Sanofi : Overlooking domains
A web estate is not fully prepared for a re-branding exercise.
Sanofi, a France-based pharmaceuticals group, has re-branded itself but has not prepared its web estate fully for the change worldwide.
Sanofi shareholders voted formally on 6 May to shorten the group’s name from Sanofi-aventis. A new logo was introduced as part of the re-branding and has replaced the previous one in the header of the global website, which now has the shortened URL sanofi.com. Country sites use the same template as the central site and have incorporated a new panel to the right of the header that gives updated graphic links to: the group site, sanofi.com; its video channel, sanofi.tv; and the affiliated Sanofi Pasteur site.
They do not, however, yet feature the new logo and continue to sit on the local domain version of the old URL: for example, Brazil is at sanofi-aventis.com.br, France at sanofi-aventis.fr. Attempts to use an updated version of the URL (‘sanofi.country suffix’) mostly return a ‘not found’ message when typed into the browser; for example, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Russia, Sweden. The UK and US default to the country site on the old URL (in the latter case the addresses include the little-used ‘us’ suffix).
Sanofi had clearly anticipated a ‘yes’ to the new name from its shareholders and had geared up to get the re-branding of its web estate under way once the tape had been ceremonially cut. The new logo was slotted into place in the header, and country sites equipped through the common template with a panel of updated links based on the new shortened URL. Overlooked in the exercise, though, has been any systematic preparation for an estate-wide switch to the shortened URL or the gradual familiarisation of users with the Sanofi name.
While a phased roll-out of such a major re-branding exercise, rather than a ‘big bang’ switch, is to be expected, it seems that the company does not own or has not yet bought up most of the country variations of its shortened URL – where it does have the local addresses locked up (UK and US) it is correctly linking them to the existing sites. Better to add them to the portfolio quickly and forestall any potential problems down the re-branding line.http://www.sanofi.com
First published on 07 June, 2011