Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Garda World Security: “About Us” Evaluation by Corporate History.net

Garda World Security was founded in 1995 by Stephan Cretier, using money from a second mortgage on his home. Headquartered in Montreal, it is now one of the world’s ten largest security providers – notably of armored cars and security guards. Garda has more than 200 offices in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. It is also one of the top three cash logistics brands in North America, handling more than $5 billion (!) every day. The main About Us page is here.


Products/Services: C
The main About Us page – the one that the About link in the footer leads to – gives a good summary of Garda’s purpose and its global reach. But as an introduction to the site and to Garda company history in general, it’s weak. The top of this page (and several others in the About Us section) is occupied by an image that fills most of the space on a desktop screen. Here, it’s a scene of a highway at night that has no obvious relation to Garda.

The size of the photo is a serious problem because the left-hand navigation menu is tacked onto it, so the menu that should entice visitors is out of sight once they scroll down to the page’s text.

And there are more problems. The divisions of the company aren’t mentioned in the text of the main About Us page. Why not have photos with captions as teasers? The links within the text to other pages on the site are formatted in a discretely elegant way that makes them easy to miss.

Another problem: on the main About Us page, the menu options are Our Businesses, Locations, News and Media, and Careers. But in the footer of every page, the About menu offers the choices of Our Team, Fast Facts, Our History, Governance, and Garda in the Community. The inconsistency is confusing.

Personality: A
The Our Team page starts off right with a bio of Stephan Cretier (Garda’s founder, chairman, president and CEO) that sets out how he founded the company and segues into its current global scope. Nice use of corporate storytelling!

We do cavil at some of the phrasing. For example: “Named ‘Entrepreneur of the Decade’ by Profit Magazine in 2011 as one of eleven remarkable Canadian CEOs, Stephan Cretier is ...”: was Cretier the Entrepreneur of the Decade, or one of eleven remarkable Canadian CEOs, or both? Our Commandment 9 of About Us pages is “Worship clarity.” That includes making sure that every sentence is unambiguous.

Accessibility: B
A red Contact Us bar at the foot of every page allows visitors to send an email. The Contact page (accessible via the footer) offers only an online form for contact. Clicking the link within the text to Locations takes us to a page that has phones and addresses. But the existence of that page isn’t obvious due to the annoyingly subtle format used for links.

Take care to make navigation easy and obvious, and never be elegant at the expense of ease of use. Your business history deserves to be easily accessible.

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; CorporateHistory.net has no ties to this company.