Nowadays…it is difficult to miss the Mircosoft cloud ad campaign…they have displays pretty much everywhere in London. www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud/default.aspx
They did get something very well…You DO remember it!!!
The cogs are visually very distinguishable.
Once online, the website mimics exactly the same features. Microsoft did a really nice job on brand continuity.
The same features (cogs) are creatively used (compare to other B2B websites) to deliver content.
What is relatively strange when visiting the website, that it is not a product website at first sight. The top navigation that features the ‘solutions’ is hardly visible. (whether it is on purpose or not is another question)
They clearly first wanted to engage with the visitor. It is mainly done through video content. Quite often (way too often) b2b websites consider their home page as the real estate to promote everything immediately. A bit of news, a bit of promotion, a bit of events etc. This usually turns visitors quickly to the navigation or the search facility. In Microsoft’s case, they tried to first engage with them.
They also have user specific content. When clicking on the ‘Explore’ option, they prompt you to answer some questions, based on which, you do get a tailored made response, that is easy to download, share or send. This again, not rocket science, but personalized content delivery is still a scarcity in the b2b online environment.
So, so far so good.
What did they get wrong?
I guess one criticism on the design can be that it is indeed very blue! It does ‘blue’ you away! Having said that, it does strengthen the branding and it does make the site very easy to remember.
It is annoying that videos don’t play unless you install Microsoft SilverLight…grrrrrrr! Such a shame. (but at the end of the day…it is a Microsoft site, so one should not set his expectations too high)
They did get the engagement level right, however it is kind of difficult to see what they are actually selling. Once you are on ‘solutions’…they are driving back the traffic to specific Microsoft product pages…those are actually featured on the Home page too, but not necessarily in a very visible way. My feeling is, they do lose the visitors there.
Considering all of the above, I do think the objective of this campaign was mainly to increase brand awareness and they did do a good job on that! And let’s forget for a moment about the products they are actually selling.