Monday, April 2, 2012

“About Us” Evaluation: John Deere Gets an A

Deere & Company, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Moline, Illinois, traces its origins to a cast-steel plow that was created in 1837 by John Deere to make tilling the heavy soil of the Great Plains easier. The distinctive green-and-yellow running-deer logo appears on equipment for agriculture, construction, and forestry, as well as lawn mowers, snow blowers, and other equipment for homeowners. In addition, the company offers financial services such as crop insurance. John Deere’s main About Us page is here.


The About Us pages on John Deere’s site are easy to navigate and do an excellent job of conveying what the company produces and how it operates. In addition, the pages convey a quiet pride that’s very appealing.

Personality, Products, and Services: A

The main About Us page is straightforward and no-nonsense, like the equipment John Deere produces. Each of the four headings (“Our core values,” “Our leadership,” “Our strategy for success,” “Doing business with us”) comes with a teaser that clarifies what the company does and how it does it. If you got no further than this page, you’d still know the basics about John Deere.

The pages for each of the headings keep the focus on what John Deere produces. The Core Values page, for example, starts by mentioning the company’s founder and relates his values to the present company – not just once, but several times.

In a column at the right of the About Us page is a great teaser for the History page: “Today, Deere & Company is one of the world’s most admired businesses. But in 1837, John Deere, blacksmith and inventor, had little more than a blacksmith shop, a discarded steel saw, and an idea that would help farmers, changing the face of agriculture for all time.” Again, the founder’s principles are shown to be closely related to the present company.

The History page is another winner: options (with teasers) for a Timeline, Past Leaders (eight of the greatest, with their achievements), Trademarks, and the company’s 175th anniversary. We are particularly charmed by the pages that show and comment on John Deere trademarks through the past 175 years. Such an awareness of the company’s heritage and pride in it are all too rare. All these pages have excellent illustrations and on-topic content. They are a model of what properly told history can do for promoting your business today.

Accessibility: A plus

The link to the Contact Us page is buried in small print at the lower right of the About Us page, but it’s a great page, with numerous specific, helpful options. Want to buy equipment? Choose between links to local dealers, online dealers, or the nearest Lowes or Home Depot. Need a part? Look through a parts catalogue. Have a question about a product? Navigate to a manual. Have a question about financing, crop insurance, employment? All the links are there. if your query truly falls under “Other,” the final option on the page is the ubiquitous online contact form, thoughtfully laid out so it’s only a half page long.


An About Us page should convey clearly and immediately what the company offers and what its core values are, and should give options for visitors who want to learn more. In all these respects, John Deere is an excellent model.

Does your Web site’s “About Us” section accurately convey your organization’s history and capabilities? Every two weeks we evaluate one example, grading it in three areas that are key to potential customers: Personality (Who are you?), Products/Services (What can you do for us?), and Accessibility (How can we reach you?). Contact us if you’d like to have your site evaluated—there’s no charge and no obligation.

Today’s example was chosen at random; has no ties to this company.