≡ Menu

Dear Saab. Your Site Sucks

Usually when I don’t like something I try to give constructive feedback. But in this case there’s just to much of a history involved. About 9 years ago I tried to pitch ideas on Saab. Partly because I really wanted to work with a car brand and partly because they were Swedes. Already back then were the account managed by Lowe Brindfors. I thought Lowe did a shitty job then and obviously they do a shitty job now. Will they never learn? (That goes for both SAAB and Lowe)

Today, as was writing a blog post about integrated communication (soon to be published) I decided to do a quick video analysis of the current SAAB presence online. And let me tell you…it sucks big time. Sorry for the shitty English. But it serves the purpose.

I don’t get it. Aren’t car brands supposed to senior managers employeed that knows their shit? These guys sell products that costs a fortune and they can’t even product a simple site that will convert people into buyers. It scares me.

The first thought that comes to mind is that the marketing department don’t know what they’re doing to the brand, and that’s of course true, but then I think about it a little bit more. This is not a marketing department problem. This is a management problem.

Jan Åke Jonsson and the rest of you ‘silverbacks’ way up in the hierarchy! SAAB is not an industrial company – it’s a B2C product oriented and brand driven car company backed by great technology but emotions and brand comes first. And Jan, don’t come telling me this is a thing for the marketing department. Branding and marketing should be your, the management group and the board of directors first priority. It’s what your future is all about!

So. Jan Åke and the rest of you managers at SAAB.
You’ve sold SAAB to another company outside Sweden, but the a large majority of the cars are still being built in Sweden and lots of peoples incomes rely on you and your management team taking the right decisions. In the long run even I will be affected if you close down. And trust me, if you don’t stop acting like fools when it comes to branding issues (cause personally I think there are more problems than the site) you’ll close down anytime soon. It’s time to stop loving your history and focus on the future!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://twitter.com/Jenefeldt Jenefeldt

    Let’s not forget that Lowe Brindefors has a catastrophic site on their own. From a interaction design point of view it’s hell. You get sick just by watching, its a total chaos. If I told my boss Lowe Brindefors was a company we should look into and gave him a link… he would reply “what the hell is this?”.

  • Rudolf

    The motor is running but noone is driving the SAAB car! They have been fucked for many years. Let them die in peace!

  • Anton

    Dear Johan – I couldn’t agree more. Sad actually, I assume they’ve spent a shit load of money on it as well :-)

  • Matthieu Hartig

    Hilarious video. The level of frustration just keeps growing… what a dreadful experience, sure to contaminate Saab’s brand.
    I myself tried to “build my own Saab” and, when done, expected to be able to share it with the buttons down in the right corner… but no, i just found myself on Saab’s FB page. Tragic.
    Still wondering why saab.se leads me to choosing between their cars and planes (wanna buy a JAS online, anyone?) and then on their international site…

    Let’s see if LB can defend themselves better than when Walter N. analyzed their new page.

  • Anonymous

    Which is the best car site then, which brand and in what market? Presentation of the car, modern and to actually buy it online. Some of the old ones or up and coming (KIA, Ssangyong etc)?

  • http://www.goncalves.se/ Robin Rutberg Goncalves

    I love the “gloves off” attitude of your review. I myself have not visited SAABs site, but there is a huge recognition factor in the “*LOUD NOICE FLASHY VIDEO* – Quick, close” reaction.

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    :)

  • stefankrafft

    So truth! And they haven´t improved them self for a long time now. For a couple of years ago I was about to buy a new car. I loved the commercial they had then with the magical song “Release me” and I decided to look SAAB up and ended up on their “campaign-site”. The magic was there, the feeling from the TV-commercial that I liked so much, I made a decision, I wanted to test drive a SAAB so I cliked on that link and….. the magic was gone, forever! I was left all alone and naked at SAAB-ANA Akallas startpage and that was a disaster! All the magic was gone, I felt betrayed and at once I decided to never ever again even consider to have a look on SAAB.

  • http://twitter.com/dragnetjonas Jonas Skoglund

    Hmm, jag har har svårt att hålla med. Jag testade sajten själv och kände inte att jag hade några större problem med att klicka runt. Nu befinner jag mig inte i processen att köpa en bil så mina krav på sajten hade sett annorlunda ut i så fall.

    Jag tror att sidan kan göra ett bra jobb för de besökare som precis börjat sin köpprocess och inte riktigt vet vad de letar efter. Fliken “Funktioner” med alla filmer var en bra introduktion som på ett pedagogiskt sätt lyfte fram diverse fiffigheter.

    Har man dock som presumtiv köpare fått koll på vad man är ute efter och letar efter information på sajten som kan svara på detta, blir det inte lika bra betyg. Här skulle de som ligger bakom sajten jobbat hårdare.

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    The entire business is pretty far of the grid…Years ago Nissan actually had a kick ass site which some stupid MD changed for a Flash driven thing…

    It’s strange how much lack of competence there is.

    One funny thing is that Porsche, who’s site has looked more or less the same for 10 years, has grown into fashion. Even though I would do a lot of things different, they’ve at least got lot’s of accessible material. Probably due to an older target group

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    :) Thanks

    I noted that myself that I got more and more frustrated…

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    :D Maybe that’s the right thing to do!

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    I know. I was actually looking into writing that post ” http://walternaeslund.com/lowe-brindfors-copy-the-forsman-bodenfors-seo-mistakes/ ” into this one, but figured enough was enough :)

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    Men du utgår från att alla är lika. Det är precis det är som är felet. Hos en bilhandlare finns möjligheten för säljaren att anpassa budskapet i precis varenda sekund. Här är du ensam och ska väntas köpa en bil för flera hundra tusen kronor.

    Jag kan ärligt säga att jag håller tillbaka här. Siten är HELT under kritik. Självklart skulle man kunna haft mycket av materialet på plats som det är nu, men inte inbäddat i flash osv. Dessutom saknas sen tusentals saker som skulle underlättat.

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    They’re stuck! And they’ve got no understanding for the buying process. In TV, Print and other above the line channels – go for emotions. Online, I’m already there. I want info..

  • Timo M
  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    Underbart foruminlägg :)

  • http://twitter.com/Borkeh Boris Kehr

    Whats the purpose of the site? To build the brand? To show that sites build entirely in flash still exists? Its obviously not selling cars.
    They could have a much better site with just Facebook and Youtube. And spend all the money on something useful instead of an agency thats making digital print ads.
    A nice site without a content is a site waisted.

  • Johan Grundin

    Hej Johan! Ord och inga visor på din site idag! Jag uppskattar den konstruktiva kritiken. Du sätter fingret på fel och brister som byggdes in i saab.com för ett par år sedan. Först under året som gått har vi haft förutsättningarna att bygga om och bygga rätt, något som resulterat i en ny site och en ny “bilkonfigurator” som kommer att implementeras under våren. Jag hoppas kunna föra en dialog med dig för att höra hur du uppfattar att vi framöver lanserar nya spännande ingångar till siten, skapar en modern och relevant upplevelse av varumärket Saab online, samt erbjuder en mer intuitiv köpupplevelse på saab.com. MVH, Johan Grundin, Manager Interactive Marketing, Saab.

  • Marc

    It doesn’t matter if you are right or wrong. The question is: do you really want to be heard or do you just want to be a frustrated blogger shouting that people don’t listen to him. If so, just carry on. If not I suggest using less offensive words. Are you willing to listen to someone who calls your work “shit” in the first place. I think not.

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    Well Marc. If you’ve read my blog before you probably know that I’ve spent quite some time sharing ideas on how companies should improve their brand presence online. Even written a book about it.

    Every now and then you’ve gotta shout.

    ps. I didn’t call it shit 10 years ago…but nothing has changed :)

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    Hallå Johan,

    Tack. Och härligt och se att du ser igenom mina hårda ord som såklart har sin grund i den frustration jag känner över att varumärken som SAAB håller på och kastas bort.

    Ser fram emot att se en ny bilkonfigurator. Men ett råd på vägen. Gå inte bort er i tekniska WOW prylar osv. Vi konsumenter vill bara komma åt informationen, gärna på samma sätt som vi gör överallt annars på nätet.

    Vi är inte heller ute efter mer spännande ingångar, utan efter mer lättförståeliga ingångar som tar oss till rätt ställe fort där vi får våra behov tillgodosedda.

    Egentligen är det ju rätt enkelt, ta en titt på Apple och ex http://www.apple.com/macbookair/ vilket lika gärna skulle kunna vara SAAB. Plussa bara på typ 40 filmer, ett par hundra bilder och en bilkonfigurator då :)

    Enkelhet framför allt!

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam
  • Johan Grundin

    Japp, egentligen är allt rätt enkelt – det gäller bara att skruva ihop rätt lösningar i rätt ordning och i rätt tid. Alla förutsättningar finns där – produkterna, viljan och ambitionerna – så se fram emot Saab anno 2011.

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    SPRING!

  • Johan Grundin

    Hänger du med då, då? ;-)

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    Om inte så har ni lyckats bra ;)

  • http://www.volvocars.com David Holecek

    Hi Johan! Your article quickly made its way to us at Volvo Cars as well. :-)

    Though I understand (and to a large degree agree with) your comments, I do feel that it is a bit unfair to Saab – given what they have been through over the past couple of years. Happy to see that Johan Grundin responded in a positive way!

    Sticking my neck out a bit, it would be interesting if you would do a similar exercise on our volvocars.com site (or rather volvocars.se, as we do not have all the shopping tools on our international site). We may be asking for a potentially harsh treatment :-) , but feedback is always important.

    Even better, why not compare some of the main car brands out there?

    Kind regards,
    David Holecek
    Interactive Marketing Manager
    Volvo Car Corporation

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    In a bar right now. But first or maybe second thing tomorrow ;)

  • http://twitter.com/dragnetjonas Jonas Skoglund

    Nej, jag utgår inte ifrån att alla är lika. Tvärtom. Jag påpekade att sidan (och då specifikt fliken “Funktioner”) kan fungera för besökare som ännu inte vet vilka egenskaper hos en bil de är ute efter. Om man vet det, är sajten inte bra. Det är ju de problem du upplevde ett bevis på om något.

  • http://twitter.com/dragnetjonas Jonas Skoglund

    Nej, jag utgår inte ifrån att alla är lika. Tvärtom. Jag påpekade att sidan (och då specifikt fliken “Funktioner”) kan fungera för besökare som ännu inte vet vilka egenskaper hos en bil de är ute efter. Om man vet det, är sajten inte bra. Det är ju de problem du upplevde ett bevis på om något.

  • Matthieu Hartig

    come on Marc, irony is so passé. try some other form of humour, please.

  • Matthieu Hartig

    Tittade lite på renault.fr och tycker den är faktiskt rätt OK. Sajten gör det lätt för kunden att hitta rätt bil efter en mängd kriterier, jämföra modeller, hitta finansiering osv genom hyfsat designade funktioner. Och man utsätts för väldigt få video-bullshit om hur glamourösa (!) Renaults bilar är. Visst är det fortfarande mycket flash och användningen av sociala medier begränsas till Barbieklubben-liknande “like our FB page”, officiella bilder på Flickr och videos på Dailymotion.
    Däremot är deras svensk sajt gräslig.

  • Pär Stålberg

    Haha gillar kommentaren “I want a image here” när man ska välja motor… Vet inte vilka andra märken som erbjuder bilder på motorerna i det valet.

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    Eller hur ;)

  • Pingback: So What About Volvo? Does Your Site Suck Too? — Blog of Ronnestam

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam
  • http://twitter.com/liz_elfving Liz Elfving

    Sajten är gjord i flash och den måste bort!
    http://www.saabsverige.com/se/sv/start#/world/news-and-events/news-archive/nya-saab-9-5/carrousel:all/
    Det borde finnas en reklamfilm om nyckellös öppning och start, det borde vara intressant att ta reda på vad det innebär att äga en sånt bil.
    Jag gillar Bentleys bilar: http://www.bentleymotors.com/models/mulsanne/

  • Mats Gustafsson

    Good job Johan. Interesting to not be able to click pictures and kind of forced to watch videos.

    My experience is also on car sites that they very much love pdfs with pricelists and all details. I wonder why?

    Ciao
    Mats

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    Thanks :)

    The PDF thing is in their veins

  • Saabluva

    Interesting points Mr. Ronnestam, except your bitter remarks at the beginning of the article and your choice of words reveals your true motivations for such a critique and for all intents and purposes reduces the credibility of your video. Considering your experience, I would have expected a far more complete critique.

    The Saab car configurator was created by Lowe Brindfors more than the nine years ago since you tried to “pitch ideas on Saab”. This was cutting edge then, but today it is beginning to show it’s age, but none the less it is still quite fast, functional and very easy to use.

    However some of your points are valid, despite your presentation, and I think that Saab should improve the way they channel potential customers through the website and out to the dealership. Which is basically the MAIN purpose of the web site.

    On the positive side, hopefully this article will serve as wake up call for Saab, urging them to take this opportunity to “shift into a higher gear” and take their digital channel to new heights.

    I drive a Saab, I like the Saab brand and I like all the technical details that they provide for us fans on their website.

    Saab Forever ………..

  • Saabluva

    Oh, I forgot to add, you kicked ass as snowboarder, I have seen you in action, ‘back in the days’. Wicked !!

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    Hey :)

    Regarding the bitter remarks. My only excuse is that I wrote the post in minutes following an unprepared analysis of the site. The actual performance of the SAAB site basically pissed me off. Sorry about that. I can however tell you that I didn’t blog about it due to bitterness. Plain love for brands and especially Swedish brands got the blood running in my veins.

    But, back to the issue. I don’t agree Lowe produced the best possible solution back then. At that time the configuration was not the same, the site was s full blown movie site and the basis for ‘my’ pitch was exactly the same as today – relevance.

    Lowe are heading the SAAB account not only as a production agency, but also as a strategic partner to SAAB and it’s their job to make sure SAAB is not stuck in history. This is what SAAB is paying them for. So…

    I’ve owned two SAAB, sold my last one in 2005…it had a tape recorder that you couldn’t remove from the car. The tape recorder and the way they’ve looked upon their site are two examples of the same problem. I would love for SAAB to revive, but they got to prioritize their future, not their past.

    I hope I in some way made them understand just that.

    ps. Thanks a lot for your comment! Lets hope the debate continues.

  • Pingback: Top 100 Posts On The Future Of Communication by Johan Ronnestam Posted Between 2005 and 2011 — Blog of Ronnestam

  • Facebook User

    Interesting post and interesting approach. Interesting to note that it actually made it over to the US and kicked off a discussion in the Social Media Academy exploring whether aggressive post can make a difference. (http://smacad.com)

    It is probably debatable if the tone and the approach is the right way to make Saab move but I’m sure it actually did. In 2009 I wrote a post “Flame war or random noise” exploring a very different situation.

    What we learned is this:
    A very offensive post – if it’s content is accurate – doesn’t make the offended party get in touch with the author but potentially their competitor.
    It also alerts the offended party to do some research, figuring out what the sentiment is on other media and draws new conclusions. Unless the offended party is completely ignorant, there is a great learning for both offended party and its opposition / competition.

    Only rarely get’s the offender any benefit (other than short term satisfaction) but it is actually still a good way to create attention that benefits usually everybody else.

    Keep ranting :)

    Axel
    http://xeesm.com/AxelS

    P.S.
    I had to check the Saab site. OK it is really like one of a local restaurant – put up some flash to make it “active” but totally annoying for a prospect. But hey I guess it cost less than $5,000 so it is not hitting the cost structure too much. Is Volvo the same agency? It is equally bad. Oh noooo the copied from BMW because it’s BMW – Now, Holy crap they copied Mercedes didn’t they.

    It’s all the same pattern, Show some flash, get to a country list, show some cars, do some background music. And then another flash movie and another flash movie. Is it 1998 or what? This is hilarious…..

  • Facebook User

    Interesting post and interesting approach. Interesting to note that it actually made it over to the US and kicked off a discussion in the Social Media Academy exploring whether aggressive post can make a difference. (http://smacad.com)

    It is probably debatable if the tone and the approach is the right way to make Saab move but I’m sure it actually did. In 2009 I wrote a post “Flame war or random noise” exploring a very different situation.

    What we learned is this:
    A very offensive post – if it’s content is accurate – doesn’t make the offended party get in touch with the author but potentially their competitor.
    It also alerts the offended party to do some research, figuring out what the sentiment is on other media and draws new conclusions. Unless the offended party is completely ignorant, there is a great learning for both offended party and its opposition / competition.

    Only rarely get’s the offender any benefit (other than short term satisfaction) but it is actually still a good way to create attention that benefits usually everybody else.

    Keep ranting :)

    Axel
    http://xeesm.com/AxelS

    P.S.
    I had to check the Saab site. OK it is really like one of a local restaurant – put up some flash to make it “active” but totally annoying for a prospect. But hey I guess it cost less than $5,000 so it is not hitting the cost structure too much. Is Volvo the same agency? It is equally bad. Oh noooo the copied from BMW because it’s BMW – Now, Holy crap they copied Mercedes didn’t they.

    It’s all the same pattern, Show some flash, get to a country list, show some cars, do some background music. And then another flash movie and another flash movie. Is it 1998 or what? This is hilarious…..

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    Hey Axel,

    Thanks for your comment. Great value.

    When I posted this one I did it while I was frustrated. Only hours after I asked my self it the tone of the header was to aggressive. However – if you do look at the video I’m bashing SAAB but I’m also giving a lot of competence back to them.

    Give the fact that about ~95% of my post actually are focused on sharing value I think I’m getting away with it. In this particular case SAAB officials actually answered in the comment field before the day was over. That gave me even more confidence that they understood what I was yelling about.

    As you can see, later the same day SAAB’s Swedish (heritage) born competitor VOLVO asked if I could do the same to their online presence. This was something I used as an opportunity to weigh up the SAAB post. So, the day after I posted http://www.ronnestam.com/so-what-about-volvo-does-your-site-suck-too/ and that post is in a totally new direction. This actually led to both Volkswagen and SKODA and even some automotive dealers contacting me asking me to bash their sites to. Something I didn’t do since I’m doing this for free and more from an educational point of view and I thought I’d proved the point.

    Would I do it again? Probably, as long I felt I had a lot to say. However – I wouldn’t recommend it to just anyone. Without a strong online presence that goes back years you’d end up getting branded by that post. In my case I think I’m branded by other post and opinions.

    ( For example: http://www.ronnestam.com/top-100-posts-on-the-future-of-communication-by-johan-ronnestam-posted-between-2005-and-2011/ )

    Keep rockin!
    Johan

  • http://www.chitownbootcampsblog.com/schaumburg-boot-camp Schaumburg Boot Camp

    I thought I would leave my first comment but 
    I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading.