About Us: Basic to Breakthrough. Changing consumer focuses and the importance of transparent brand values.

By Maaike Hunter

Let’s get the obvious question out of the way first; what do we mean by About page? The names may differ, you might find it in the navigation or in the footer, it may be linked from your instagram account or not, it could be short, long, or somewhere in between, but these landing pages are all joined by a purpose. The purpose of this essential page is to educate all potential and existing customers, wholesalers and even competitors about the background and values that underpin the business, brand or retailer. About Us, Our Story, Who We Are, you know the one we’re referring to. They’re pretty straightforward, right? Well, based on how often we get asked to review these pages, it would seem not so much. But where and why do they go wrong? More importantly, where do you sit on the scale of basic to breakthrough?  

HAS THE WAY YOU INTERACT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS CHANGED?  

So how did we get here? We see a lot of scenarios that have led to an About page that didn't require too much input or thought at the time of creation. As a key example, we often work with businesses who originally created their B2C website as a backup for customers who didn't have a retail store in their region. As the customer was already familiar and often loyal to the values of the brand, the About landing page just needed to fulfill a basic purpose of confirming essential brand details. It was secondary to the organic or physical way consumers were discovering the business.

Our bread and butter is working with businesses looking to aggressively expand their growth model, which more often than not includes updating their B2C website to ensure that their brand is easily discoverable, easily digestible, and shoppable when and where consumers need it to be. A one-paragraph wonder About page just doesn't cut it anymore with these needs in mind.

 

WHAT IF THE WAY CONSUMERS ARE WANTING TO INTERACT WITH ALL BUSINESSES HAS CHANGED?

Not only are businesses changing the way they present their online content and the overarching website objectives as mentioned, the last decade has seen an enormous change in consumer values as well.

Research on Generation Z and how they shop is becoming more entrenched in eCommerce strategies worldwide, and the new generation of shoppers aren’t here for superficial content. Now more than ever, consumers are aligning themselves with brands and retailers who share key values, and are often desperately seeking authenticity and transparency.

When we say values, what do we mean? Here are some examples of impactful values that are setting our clients’ businesses apart: Plastic-free living, being a family-owned and operated business, quality curations of limited or exclusive brands, bespoke or custom-made products, sustainability of resources and materials, being made locally, and sourcing ethical labour internationally. Due to a rather shameful industry past (and present) in these areas, businesses in the apparel space are often having to work extra hard to push their values to the fore, hoping to overcome that hard-to-shake consumer pessimism, and distinguish themselves from large scale fast-fashion retailers. We’re super lucky to be working with many brands and retailers who work to embody strong, transparent values everyday, and we are privileged to see the direct impact of pushing these values to the forefront of site design and UX feature offerings.    

SO HOW DO WE MEET THE CHANGING OBLIGATIONS TO CONSUMERS?

Okay, so now maybe you’re thinking your brand exploration on site could do with a facelift, or you just want to make sure you're on the right track. Let’s break it down; Where should your brand be explored, how should your content should be displayed, and what inspiration is out there?

Let’s start with the key landing page itself, your core for all of this information. Is it up to date, is it informative, and is it impactful?  

This page should consolidate any values you explore on your social media pages, on your homepage, on product pages, or in your email marketing. Having an updated, slick landing page also means that you have a great hub to link any related marketing to.  

Here’s a quick checklist to keep your page planning on track:   

Keep it Structured

  • To organise your content into easily digestible sections, think about the best division of paragraphs with clear headers devoted to a key value each, rather than the aforementioned one paragraph wonder. Breaking these up using design elements or your imagery is a great option.  

  • If you have a lot to talk about, consider separate landing pages per value to create a wider net of browsing, but ensure that they are grouped together clearly and appropriately in your navigation.

  • Some consumers will have very clear intentions when seeking out your values. To create ease of moving between your new sections, consider features like expandable accordion style menus, anchored title links from an in-page menu. For separate pages, consider links leading from section to another, similar to a blog journey.  

Maximise Your Content

  • Ensure you’re using personal voice throughout all written content. This is your chance to give users a sense of the people behind the business!

  • Striking imagery should personalise and validate your written content. Even better, consider using video content to give be able to show, rather than tell, site browsers what you're about. More and more video content is being used to enhance brand pages in particular as it adds authenticity, a dynamic element, and relatability to an audience that is accustomed to digesting information via video.

     

Ready to put these into action and looking for inspiration? Let’s check out some examples that we’ve crafted in collaboration with our valued clients.

We worked with the team at Ecoya during their site rebuild to introduce consumers to their passion and expertise, while retaining their minimalist aesthetic. Even the name of the section, “Our World”, chosen by the Ecoya team evokes purpose. It was also a key brief that the site reiterate the brand’s origins in Australasia, with influence taken from local environments and landscapes.

Fragrance is a sensory product, and often thought to be more difficult to convey online, so we worked tirelessly with the team to ensure that the imagery and video content was used to best effect.

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To give the page a continued browsability, the focus was to take users from the Our World page and guide them through other site areas devoted to fragrance education, as well as the product offering available.

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We also love the use of video content by one of our favourite teams at The Horse, whose focus on family values and unshakable quality give their work an amazing authenticity. We wanted to use the video not in isolation, but rather to support the imagery and written content elsewhere on their About page.  


See more of these impactful examples, carefully crafted by Pocket Square, at:

https://www.ecoya.co.nz/

https://www.thehorse.com.au/


So you’ve got a great brand new (or a great existing) page[s] - How do you ensure the rest of your site is doing this content justice? Here are some crucial things to consider so that consumers can discover and engage with the related content:   

Site Discoverability

  • Discoverability is key. As a top priority, your landing page should be featured prominently in your navigation. If you have the content, consider breaking out each value into sections or separate pages, so that you have effectively a whole sub-menu related to brand values. Site users can then hone in on certain values straight from the menu dropdown.  

  • Which brings us to the name. Whether you decide on About, Our Story, or something more off-the-wall, it should be clear to your potential customers what kind of information they can expect. Remember, you want people to be able to find this page easily and quickly, so an ambiguous name isn’t a winning start.  

  • Your homepage is still likely the most traffic-heavy page on your site, so why not encourage all users to get informed? Enticing site users to engage further by a linking a simple, visual homepage section is a no-brainer.  

 

Consider Further Engagement

Are there other key ways you can reiterate the values throughout your site? Think about the below:

  • Prioritise connecting your values back to your products wherever possible. At the end of the day, these are what you need to sell the customer on! Using management features, such as Shopify’s tagging system, you can assign values to the product itself and customise the display how you like. This increases your impact on one of the most crucial decision-making pages, such as product pages and your cart page.

  • Navigation is one of the most frequent interactions on your site, so think about further ways you can use this space to meet browser needs. Think about return customers who are committed to a lead value, and consider implementing ways to browse collections based on this preference i.e. For brands focused on multiple environmental values, offer shoppers a plastic-free collection to shop by so that they can hone in solely on products that are related to their needs. For a multi-brand retailer, your expert curation of exclusive brands is your key selling point, so ensuring your menu offers a slick Shop by Brand experience is crucial.  

 

Let’s look at these principles in action.

We had the pleasure of working with the team at Kowtow to create a homepage and navigation experience that demonstrated the depths of their passion for sustainability in business. Getting browsers to view key information is straightforward and visual.

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The linked pages themselves also offer easy linking between the value pages, so that users can explore each value easily once beyond the menu.

Another business whose ideals we admire and love working to highlight is ethical beauty brand Ethique. We worked in collaboration with Brianne and the team to ensure that their environmental and ethical values were relatable at a product level to give each customer the knowledge and confidence in their purchases. Using Shopify tags and descriptions, we gave each value an icon that could be used throughout the site to continue important messaging.  

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A particular favourite, as well as key value icons, each product has an assigned value for each plastic bottle saved displayed across multiple pages.

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These management systems mean that, right through the cart page, we could include the value propositions. For example, we can show exactly how many plastic bottles are being saved in each cart to build trust in a key decision making area.

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See more of these beautiful examples carefully crafted by Pocket Square at:

https://nz.kowtowclothing.com/

https://ethiqueworld.com/

Once you have these elements and features in place, or if you already have these in place (go you!) you can rest assured that anyone visiting your site, whether they come through a referral, social media, a stockist or a private event, will be able to quickly align themselves with your brand as well as your product offering.

Still not sure where to start? Get in touch with us to talk through what opportunities we see for your brand story or business values, and how to get them in-front of your potential customers!  

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