Creating Future Opportunity With Company History

Blog Post By:Rob Hawse

When evaluating manufacturing websites, one box we can almost always count on checking as poor or missing is the utilization of the company’s history to create future opportunity.

We’ve yet to figure out exactly why manufacturing seems to struggle so much in this area. Is it that they are afraid to reveal too much? Maybe they don’t see how it is important or don’t see how it makes difference going forward.

What we do know is that in our Workshop, when we interview leadership about the importance of their company history, they become passionate, and almost defensive about it. This emotional reaction is sure sign (to us at least) that they should be sharing at least some of that history with their audience.

Your company history, told in the right way, can communicate something about your company, its culture and its values, that lists and general statements cannot.

In fact, a well-articulated company history is among the most powerful and effective content types your company can provide.

(Not just to prospective buyers but also to prospective employees.)

And for that reason you might want to bump it up on the priority list. Way up.

Telling these stories is effective because they are real. Your well-told company history is an upfront and honest representation of what kind of organization yours is and why it is still around after all these years. It demonstrates that, though these are tough times, yours is a company that knows how to navigate through and survive. That your audience can be confident that you will continue to be there for them in good times — and bad.

A company history is also useful in capturing the attention of potential employees and somewhat inviting them to become part of the continuing story. It also provides them with a way to predict what it might be like to work for you — a great recruiting tool.

When it comes to the web, a well-done company history page functions as its own very effective “home page” and provides an interesting introduction to your company. More than one client has told us that qualified leads have originated from prospects having landed on their company history page as a result of search.

There are many characteristics of a well-done company history page, here are just a few:

  • Speaks to the challenges that the company has overcome (economy, merger, acquisition, etc.) and how that was achieved in addition to its successes.
  • Creates a sense of culture and articulates the foundation of that culture in terms of values and work environment, key employees, team accomplishments, etc.
  • Connects parts to cultural implications and significance of end product, and its story. For example, one of our clients’ machines was a key component in the manufacturing process for the first iPod.
  • Resist the urge to tell every single historical detail and focus instead on articulating meaningful milestones that demonstrate your company’s reaction to relevant events and how it navigates through them over time.

Getting started is a matter of taking a look at what you already have and building on it. Things to look for:

  • Historical assets. Are there photo archives? A piece of the first building the company was in. What do we have that we could use to tell our story visually?
  • Written archives. Is there a file cabinet full of written material you can mine for interesting anecdotes?
  • Media coverage. Research the local papers to see if there was any interesting coverage on significant company events.
  • People. Are there long-time employees willing to be interviewed? Who are your storytellers (the people who hold court in the break room). Are there people who worked there for a long time but who are now retired? Perhaps they would be willing to talk about their experiences and tell their stories.

Once you know what you know, then it’s a matter of pulling that together in a way that provides insights into what your organization is about. Perhaps it’s a video piece composed of early employees (texture, voice, objects, written word, photographs). Or a timeline that overlays another aspect of history that will provide readers with relevant context. It doesn’t necessarily all have to be in text form.

Take a look at our approach to Teknor Apex

Investing time in crafting a relevant and interesting company history provides prospects with a better way to understand how your company started, how it has grown and most importantly, the impact decades of decision making has shaped you into who you are today. Giving them clear insights into your history enables them to better predict where you might be going. A destinction that could mean winning their business over losing it.

You Might Also Like

Share This Blog Post

Want to stay in the know?

The marketing world isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. We’ll help you stay up-to-speed with updates and insights about marketing for manufacturers.

Crafted is hiring a Senior Account Manager. Join our team!

Read More