Monday, June 10, 2013

Tito’s Handmade Vodka: “About Us” Evaluation by Corporate

Tito’s, based in Austin, Texas, was founded 16 years ago by Tito Beveridge, who taught himself how to build a still and used his friends as guinea pigs. Tito’s Vodka, which is distilled 6 times, beat out 71 other vodkas to win the World Spirits Competition in 2001. The main About Us page is here.

One of the questions on the FAQ page is “Who does your marketing?” Tito answers that it’s done in house. Bravo to you, Tito: you’re doing a great job. Even though we rarely if ever drink vodka, your About Us page makes us want to try Tito’s.

Personality: A plus
We are charmed by the About Us page, which hits the perfect note for a hand-made product from a small company. The Story is told by Tito, and it’s simple, direct, engaging, and on topic: how Tito got interested in making vodka and what he went through to make a business out of it. Tito puts the “story” into “corporate storytelling.” Our Commandment 3 of About Us pages is “Reveal thy personality,” and Tito does that exceptionally well.

But the page isn’t just storytelling. At the end of it is a polite request: if your bar doesn’t carry Tito’s, please talk to the bar manager; and please tell 20 of your friends about us. Tito says knowledge of his brand has mostly spread by word of mouth, so this kind of call to action is perfect.

The FAQ page (Ask Tito) carries through the strong personality of the company’s founder with Tito’s answers to such unexpected questions as, “Why don’t you put it in a nicer bottle?” and “Is it legal to distill at home?”

We like the quirky way the logo is updated from “15 Years Y’all!” to “16,” by simply crossing out the “15” It manages to suggest that the boss and employees are too busy distilling to obsess over graphic design.

Products/Services: B plus
For food and drink, the best way to sell is usually via customer reviews. Tito’s site encourages people to send in photos, songs and videos. It offers customer stories on a blog. On the home page, it even devotes a sidebar over to tweets from happy consumers.

A minor point:Tito has been getting national press, for example in Entrepreneur and the New York Times. The links to these articles are buried at the foot of the blog page. They ought to be featured more prominently, with each publication’s logo and a teaser from the article.

Accessibility: A
The Contact page (available through a link in the footer) maintains the casual tone of the rest of the site, offering forms for 3 different types of contact (send photos, ask about events, ask about the store) plus a general query form. More importantly - since for legal reasons, Tito’s can’t sell vodka through its own website - the first question on the FAQ page is “Where can I find Tito’s Handmade Vodka?”

Even if you don’t have a lengthy history or money for a major branding campaign, you can still make your company history memorable by focusing on the founder’s or owner’s personality.

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?). To talk about your About Us page, contact us!
Today’s example was chosen at random; has no ties to this company.