Monday, June 8, 2015

Books-a-Million: “About Us” Evaluation by Corporate

In Florence, Alabama, in 1917, Clyde W. Anderson set up a newsstand. With the profits from it, he bought a bookstore. His sons built more stores, incorporating them under the name “Bookland” in 1964. Bookland survives as a subsidiary of Books-a-Million, which since 1988 has become a chain of over 200 superstores, mostly in the southeastern United States. The company went public in 1992. It is the second largest book retailer in the country. The closest thing to an About Us page is Corporate Profile.


Products/Services: D
The Corporate Profile page provides a good summary of the current size and scope of Books-a-Million, along with its operating divisions. But the page consists entirely of small type and a few headers. Our Commandment 6 of About Us pages is, “Honor thy visuals.” Archival photos of early locations, early signage, or previous logos would liven up this page. More importantly, the page seems to be aimed at possible investors rather than customers. It conveys no sense of excitement about the products and services the company provides, nor its essential business history. Book people, especially, have an obligation to be corporate storytellers.

Personality: E
Completely missing from the Corporate Profile page is the story of the company’s century-long development. Who founded it? What was their driving purpose? What did they do right, and where and when, that helped make the company last so long?

At the foot of the page is a list of directors and corporate officers. Each is listed with name, title, and nothing else: no capsule bios, no contact info, no hint of their goals for Books-a-Million. According to Wikipedia, the company was founded by Clyde W. Anderson. On the Corporate Profile page, the first two names under Board of Directors are Clyde B. Anderson and Terry C. Anderson. Hey, bet there’s a family connection there! Why not tell us about it?

Accessibility: B
The contact page is available via a link on the top navigation bar. It offers a list of mailing addresses, emails, and (sometimes) telephone numbers for questions about retail stores, the website, the company, complaints, employment, and media relations.

Your corporate history is a powerful tool for setting your company apart from the crowd. Use 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.