Marged Lloyd, Head of Online Communications, Standard Chartered Bank has just been through the process. This is her advice from the front line.
Commissioning a new corporate website for one of the world's largest banks - especially in the context of the current economic climate - was always going to be a challenge. We got there, and learned a lot along the way. Every project is different, but I think the points below have universal relevance.
1. Think wide (and in phases)
To avoid duplication of effort and expense, it's best to think wide and ambitious at the outset of the project and then build the work into phased streams. Thinking in 'siloed' projects and teams only causes disappointment and more work down the line.
2. Get the right people on board early
There are two important steps to ensuring this happens. Firstly, develop a clear agenda and agree it with key parties. Secondly, get the right senior project sponsor and internal stakeholders on board from the word go. Do both these and your project will move more quickly towards the result you want.
3. Never stop promoting and consulting
Don't assume that everyone in the business knows what you are doing. Quite often busy colleagues will have no idea of the plans for, or progress of the site; maybe they're commissioning projects or initiatives that could add value to your project.
4. Use the expertise you have in-house
Don't underestimate the skills and knowledge of your colleagues. Alongside the know-how provided by your agency, advice and insights from people within your business who understand specific audiences and their relationship to your website can be indispensable.
For example, your Resourcing team may have precious insights into what's happening in the recruitment industry that could influence your approach.
5. It's a brave new world - take it all in
Today, you have to consider the wider range of channels available to you and your audiences. Don't just focus on your website but do be practical, building in new channels (like social media) slowly and methodically, with the right resources behind you.
6. Identify the business issues the website is there to solve
As with any communication, your website is there to solve business issues; it's not just a means to publishing information. So balance what internal stakeholders are trying to achieve against audience needs.
If you can find a key business problem, say the cost of recruitment, and use the site to help fix it you'll win the hearts, minds (and budgets!) of senior sponsors in the long run.
7. Be courageous
Finally, don't be afraid to challenge what is being asked of the site. It won't be the right medium for every communication to every audience, and you'll need to think wider to really bring the right solution to your audiences.