Why engineering Web sites need to start telling the truth

Sales material should always say the truth
Earlier this year, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority extended its remit to cover "marketing communications on organisations’ own websites and in other non-paid-for space under their control". Up until then, only advertisements needed to be "legal, decent, honest and truthful" – you could say whatever you wanted to on Web sites! However, recent legislation says that online sales material needs to adhere to the same standards as advertising.

So, how does this apply to engineering companies managing an e-shop or Web site? Firstly, you should ensure that everything that is labeled and sold benefits from a clear description and stays away from implying anything that is factually incorrect. For instance, an automation company legally selling products that are a like for like replacement for, say, SIEMENS, ABB or Schneider should specify that they do not have any affiliation with the imitated manufacturer and that the products are only replacements.

Similarly, trading under the logo of a company that you are not part of could be questioned. So, let’s say you were set up by a large company from another country to exclusively supply their products in the UK; you would have to be very careful to establish on your site that you are a separate business and clearly explain the actual relationship. 

Greenwash, or presenting equipment as ‘green’ or ‘environmentally friendly’ when it isn’t, is another hazard that I could imagine industrial companies falling foul off on their Web sites.

Basically, you now have to be honest online.

So the lesson is, don’t assume that these new fangled rules only apply to consumer markets - they include the B2B environment as well. And don’t think that it’s only your customers who will complain. Here’s an example that proves that your competitors might be looking out for your mistakes as well.
If you have seen any examples of companies being affected by this we would love to hear from you.

Photo courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Oana Baetica - Technical PR consultant

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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