Tata Global Beverages improves the Tetley user experience, saves £250,000

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The short story

Faced with mounting costs and user dissatisfaction with their existing web presence, Tata Global Beverages, parent company to the Tetley brand, needed a flexible and easy to use content platform that could also deliver project savings. Sitefinity CMS by Telerik saved both time and money and re-energized the brand’s marketing teams.


Global brands walk a tightrope every day. On the one hand, brand consistency must be maintained across many communication channels. On the other, local marketing teams need to be able to address their audiences with relevant messaging in a timely fashion. Striking the right balance requires infrastructure that is flexible and scalable enough to meet the needs of multiple stakeholders. Tetley was familiar with this challenge for many years. Owned by Tata Global Beverages (TGB) since 2000, the Tetley name dates back to 1837. It is the UK’s biggest selling tea brand with a worldwide presence in 40 countries. Although there have been Tetley websites since the 1990s, the brand has traditionally focused on conventional media. “For a long time, our sites were essentially flat, static sites,” says Nik Purnell, Collaborations Programme Manager at TGB. “We needed to learn how to create content for web, and manage it effectively. This was why we set out to create a family of localized brand sites to support our worldwide markets.”

The customer's profile


Tetley – owned by Tata Global Beverages (TGB) – is the UK’s number one tea brand and a national icon.

The partner's profile


Communisis plc is one of the UK’s leading marketing services providers. Kieon, a subsidiary of Communisis, has been a Sitefinity partner for more than five years.

Sitefinity was very helpful. We worked closely with the Ecommerce development team to bring the project in quickly with the feature set that TGB wanted.”

Gwilym Lewis
Digital Director, Communisis


The challenge

TGB’s requirements were clear: Tetley needed seventeen sites, each localized in up to four languages. The sites would showcase Tetley products alongside corporate messaging and value-added content, such as tea trivia. Initially, TGB attempted to adapt its existing infrastructure. Like many organizations, TGB uses Microsoft SharePoint to support collaborative working. With SharePoint’s Publishing Portal providing the ability to make content available on the web, it seemed a natural step to platform the Tetley sites on SharePoint. However, the project rapidly ran into difficulties. “For Tetley, the journey on SharePoint was extremely expensive from a development perspective,” says Nik. “Getting SharePoint to do the kinds of things you would want it to do as a CMS required a lot of customization. Often, this was necessary to achieve CMS functionality that you would normally expect to get out of the box.” Worse, business users struggled with the system. “We gave the brand managers SharePoint training, but they found it hard to use. From their point of view, it wasn’t flexible and it wasn’t logical. We got to the stage of having six or seven websites rolled out and we found the brand managers were avoiding using them. This was very frustrating.” It was clear that a radically different approach was needed. TGB commissioned Kieon, a subsidiary of Communisis – a leading UK marketing services organization – and FTI Consulting to review the project.

The solutions

“We worked with Nik to review the Tetley website project,” says Gwilym Lewis, Digital Director at Communisis. “It rapidly became clear that it would be more cost effective to scrap the existing sites and start over with a new platform.” However, any alternative platform would have to make a very strong case for itself. “We had a substantial investment in the project,” says Nik. “If we were going to start over, I needed to satisfy the business that we were going to see significant savings in all areas – licensing, development, physical infrastructure and training.” A marketplace review led to a shortlist of content management platforms. “We kept SharePoint under consideration and we looked at a number of enterprise-level systems. But when it came down to it, it was clear that the platform with the best fit for our needs was Sitefinity.” Key drivers of the decision were Sitefinity’s cost-effectiveness and flexibility. With domain-based licensing and no penalties for adding additional servers, Sitefinity CMS provided a scalable solution at an attractive cost. Sitefinity also met TGB’s requirement for speedy development and implementation. As a product created by Telerik – the leading vendor of .NET developer tools – the platform naturally supports high developer productivity. Sitefinity’s infrastructure requirements are modest compared to many other content management platforms. Most importantly, Sitefinity addressed TGB’s key need, which was to re-engage and re-energize its brand managers. Sitefinity’s focus on ease-of-use for end users and its intuitive, drag & drop backend site management interface make it an inviting working environment for non-technical content authors.

The result

All Tetley’s existing brand sites were replatformed to Sitefinity—on time and on budget. Further, ten more sites were built to support individual territories. In total, seventeen brand sites were created in twenty languages. Additionally, TGB’s own corporate site was migrated to Sitefinity. Overall, the migration of the entire brand portfolio was completed in just six months.


Saving Money

Moving to Sitefinity CMS produced significant savings for TGB. Hosting costs alone fell from £67,000 per year for dedicated SharePoint hosting, to £10,000. Despite effectively starting afresh, the overall build cost for the 18 sites was reduced, freeing-up funds for additional work. “Sitefinity made it possible for us to improve the design. For instance, the French site now has a localized theme which we were able to implement at minimal cost. With SharePoint we couldn’t simply copy new templates across – it was insanely expensive. Changing the style of a site now costs us less than ten percent of the costs we were previously incurring.” “Overall, TGB will save more than £250,000 over five years by moving the Tetley sites from SharePoint to Sitefinity,” says Nik. “This alone justifies the decision, even without taking into account the other considerable benefits.”

Better CMS user experience

“Sitefinity was a critical factor to the successful delivery of the project,” says Nik. “The most complex project was our Swiss site, with four languages. The response from the Swiss Country Manager has been extremely positive. The new system was much easier to use, and it required very little training. The response from our other Country Managers has been just as positive. The sites are now being used much more heavily by our marketing teams.” Sitefinity has helped the Tetley team improve their search rankings. The marketing teams are able to edit content and more easily create tighter metatagging, the results of which are evident in successful search outcomes. “We ran a small project to improve our rankings for generic searches for ‘tea’. We were able to move from very low rankings to top twenty results with minimal input.” Sitefinity also reduced TGB’s training costs. With an intuitive working environment designed around the needs of business users, brand managers find Sitefinity easy to use. This has made the adoption curve shallower, with less time required to instruct users. Regular use of the system reinforces best practices, meaning that refresher courses are not needed.

Saving time

Rapid implementation of Sitefinity was critical to the project’s success. TGB faced a deadline to renew their commitment to the expensive hosting infrastructure required for their existing sites. The new sites needed to be ready in record time. “One of the great advantages of Sitefinity is the ease in which country and then country language variants of these sites can be created” says Gwilym “this meant that when we started the project, despite the tight timelines, we had no doubt that we’d be able to deliver it on time.” Speed of implementation brought other benefits. With the swift completion of Tetley’s UK site, the UK team was finally able to implement a trial of ecommerce functionality using Sitefinity’s built-in Ecommerce module. Although the Tetley site had offered ecommerce in the past, the functionality had never matched the team’s ambitions. Communisis developed the ecommerce solution rapidly. “Sitefinity was very helpful,” says Gwilym. “We worked closely with the Ecommerce development team to bring the project in quickly with the feature set that TGB wanted.”

The verdict

“In retrospect, SharePoint was chosen for the wrong reasons,” says Nik. “The choice was made because the technology was available within the organization. Once we had the right tool – Sitefinity – we were able quickly to get to where we wanted to be, and at a much lower cost.” Gwilym Lewis agrees. “As vendor-solution that meets our customer’s needs. We increasingly find that Sitefinity is solution that meets our customer’s needs. We increasingly find that Sitefinity is often our first recommendation, because it is cost-effective, flexible and delivers a great working environment for business users.”

"The choice was made because the technology was available within the organization. Once we had the right tool – Sitefinity – we were able quickly to get to where we wanted to be, and at a much lower cost."

Nik Purnell
Collaborations Programme Manager,
Tata Global Beverages

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