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Turf Battles

February 19, 2002

E-business Efforts Stymied By Confusion, Conference Board Reports

Inman News Features

Large companies are increasingly using the Web to promote their brands, but many have faced major problems in organizing their e-business efforts, according to a new Conference Board report.

The report, which includes a survey of 60 U.S. companies, found e-business efforts have been stalled because of turf battles over which brands to promote and which corporate units should be in charge of Web-based branding activities.

"Getting organized has been a major hurdle as Web sites proliferated and turf squabbles erupted between executives in information technology, marketing and business units," said Kathryn Troy, author of The Conference Board report and the director of its performance excellence and operations management unit.

Troy said a common lament was that "everyone is in charge and no one is in charge." Every business unit wanted its own Web site and some companies found they had hundreds of Web sites, Troy noted.

"Conflicts also arose over whether to focus on master brands or product brands," Troy said. "Our latest research shows that order is slowly emerging although no single e-branding business model has appeared."

Many companies are pushing more than one brand on the Web, but 75 percent of the surveyed companies rely on a master or umbrella brand, usually the corporate name, to support other brands.

In a majority of the companies, information technology, marketing and communications departments share responsibility for managing e-businesses. In about 60 percent of the companies, an e-business executive is responsible for such Internet-based processes as expense reporting or supply chain management.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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