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Websites & History


by Phyllis Barr
Corporate Culture Marketing by Barr Consulting Services
New York, NY 10019
For list of services see end of newsletter and below:
There are some questions that both for-profits and not-for-profits need to ask:
1. Should the history of the company/organization be on the website?
2. Why and perhaps why not?
3. How does including such content square with the overall marketing & PR strategy(ies)?
4. Should it only be included at the time of an anniversary celebration?
5. What have other companies/organizations done on their sites?
6. Do we need to hire specialists?
7. AND how can we make the past come alive, be relevant in the present and take us into the future?
I have conducted research on more sites than I can remember and many don't even have the founding date. I have also called many companies and found that some people even in the PR/Communications/Marketing departments have no idea there is an upcoming anniversary.
These, by the way, are companies that are more than 50 years old.
Interestingly, not-for-profits have more information as a rule.
They are often in the "company" of companies located in other countries and luxury marketing companies in the U.S. (I have been working on anniversary celebrations since 1980 and conducting research first off-line (before information was available as it is now on-line) and now on-line and off-line.
The steps to take:
Note: The question of whether to include the history of a company/organization or not and, if so, how much, could be decided before checking out other sites and seeing what is available to put on-line. Or research could be conducted afterwards.  I suggest doing the research first and then looking at sales & marketing plans and how this would fit with branding initiatives, social media initiatives, and taking part in trade shows, etc.
1. Check out other websites for your industry and a few others;
2. If your company has an archives, check to see what documents and visuals are in it;
3. If not, consider setting up an archives. Even if your company decides not to put its history on its website, an archives is useful in a number of ways, including legal. (See September newsletter)
4. If your company decides to go ahead with putting its history on its site and there are gaps in the written and visual records, then
consider hiring an historian to conduct research. Everything is NOT on-line, of course. Many repositories can't afford to do so and visits to historical societies,libraries and museums are necessary. In the end, someone with graduate history/research training will save time and money by doing the research to fill in the gaps in the records.
5. Consider who will create content: Again, an historian who has writing experience for the general public, can be a very useful asset and will in the end save both time and money in this area as well.
6. Consider hiring a curator who can create an "exhibit" on-line as well as off-line. (Consider a hard copy version of history in a carrying case to take to meetings, expos, etc.). There are some historians who are archivists and curators as well.
7. What to include:
  •     A time-line for: the company/organization; the company's city; the nation. This puts the history in context;
  •     Audio/Visuals from different periods. Include photos from your city, old news clips from your local TV stations; old newspaper articles, etc.
  •     Quotes from people who work for or worked for the company/organization. (An oral history program can provide a great deal of  information.)  (See the October newsletter);
  •     Make it interactive and invite people to contribute their memories of a product, etc. and photos.
9. Have some fun: include cartoons, amusing photos, songs from different eras, games for kids, etc.
10. Lastly, if a company has an Intranet, having the history on it can be very useful, particularly as part of orientation and training. This
could have additional information or information presented differently than on the website.
Recently, I went to the Metropolitan Museum. There is so much there that it would take years to see it all, but two hours of seeing beautiful paintings by Turner, objects d'art, furniture, etc. are joyful hours!
The museum website is worth a visit. One can set up one's own gallery with up to 50 pieces in it and, of course, buy from the store. I think the gallery is a great marketing device as well as a terrific educational tool for kids!
Until next month:  The subject will be the value of archives.
Happy Labor Day weekend!
Phyllis Barr, President
Corporate Culture Marketing by
Barr Consulting Services
& The Corporate Acculturation Management Practice
Phone: 212-765-6968
Corporate Culture Marketing assists
companies with leveraging the history
and heritage of a company, brand or
not-for-profit as a marketing or fundraising tool.
It specializes in leveraging anniversary
celebrations as a marketing or fundraising tool.
Services: Consulting; Research; Editing;
Writing: Curating; Creating Knowledge
Banks;  Conducting Oral History interviews; Assisting
companies with corporate culture clash after
a merger.

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