For organizations that operate across the globe, imagine having the ability to deliver and maintain individual brand websites that empower your regions to create digital experiences while meeting local requirements – be it language or legal regulations.

Chevron, an American multinational energy corporation, is realizing this global digital strategy.

Julie Nostrand, Senior Digital Strategist at Chevron, and Tim Lewis, Digital Strategist at Chevron, shared their organization’s transformation during Sitecore Symposium 2020.

Here’s a look at their obstacles, outcomes, and top 10 firsthand learnings from launching multiple regional websites using Sitecore.

Aligning business imperatives & regional requirements 

Chevron operates across the globe and has a communication footprint that corresponds with websites operated by its regional teams. Prior to its digital transformation, the regional websites were launched often with various platforms and vendors. They also were maintained with very little oversight.

Chevron’s goal to update its web experience model was driven by challenges with ensuring brand consistency, supporting multiple platforms and teams, and solving outdated content. However, the digital transformation journey was not initially widely accepted by the regional teams.

“(Saying) ‘we’re from headquarters and we’re here to help’ just doesn’t cut it a lot of time when working with the regions,” Nostrand said.

The corporate team started by establishing five clear goals to help regional teams see clear winnings:

  1. Get the right content to the right audience at the right time
  2. Meet the local content needs
  3. Make the content easy to find
  4. Adhere to the local legal requirements
  5. Expand the audience with translated copy

Digital journey obstacles & outcomes

Chevron faced several obstacles while delivering against their established business requirements. A primary organizational challenge was evolving the mindset of how content authors approached their web content.

“We needed to change the mindset that the website is a project – something you create and leave – to something that’s ongoing.  Managing content over time and optimizing on it,” Lewis said.

At the time of Nostrand and Lewis’ session, Chevron had launched seven websites with additional sites in the planning stages. The websites supported four languages: English, Bahasa, Thai, and Portuguese.

“The Sitecore infrastructure really helped us set up the regions for success,” Nostrand said. “It allowed us to quickly roll out new sites and allowed us to meet a variety of different business requirements.”

Wins achieved by local countries using the new infrastructure include:

  • Increased mobile usage
  • Improved time to launch for content
  • Improved search rankings
  • Lower cost operating model
  • Improved cybersecurity
  • Better brand compliance

Chevron’s Top 10 lessons learned

10. Create custom fields

Custom free-form fields both at the site level and at the page level enable new functionality and flexibility to content authors. Examples where Chevron has found it helpful to use custom fields includes for SEO, to run Google Optimize, and for placing Stackla, a user-generated content aggregator, on pages for social sharing.

9. Create a solution for language href tags

Use href tags to create cross-references between similar content in multiple languages and regions for improved SEO. Chevron put this to use when they saw traffic to their newly launched Canadian website was being cannibalized by their corporate site. This allows for cross-mapping content across pages and helps Google understand the relationship between the sites.

8. Align local teams with local legal requirements

Local laws may change the content requirements for a local site. Make sure your regional teams are well-versed in their local legal requirements before beginning a content plan for local sites.

Chevron’s approach included encouraging local content authors to develop a relationship with legal teams. “We found it helped to start with content,” Nostrand explained.

7. Keep navigation simple

When sites are targeted for translation, remember character and word length will vary in different languages.

“The simpler you keep your navigation, the better you’re set up for success when you have to meet your regional team’s needs,” Nostrand said.

6. Ensure content authors are familiar with digital marketing concepts

Not every content author may be familiar with every marketing concept, such as SEO, tagging, analytics, document structure, etc. Be prepared to familiarize your teams with more than just the Sitecore platform to work effectively.

“Think beyond Sitecore as you introduce people to the platform and you get them working,” Lewis said.

5. Plan for training, then expect to double it

Your teams may have different levels of experience with Sitecore. You’ll want to ensure you’re supporting them so they are learning, retaining, and effectively applying the concepts. Chevron took its training beyond the classroom by creating a Center of Excellence to enable sharing of knowledge and best practices.

“Try to think of creative ways to structure the training on an ongoing basis,” Lewis said.

4. Look for opportunities to crowdsource support

Having regional sites and content requires having regionally available support. Chevron’s approach to supporting their teams included setting up a private group for content authors to crowdsource their own support. It was also helpful to establish a “local expert” in their Center of Excellence.

3. Get started, then fine-tune

Build for the majority of your needs at the start, then fine-tune for specific needs as you move forward. When Chevron rolled out its site in Canada, they started with a small number of web modules, enabling them to build as business needs arose. This has allowed Chevron to look broader at what modules would serve the largest number of needs across the local teams and then prioritize the work.

2. Develop an easy-to-use authoring interface 

Use a simple interface to encourage distributed content management. Consider Chevron’s choice to use Sitecore Content Editor if a region experiences slow page loads. Before deciding on your interface, it’s important to consider:

  • Use case
  • System configuration and implementation
  • How you’re set up and using Sitecore
  • Content needs

Once you choose a solution, consider creating a single sign-on to simplify workflows for content authors.

1. Find an advocate at the local level

Establish local advocates who can learn Sitecore, provide candid feedback, and look for opportunities to optimize. It’s an opportunity for both your organization and your advocates to use as a developmental tool, Lewis recommended. Attract advocates by providing support for them to develop their own skill set and keep it fresh.

“Find someone who can support your technology choices or your Sitecore implementation and be a champion of it with others,” Lewis said.

Chevron’s “Top 10 learnings from launching country-level sites using Sitecore” session is part of 100+ Symposium breakout sessions available on demand. To watch the full session, register today

Monica Lara is the Content Marketing Manager at Sitecore. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter.