Four quick wins to make your ‘satellite sites’ less of a nightmare

Jason Sumner. Jason is a white man with very short dark hair, a short beard and glasses. He is wearing a light jacket and shirt. Jason Sumner

Be honest, how are you getting on with those parts of your corporate digital presence I call the satellite sites?

These are the areas of the digital estate that are supposed to speak to your company’s countries, regions or markets with one unified brand voice, and also provide an unmistakable local flavour.

You may have little to no direct control over what the people who run these satellite sites do day to day, and yet your job, from a message point of view, is to keep them from crashing into each other or spinning off into deep space.

The problems you already have with managing the main digital presence – competing demands, multiple internal stakeholders to please, disjointed content – are all magnified at local level.

It’s tempting to throw up your hands and just let them get on with it, but that’s only going to cause more issues down the line.

I want to share four strategies that the best companies in the Bowen Craggs Index use to ensure satellite sites circle the central digital presence in nice, tidy orbits.

Study the best for the right set-up

There is no one-size-fits-all governance model for managing local sites at the top of the Bowen Craggs Index, but you can also count the number of models that work well on one hand. Some companies keep control of local digital communications with every market presence on one centralised platform. Some find more success with a mix-and-match model – for example, separate sites for larger markets and smaller ones consolidated into the main presence.

Get granular with content strategy

This is where you have to invest some planning time. Decide which content sections will be fully provided from the centre, which ones will be fully localised, and you allow flexibility. Core “about” content needs to speak with one voice around the world, but does it make sense to send visitors to the global corporate pages or tailor something locally? The answers will depend on the time, level of interest and competence of the local teams. See Lilly for a sophisticated balance between centralised content about the group, with localised editorial about operations in particular countries.

Translation is always a trade-off

A few good rules of thumb here are to translate according to local needs and budgets; have clear demarcation and signposts between English and non-English content; mixing and matching is possible but needs to be handled with care. See this best practice Italy page from NXP, which is an example of effective, targeted translation.

Use your header as a hub

No matter what model you choose or the sophistication of your content sharing, you need to ensure that visitors can get to any part of the corporate digital estate from any other part. That means you need some variation on the global hub menu in the header of every corner of the global estate. See AXA for a great example to follow.

Go further with the hub by adding social media, business and brand sites, and any other “satellites” that make sense for your visitors!

To discuss how Bowen Craggs can help you address this, and other challenges, please get in touch.