5 Ways to Create Memorable Online Brand Experiences - Part 5

Values-Driven Branding

Posted on March 18, 2020 in Legal Marketing Strategy & Website Development

Over the past several years, the rise of specific UI patterns in professional services web design has resulted in a landscape where many sites now look and work in similar ways as each other because users have come to expect certain features and functionality structures to be in place. And since the main goal of any website should be getting the viewer to the content they’re seeking as quickly as possible, there are now some parameters of web design that, while they may be overused, have become essential in a way. Visitors don’t have the patience to figure out how to interact with a site once they get there. If you try to do anything too out-of-the-box or uncommon, you run the risk of creating a frustrating UX because users expect certain content conventions to be in place. So given that reality, what can law firms do to still create memorable website experiences, and how can they do that without sacrificing the expected user experience along the way? 

In Part 1 of this five-part series, we explored how firms could use message-driven visuals and a renewed focus on brand positioning to create a more effective and impactful website. Part 2 focused on how firms can utilize videos and micro-animations to stand out in a crowded market. Part 3 was a discussion around content personalization and how artificial intelligence has worked its way into the law firm website sphere. In Part 4, we talked about the importance and value of the technology behind your website’s internal site search tool. And now in the final part of our series, we’ll discuss the value in values-driven branding for law firms.


Tactic 5: The Value of Values-Driven Branding

There’s been a shift over the past several years, especially with younger audiences, where consumers are consciously choosing to engage with (or not engage with) companies based on their corporate values and how these companies approach their role as part of the larger community, beyond just the particular services or products they offer.

This is the reason companies like Starbucks talk about where they source their coffee beans, or Subaru emphasizes its commitment to organizations that protect pets. These types of messages, which are designed to appeal to buyers who increasingly align their purchase decisions with companies who have shared values, are making their way into the professional services market as well. This is especially true as the world comes to grips with the challenges of COVID-19. Firms that have been first out of the gate to provide counsel on how to navigate the implications of the virus on their clients’ short- and long-term operations are emerging as respected thought leaders.

Many times, prospective buyers of legal services are making this discussion of values a mandatory piece of their selection criteria. They’re specifically looking to work with firms that meet certain levels when it comes to things like diversity, corporate citizenship and environmental sustainability efforts. And yes, firms could just include all of this information in their RFP responses on an individual basis. But it’s more beneficial to reach prospects with this information when they’re in their research stage and narrowing down their list of RFP participants. Law firms should put this information up front. Don’t wait for someone to ask for it – show your clients and prospects that these values carry real importance at your firm, and that they are woven into the fabric of who your firm is and how you do business.

As a result of this shift in buyer behavior, exercises to determine corporate values that used to be seen as more of an internal activity to build company culture, are now a true opportunity to engage with your audience and create deeper, more meaningful connections. Firms can highlight this type of content in various ways. In other professional services industries, this type of content has been more prevalent for a longer period of time, as companies like BCG and Accenture have dedicated content sections within their websites speaking directly to their corporate values. 

And now, we’re seeing this type of content garner more prominence in the legal space, especially with larger firms. At a minimum, law firms can also add separate content sections within their website, like BCG sample above. However, other firms are giving this content more prominent placement on their homepage, like Arnold & Porter does as part of its initial carousel:

And then other firms, like Freshfields, have gone a step beyond that in creating dedicated microsites solely focused around this type content.

Promoting these values also provides yet another opportunity to further humanize your firm. Buyers don’t want to work with faceless corporations and at the end of the day, this is still a relationship-driven industry. Efforts to humanize and offer transparency in your firm will equate to credibility in the eyes of the viewer. Firms can consider tactics such as videos, Q&As spotlights and stories about the people who work at the firm as ways to more effectively communicate who a firm “is” as opposed to just what it “does.”

Regardless of how its implemented, firms are realizing that their corporate values need to resonate with audiences if they want to both establish and then subsequently maintain brand loyalty.

Are you ready to distinguish your firm’s website? Contact Herrmann’s Chief Business Development Officer, John Albert, at john@herrmann.com to set up a free consultation today.