Monday, September 22, 2014

Stryker Corporation: “About Us” Evaluation by Corporate

In 1941 Dr. Homer Stryker, an orthopedist in Kalamazoo, Michigan, was dissatisfied with medical products that didn’t meet his patients’ needs. So he established a company to manufacture items to his own specifications. He invented the Turning Frame (for repositioning patients who needed to remain immobile), the Cast Cutter, and the Walking Heel. His company became Stryker Corporation in 1964 and went public in 1979. Today Stryker is one of the world’s top medical technology firms, producing implants used in joint replacement, surgical equipment, emergency medical equipment, neurosurgical devices, and more.  Still based in Kalamazoo, Stryker is a Fortune 500 company with 22,000 employees and annual sales of $8.7 billion. The main About Us page is here.


Products/Services: C
The summary on the main About Us page is short and to the point: what field the company is in, what medical technologies it offers, and its global reach. Most of the space on this page is taken up by a link to the 2013 Annual Review. Unlike most annual reviews, this one is heavy on the illustrations and laid out with photos and headlines that do a great job conveying the excitement of Stryker’s cutting-edge work.

The timeline, Company History, is not so impressive. The narrative at the top skips from Dr. Homer Stryker’s interest in creating better medical products straight to Stryker’s current position as a global leader in medical technology. A quick overview of the company’s expansion would be useful here, because it’s impossible to get such an overview from the timeline that follows.

In the timeline, the first 10 or so items are well chosen. But from there, it degenerates into a list of 50-odd acquisitions, milestones, and awards, all presented with equal emphasis. The awards would certainly have more of an impact on a page of their own. Our Commandment 5 of About Us pages is, “Honor thy readers and their attention spans.” We doubt that anyone will ever wade through this timeline—especially because it contains not a single image. And Stryker misses an easy opportunity for corporate storytelling. Why not tell us a little more about the evolution of Stryker from a family business to a publicly held firm, and let us know if any Stryker descendants are still involved?

Personality: D
Not much personality here. The CEO’s biography could apply to any leader of any company, and appears, mysteriously, on a page with the title “Johnson.” Little information is given on the founder of Stryker, although in a stunning example of inessential information, his birthdate begins the company timeline.

Accessibility: C
The Contact Us page offers many different departments, but no names of specific people. As always, this leaves us with the impression that the company doesn’t really want to communicate with us.

If your company is the result of one man’s vision and still runs on that, make sure to feature his goals and values prominently in your About Us pages, and tie the corporate history and current status to it.

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.