Sommerfield Partners to Improve Corporate Websites
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Holmes Report
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Sommerfield Partners to Improve Corporate Websites

Sommerfield is partnering with LoewyDesign, an interactive design shop, to launch Online Identity Group, a new firm committed to developing corporate websites that are on-message for all key audiences.

Paul Holmes

NEW YORK, September 7—When the Internet first emerged as a vital communications medium, representatives of a wide variety of disciplines sought to establish dominion over corporate websites. Corporate identity firms claimed their design expertise gave them a unique advantage in creating websites. Advertising agencies insisted that the Internet was primarily a marketing medium, and that their creative expertise made them the preferred Internet partners for smart clients. Information technology professionals, meanwhile, pointed out that their technical expertise was key.
 
But the reality is that the Internet is an ideal public relations medium. At their most effective, corporate websites are about dialogue rather than monologue; they’re about education and information rather than promotion; they’re about multiple stakeholders—employees, shareholders, communities—rather than just consumers. That’s why New York PR firm Sommerfield Communications plans to play a leadership role in developing corporate websites.
 
Sommerfield is partnering with LoewyDesign, an interactive design shop, to launch Online Identity Group, a new firm committed to developing corporate websites that are on-message for all key audiences.
 
According to agency president Frank Sommerfield, Online Identity Group “melds the rigor of corporate communications thinking and editorial execution with sophisticated web design. Clients can rely on Online Identity Group to develop sites that deliver the right information to the right people—clearly and quickly, via elegant design and concise language.”
 
Online Identity Group will assist companies with key message development and content strategy; copy writing; creative services and logo design; website architecture; technology selection; and post-launch support.
 
Says Sommerfield, “Often, websites focus too much on the flash, and not enough on the precise message. Because a website is now the primary vehicle to communicate what an organization is and what it means to its constituents, you can’t overlook the disciplines of corporate messaging and clear exposition when developing or updating a site. We want to bring the rigor of corporate PR to website design.”
 
Sommerfield says his firm has worked with LoewyDesign in the past, and that principal David Loewy has a veteran of the publishing realm—which gives him an appreciation for the importance of content that is not shared by all of his peers.
 
Says Loewy, “People generally assume that web developers integrate editorial and design components from day one. Usually that’s not the case. Online Identity Group is based on the idea that a partnership of an experienced corporate PR boutique and a growing interactive design practice is best equipped to integrate and maximize message, words, art and usability.”
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