Heinz : Marketing supremacy

Message-driven navigation loses sight of key audiences.

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The Site

Heinz, US-based food company, skews its navigation away from corporate content in favour of brand positioning. Heinz utilises a conventional horizontal primary navigation bar at the top of pages supplemented by a smaller-sized one near the bottom, with the content sandwiched between. The menu in the main bar features three responsibility focused options – Sustainability, Our Food and Health & Wellness – alongside Our Company. The lower menu mixes standard corporate elements – Media, Investor Relations and Careers – with utilities (Contact and Global Websites). A string of miscellaneous links (including Site Map, Contact Us, Privacy and Heinz Stuff) is located towards the foot of the page. In addition to the presence of multiple universal menus, some pages contain multiple links to the same content and the Our Company menu duplicates the Careers, Investor Relations and Media links, though with Media re-titled as Press Room.

The Takeaway

Heinz is by no means the only company in its sector to promote its ‘responsible provider’ message through its choice of primary menu headings, but somewhere along the way – most likely in the marketing department – it has lost its sense of balance. In the pursuit of ‘message-driven’ navigation it has downgraded the needs of key non-consumer groups such as jobseekers, investors and journalists. The separation of navigation bars means that on most pages the signposts for these visitors are out of sight below the scroll point. The multiplicity and miscellany of menus and the inconsistent titling of the section for journalists are further signs that the site is out of sync (if not sympathy) with important audience segments. A re-think of the menu structure, with a focus on providing closer integration (of both content and location), could improve navigation for all comers without diluting the responsibility message.

First published 12 January, 2012
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