Why are there so many bad corporate websites? I think a lot of times it boils down to the wrong perspective and relying too much on facts. This is especially true when it comes to writing about company history on the “About Us” page of companies that have been around more than 75 years.
It’s true that no other company has your exact history, but that doesn’t matter as much as stakeholders think. Your story is a great way to differentiate yourself, but it has to be done right–within the context of what your audience cares about.
Most websites go about it all wrong. Your target audience doesn’t care what year the company was founded, who started it, or most of what’s happened between now and then. Having said all that, if your company has a long history, there are many ways to celebrate it.
This is your chance to inspire people, to make everyone who works for you to sit up straight when they read it, to make people at networking events crave your business cards. And you can write about your corporate history in a way that surpasses all the benefits of your individual offerings.
Here’s how way too many corporate “About Us” pages start: Acme Products was founded in 1817, by Founder McBoringPants, who saw a need to make thimbles of a superior quality.
I’m already bored and there’s usually no end in sight, just a bottomless well of long paragraphs that don’t mean anything in today’s marketplace. Plus, very few companies make the same product they did back in 1817. So it makes no sense to start there.
I’m going to show you how with a little thought and storytelling, you can say the same thing, while spelling out the benefits of working with you.
Longevity means you’re strong enough to weather changes in the work force, market conditions, and the overall economy. You’re not going to go out of business when costs change or trends alter consumer behavior. For employees, this means job security and for clients, it means you have the knowledge and experience to protect their interests.
Here are my ideas.
We’ve spent the past two centuries not only keeping up with the art and science of this industry, but perfecting it. We know things can change in a flash and many times we see it coming. We also know how to respond to changes in the market, like in 2005 when the sudden spike in costs of a key ingredient sent other manufactures scrambling. The size of our operation meant our facilities—and our clients—had what they needed to keep their lines open.
Not bad, for a company that started by making thimbles in Founder McBoringPants’ Ohio garage in 1817.
When Founder McBoringPants started building and selling thimbles, he wasn’t trying to build an empire that manufactures products for scientific industries in 57 countries.
Thimbles were costing way too much and he knew he could do better. Because he had a mind that looked at the big picture of manufacturing, he was able to get around the many challenges that stifled production in the Ohio of the early 1800s.
The world has changed a lot since then, but the need for critical thinking, adaptive processes, and resilient lines is more pronounced than ever.
Remember back in 2005 when there was a sudden shortage of that key ingredient? Many manufactures had to slow or shut down their lines, which cost their clients hundreds of thousands of dollars.
We fared significantly better. Because of the deep relationships we’ve cultivated over decades and the sheer size of our production, we can overcome challenges that many other companies simply can’t.
An infographic outlining the number of solutions your company has offered, the number of technologies that have “grown up” under your watch, and the number of recessions your company has overcome. You could also include statistics about the number of certifications you’ve helped clients reach. Honestly, the more I think about this approach, the more I think you could do with it.
With some open-mindedness on your part, there are probably an infinite number of ways you can package your company history to make working with you seem like a no-brainer. But you’ll have to let go of the way writing about company history is usually done. You’ll have to get comfortable standing out.
Here’s the deal. You don’t want your website to be objective, you want to persuade people. You want it come off as credible, but that’s going to require emotion as well as logic. That means leaving behind the history textbook and making everything about your story feel fresh and modern, even when you look back.