The employees at Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications can certainly attest to the challenges of large-scale Web site redevelopment.
LMGT.com, launched April 5, replaces three separate corporate sites. It introduces a new corporate marketing message, "Evolve & solve," and it tops that messaging with a new corporate image, the Yin Yang symbol. The site also offers a solutions finder, glossary of technical terms and international publishing templates to drive traffic, awareness and sales.
LMGT chose Web developer Circle.com, Rockville, Md., to not only provide the initial design but also remain available to work out kinks as they came along.
"Foremost in our minds was [creating] something that played into our integrated marketing and communications strategy, and was customer driven," said Sigrid Badinelli, director of strategic communications for LMGT, Bethesda, Md.
The site was a tricky task. For starters, LMGT is a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp. that has $1 billion in revenues, 4,000 employees and little history. It was created through the Sept. 26 combination of Lockheed's Integrated Business Solutions and LMGT, and the acquisition of Comsat Corp., Bethesda, Md.
Each of those companies had basic corporate Web sites, but none had a site that could illustrate the power of the combined entity. "We couldn't reuse a Web site [that already existed]," Badinelli said.
In creating a corporate identity, LMGT marketers chose the word "infocom" to describe the merged companies' services-a combination of data transportation, network architecture, application development, hosting, outsourcing and systems integration.
Corporate advertising agency Integrated Communication and Entertainment Inc., New York, assisted in coming up with Web site themes for LMGT, and the "Evolve & solve" message. ICE also developed the orange and purple color scheme the company chose.
But before the launch of an advertising campaign, LMGT's in-house Web developers were charged with defining how a comprehensive set of services would provide customers with competitive advantage.
"We are in the middle of a branding process to position this new company to our key audiences, but it is going to take some time before it is completed," Badinelli said. "As far as Web development, we knew we could not sit on our hands until the branding process was completed."
Content management is perhaps the site's greatest strength. When brainstorming the project, LMGT architects hatched the idea of associating all content on the site with the appropriate LMGT products and services.
Five categories were created-connectivity, security, e-solutions, infrastructure, and development and integration-and each was dubbed internally as an "egg." Almost all content published on the site is associated with other content, so visitors clicking on a specific page are always offered more information of similar interest.
"This was one of the most productive and challenging aspects of creating the site," Badinelli said.
Considerations were given to global reach, said Susan Glimcher, LMGT manager of strategic communication. Divisions in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Columbia, Peru, India and Turkey have either already launched, or will launch in the next several weeks, locally hosted sites addressing their markets. Plans are underway to add additional foreign venues. In all cases, local sales and marketing executives are brought in to advise on what they want from LMGT corporate, and what they want to do themselves.
"We spoke with senior executives from every line of business, and the research and discovery we did from the beginning proved valuable," Glimcher said. "Each country is responsible for their Web site. Common look and feel is maintained by providing design templates."
To win support for the site, LMGT sent an e-mail, signed by CEO John Sponyoe, to all employees, inviting them to test out the site. A press release was issued one day after the launch to build awareness with the public, and sales and marketing offices worldwide were encouraged to contact business partners and customers with an invitation to visit.
The site was built to respond to inquiries. E-mail addresses for about 30 employees in areas such as customer care and sales were embedded in the site. Each of those employees was trained on how to respond to queries directed to them in advance of the launch.
The project was vast in scope: More than 50 LMGT employees were directly involved in the six months prior to launch, Badinelli said. Glimcher said telephone and e-mail interactions between Circle.com and LMGT numbered as many as 60 per day in the first few weeks after launch, as sentences were reworded and other kinks ironed out.
That plans were made for Circle.com to host the site during the first three months-the so-called "burning period" of a relaunch-eased the process, said Suzanne Dyer, account supervisor with Circle.com.