Smarter Thought Leadership Centers on the WebBy Joe Walsh
October 7, 2015
Last week we shared ideas and best practices for compelling homepages drawn from our site visitsSM review of the websites of the 200 largest professional service firms. Today, we’ll look at what firms are doing to standout with digital thought leadership or resource centers.
First some news. It's not about you. New hires, new offices and new stuff about your firm may be relevant to the client, but you know what? Most of the time it really isn't. What research of professional service buyers has told us for years is that clients and prospects want ideas, ideas, ideas. In other words, they want news they can use.
Smart marketers know this and have pushed for sections of their sites that are more about the market than the firm. These new resource centers have not only left firm news in their wake, they've become editorial in nature and perform like impressive business news websites. To be among the best and most valuable resource centers, firms need to create or leverage useful content, curate the content and then deliver it with impressive and courteous information design.
Smart information design is key because there is a thought leadership arms race in full force. Everyone's doing it. So, "today" it is not just content that matters, it's engaging content. In 1971, the Nobel-winning political scientist and economist Herbert Simon addressed the new realities of an information-rich world. He said “a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”
Here are three examples, one from each of the professional services sectors, of thought leadership centers that earn attention and shine.
Pepper Hamilton (650 lawyers). While Pepper does share some firm news in its new insight center, trends, case studies, webinars and podcasts dominate the page in a news magazine format. Caveat: we're biased about this page as it is part of a broader new site we helped them design and launch this year.
DHG (Top 15 U.S. CPA and Advisory firm). DHG, another client (go figure), has chosen to organize and share its thought leadership by industry—this is one organizational strategy that does not fit all. The resources center operates under the handle DHG Views. This is a minor point but close to half of the websites of the largest 200 professional service firms collect their "news" and "publications" pages under the handle "insights." Different is good.
Cognizant. ("Consulting" … the company is much broader than a consulting firm with many offerings in the tech services category, but it is listed as a top global consulting firm globally). We did not design this site, but we are impressed by how the site leads with a robust search. Just below the fold the visitor sees sub navigation to find your way through all the rich content in another way. Beyond its presentation and substance, we admired the spirit in which Cognizant shares its Leading Thinking.