us has most things we look for when benchmarking sites. It explains what Nestlé is and does in clear terms and offers more detail if visitors want it. The organizational structure is explained in the ‘Management’ section, an often-neglected aspect of ‘about’ sections, but one that many visitors will be looking for. Social media channels are used well to help stakeholders build up a picture. Nestlé also makes the most of its long history, helping to tell a story about what the company aspires to be today.

Screenshot of the Nestlé About us page with banner text: About us. Nestlé is...the world's largest food and beverage company. We have more than 2000 brands ranging from global icons to local favourites, and are present in 190 countries worldwide.

Building a reputation for responsibility: We look at two main aspects of reputation in our benchmarking. In American football terms one of these is ‘offense’ (promoting the company’s good works) and the other is ‘defence’ (defending against attacks). Many corporate web presences still omit the ‘defence’, perhaps they are not as well known or they hope the issues will just go away. Nestlé’s web presence does both jobs well. Specifically, the relatively new ‘Our impact’ section presents the company’s goals and commitments in an engaging way for general readers, and ‘stories’ cover responsibility themes. Controversies are addressed in the long-standing ‘Ask Nestlé’ section and elsewhere, including a ‘palm oil transparency dashboard’. The whole estate, including Facebook and its other social media channels, is used to put across Nestlé’s case.

Screenshot of the Ask Nestlé page showing 'Our palm oil transparency dashboard'

Organizing a complex international estate: Three separate elements of best practice comprise Nestlé’s seamless approach to helping visitors navigate the company’s wider virtual presence – a comprehensive country site menu accessible from the universal header; a simple, but well executed Brands section with prominent links; an innovative social media menu in the site footer that signposts multiple social channels from a single icon.

Three small (but important) things

Other elements from the Nestlé web estate worth emulating include:

  • Nestle’s active engagement of stakeholders, even critical ones, on Facebook
  • An innovative approach to the company’s history
  • Thorough contact options for stakeholders, which helps send a message about transparency

Where can Nestlé.com go from here?

The Bowen Craggs methodology deliberately leaves room for growth, even at the top of the Index, because standards are constantly changing and ‘the best’ is a moving target from year to year. Where Nestlé can improve, relative to its peers, is in serving jobseekers. Although the core job search is approaching best practice, there are surprisingly few profiles of employees and other resources to ‘sell’ the company as an employer. Apart from that, the challenge for Nestle.com will be to continue to polish and improve on the best practice standards in digital communications that it has helped to set.

For more insights on all aspects of corporate digital communications from the experts who advise 25 of the world's 200 largest companies, download the Index of Online Excellence and subscribe to our weekly newsletter

First published 29 January, 2020
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