Avery Dennison : Fragmenting history

Content coordination fails to reinforce market positioning.

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The feature

Avery Dennison, a US-based maker of self-adhesive materials and products, fails to tie together the strands of its history to reinforce its market positioning. The corporate site includes History as a main menu item in its primary About Us section. Content consists of an interactive timeline running from 1935 to the present, although the milestone buttons on the display are not labelled or given date tags. A Company History Video is listed separately in the section left-hand navigation under Related Links but is not referenced on the History page. A link to the video also appears in the Related Links sets in two other sections, Sustainability and Newsroom. A second timeline, A History of Firsts, is included in the Innovation section and is navigable by era. The left-hand navigation in this section offers neither of the two other history features under Related Links and there is no reference to them on the A History of Firsts page. It in turn is not mentioned on the History or Company History Video pages nor in Related Links in any other section.

The takeaway

Avery Dennison markets itself on its enduring powers of invention: the characterising slogan on the About Us landing page says the company “… is a recognized industry leader that develops innovative identification and decorative solutions for businesses and consumers worldwide. Every day. Everywhere.”. But despite having the history to back up its statement it makes a miserable job of using its site to reinforce its inheritance of invention. True, Innovation is a primary section and has in it the A History of Firsts feature. But this is entirely divorced from the rest of site in a way that sends out the opposite of the message presumably intended, that innovation is woven into the fabric of the company. To achieve that, it should be cross-referenced and cross-linked much more not only from other history features (a consolidated history sub-section could also be argued for) but also other sections, including Careers. No invention or innovation is required.

First published 04 October, 2011
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