Monday, June 30, 2014

Coach: “About Us” Evaluation by Corporate

Coach was founded as a family-run workshop in a Manhattan loft in 1941, and its handbags quickly established a cult following for their quality, function, durability, and classic style. After a brief stint as part of Sara Lee, Coach became in 2000 a publicly traded company. Coach now has almost 800 stand-alone stores in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, with sales of over $5 billion in 2013 and more than 17,000 employees. Its global headquarters are still in the loft on West 34th Street. The main About Us page (“Company Profile”) is here.

The retail side of the Coach site is attractively laid out and works beautifully on mobile devices. The pages describing the company’s business history ... not so much. Company Profile and its subpages (reached via “About Us / Company Info” in the footer of the Home page) appear as tiny text in boxes with scroll bars in a sea of vast white spaces. Viewed on a desktop, this is annoying. On a phone, trying to access the page kicks up the message, “Sorry for the inconvenience. This page cannot be viewed in a mobile format.” The About Us pages are also inconsistent: sometimes they offer the option to print or share on social media; sometimes not. Time for a major overhaul!

Products/Services: D
Our Commandment 6 of About Us pages is, “Honor thy visuals.” For decades, women around the world who appreciate quality and style have been lusting after Coach products. The scant illustrations on the About Us pages do little to remind us of that, or show what makes Coach accessories worldwide bestsellers. Why not fill that vast white space around the text with images? Yes, the sales pages are for selling; but the About Us pages shouldn’t be an imageless wasteland. Potential investors (at whom these pages are apparently aimed) should also be reminded of what makes the brand special.

Any fashion brand approaching a 75-year business anniversary has cause to celebrate, but Coach’s About Us pages are lamentably short on company history. The Company Profile page mentions the founding of the company in 1941. The bio of Executive Chairman Lew Frankfort mentions major events since he joined Coach in 1979. The FAQ gives a few details on Coach’s expansion. Think of the opportunities for defining the brand if there were a page of company history with a narrative or timeline illustrated by vintage ads! (Particularly since collectors still search for vintage Coach bags.)

Personality: A
Coach offers only four bios of management – but the first two, of Executive Chairman Lew Frankfort and CEO Victor Luis, are among the best corporate bios we’ve seen. Each is a narrative emphasizing their careers with the company and how they have been and are changing its direction. Unlike most corporate bios (including those of Coach’s CFO and Global HR Officer), these bios could not be cut and pasted directly to some other company’s management pages.

Accessibility: C
The Contact Us page accessible through the Company Profile page is a rudimentary (and quite ugly!) online form geared to investors. We suggest a link at the top of the Contact Us page for wayward customers, and a link on the retail Contact page for potential investors.

It’s better to wear your laurels proudly than to rest on them. The About Us pages should flaunt your achievements, with narrative and illustrations.

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.