When “About Us” goes wrong, they’ll find the bodies

A tale of misdirection and (literal) corporate suicide.

Today the Differ heard that a company named Huawei was setting up shop in his home town. He needed help placing the brand in his head. But when he clicked “About Us” on Huawei.com, pills all he found were meaningless words. And human remains…

Looking for clarity.

Now, this web dear readers who are smarter than me, approved of course you know that Huawei is actually a $21.8 Billion dollar (US) Chinese mega-corp – a Fortune 500 company, the world’s third largest telecommunications company after Ericsson and Nokia Siemens, and  a growing behemoth that is aggressively stealing market share from the European and American telecom titans.

So you’d think they could spend some time and maybe marketing dollars figuring out a simple, clear message for schmoes like me who didn’t know that (but wanted to). Instead, this is what I found when I visited their About Us page:

Huawei is a leading telecom solutions provider. Through continuous customer-centric innovation, we have established end-to-end advantages in Telecom Network Infrastructure, Application & Software, Professional Services and Devices. With comprehensive strengths in wireline, wireless and IP technologies, Huawei has gained a leading position in the All-IP convergence age…

I’ll be merciful and stop there. But if you’re really a glutton for punishment, feel free to read the rest. I didn’t. I did what I always do when I get stonewalled by a company’s internal jargon: I looked them up on Google and Wikipedia.

And guess what I learned?

So what story are you going to remember?

So ask yourself what message are you going to remember after reading Beg to Differ today?

  • Their corporate story: “Huawei has gained a leading position in the All-IP convergence age”.
  • The easy-to-remember story: “Huawei employees jump out of windows.”

Not hard to choose is it? But the ironic thing is, I never would have learned that stuff if they had just helped me out on their Web page.

Think about that. By just visiting the About page, I gave the company a gift: a chance to tell me about their brand on their terms. But without giving me a single solid “memory hook” to help me understand who they really are, they gave up the spotlight and allowed other, less sympathetic voices to tell their story.

So brand managers: how often do we make the same mistake? Every page on every site, every customer visit, and every “spotlight question” we answer needs to tell the same story in a way that helps people understand and remember.

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