What the Internet’s Best ‘About Us’ Pages Can Teach Brands

What the Internet’s Best ‘About Us’ Pages Can Teach Brands

I’ve been writing website copy since I started out at FCB in 1994. But while homepage design and copy are labored over and always on display, About Us pages seem to be both under-appreciated and under-leveraged. The vast majority of companies we looked at still have their work cut out for them, but through our research, we found a few brands that may have the blueprint for success. For these brands, content gets evenly spread across topics such as leadership, corporate responsibility, and services. Within this approach, some brands prioritized a founding story, mission statement, or product and services descriptions. Consumers can feel the sincerity, and marketers can respect how the corporate mission relates back to the entire site experience. (Only 3 percent of the brands we reviewed have this setup.) In this case, the page explains what Accenture does for customers, before helping users navigate its many sub-brands. As we’ve seen firsthand, that strategy doesn’t work. If you’re already putting in the effort to learn about the company, then this is another chance to build a long-term relationship with the user.

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I’ve been writing website copy since I started out at FCB in 1994. One of my earliest assignments was for Nabisco, which became one of the first brands to launch a corporate web site. For the creative concept, we decided to turn the digital experience into a virtual town you could explore. The town hall housed corporate communications and human resources updates, a museum explained Nabisco’s storied history, and a test kitchen stored recipes. There was even a big green athletic field, a space where customers could “Treat Yourself Well”—timed to promote the debut of Snackwell’s. And, get this, the town even got dark at night.

The internet has come a long way since then, but websites are still essential homes for brands. Your homepage makes the first impression, signaling what’s new and important about your company. The ‘About Us’ page, usually one click away, is the second date, where visitors can understand more about a brand’s mission and purpose, which customers, prospects, employees, job-seekers, investors, and the press all crave.

But while homepage design and copy are labored over and always on display, About Us pages seem to be both under-appreciated and under-leveraged. That’s a missed content opportunity for too many brands.

As the content strategy leader at Prophet, I wanted to investigate what the biggest players were doing with their company pages to see if there were any patterns or tactics that could help marketers create value. I teamed up with my colleague Jesse Guzman, Prophet’s growth strategist, as we analyzed more than 100 About Us pages from a variety of sources including the Fortune 500®, Forbes Best Places to Work, and our own Prophet Brand Relevance Index®.

The vast majority of companies we looked at still have their work cut out for them, but through our research, we found a few brands that may have the blueprint for success.

Wide Broadcast

More than 65 percent of pages illustrated what we call a “wide broadcast” approach, which just means they offer a bit of content for everyone. For these brands, content gets evenly spread across topics such as leadership, corporate responsibility, and services. Within this approach, some brands prioritized a founding story, mission statement, or product and services descriptions.

During our research, we also paid close attention to structure. Was there a deliberate strategy for the page, or was it just a hodgepodge of information thrown together with little connective tissue? Three brands stood out when it came to cohesion.

Patagonia’s corporate transparency is famous in marketing circles, and its mission-driven company page reinforces that reputation. The page shares the corporate mission (“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis”) but also goes into detail for why the company exists, almost like an open letter. The page is really more like a series of pages, since there are six links under the main “Company Info” header. There, users can find everything from field reports about the outdoors to thorough details of the brand’s history. Consumers can feel the sincerity, and marketers can respect how the corporate mission relates back to the entire site experience.

patagonia about us

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