Monday, February 16, 2015

Ideal Industries: “About Us” Evaluation by Corporate

Ideal Industries, founded by J. Walter Becker in 1916, was by 1949 America’s largest producer of wire nuts. Headquartered in Sycamore, Illinois, the company (still privately owned) produces connectors, hand tools, testers and meters for the electrical and telecommunications industries. Ideal Industries’ main About Us page is here.


Products/Services: B
On the About Us menu, the first item is a page of Featured Stories, which cover the product that brought Ideal Industries fame (wire connectors) as well as more recent innovations (a DC power connector that reduces energy costs). The second page on the menu, Our Story, has a good 2-paragraph summary of the company’s products and the breadth of applications they’re used in. We especially like this crisp example of corporate storytelling: “We’re best known for our wire connectors, which have become the go-to standard for electrical connections around the world, but our innovations also touch the sky -- where nearly every commercial jet flying today was made using IDEAL wire strippers. We’ve reached the moon, as part of the critical equipment on NASA missions. Best of all, we touch the daily lives of skilled tradesmen around the globe….”

Why not add links from there to the various featured stories? It’s such an easy and effective way to guide visitors to other content on the site.

The Our History timeline has a good selection of milestones, including products, awards, acquisitions, and leadership. Each has a logo or another type of illustration.  Well done!

Our Commandment 6 of About Us pages is, “Honor thy visuals.” Why not include images such as those on the timeline on other pages? The first 3 images on the main About Us page (Our Story) seem to be from a school tour of the company’s plant--an odd choice of illustration. One is a link to a video that we’ve never been able to play. Even if it’s brilliant, the other images need to stand on their own, which they don’t.

Personality: A
The company’s founder, J. Walter Becker, is frequently mentioned as being the inspiration for the values that still drive this family-owned business. On the Executive Staff page, each officer has a bio plus a sentence or two on his or her strategy, and a quotation. This is an excellent way to convey the aims and personality of the current leadership.

Accessibility: D
Our Commandment 8 of About Us pages is, “Remember to make yourself and your organization easily accessible.” Because Ideal’s pages stress their commitment to collaborate with the professionals who use their products, we were surprised that the Contact Us page has no email address or online form for contacting the company--just a mailing address and telephone.

As Ideal Industries approaches its 100th business anniversary in 2016, it has a strong history base to build on. But if you advertise yourself as being responsive to customer feedback or proud of collaborating with customers, be sure to make it easy for them to get in touch.

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.