HMV is remaining tight-lipped about its forthcoming social networking site Get Closer, which is being designed by digital media consultancy LBI.
According to Cake Group, which is managing content procurement and content integration for the site, the site is ‘where members can share and feed their passion for music and make connections with other individuals who wish to be introduced to new films and artists, as well as listening to tracks and albums, and watching videos.’
The first round of ‘closed’ beta testing will be opened up to a wider audience before being officially launched in September.
Functioning around the idea of creating connections through music genre, artists or films, the site will allow users to import music and film files to create their own library.
But it will need to deliver something simple, useful and true to its brand to create a valued proposition, according to Conchango creative director Matt Bagwell.
Conchango, along with Code Computerlove, was in the running last year for the Get Closer project, until HMV appointed LBI.
The site will need to be able to compete with the growing number of unexpected players in the digital lifestyle entertainment sector – a ‘fast-moving space where compulsion is everything and increasingly ephemeral’, he says.
‘There is a war well underway for the consumer, with increasingly fragmented attention and evolving brand loyalties. Community is just one aspect of a multi-faceted strategy that media providers have to consider and it is one that can add value to a brand’s experience,’ says Bagwell.
‘Either the brand has to develop the zeitgeist killer application such as Facebook, for example, or there has to be something more fundamental or traditional like a good promise, around product, price or proposition,’ he adds.
‘Some brands are clearly traditional power plays in the entertainment market and HMV is an example. However, in the war for our ‘entertainment lifestyle’ new, and perhaps unexpected players [like Tesco] are coming into play, leveraging the elasticity of their brand propositions to this new marketplace,’ he points out.
Andrew Davenport, client services director at Code Computerlove, says that the consultancy also considered the Get Closer project, but because of its scale and demands, it did not have the resources to deliver the project on time.
‘Because HMV made all these promises to the City about deadlines and it has proved to be such a massive undertaking, it was just too big for us. It would have taken a team of at least 50 and we are only 50 people in total,’ he says.
Code, which maintains an existing relationship with HMV through hmv.co.uk, expects that there will be some sort of commercialisation of the social networking site that will driving on-line product sales further down the line.