We’ve all seen brand communications that are perfectly executed – with clever headlines and striking imagery – yet completely dysfunctional or too firm-centric to make a meaningful connection with the audience.
Case in point: a website that makes you sit through a self-promotional “brand” video before allowing you to access any information. How is your experience so far?
Then there is the website that has useful content, clear hierarchy and intuitive flow of information, but lacks differentiation and fails to create any kind of emotional connection. Websites like this appear useful, but they do nothing to answer the question: Why should I choose your firm? And they certainly don’t compel the client to want to choose your firm. As a result, your firm slips into the gray fog of thousands of other undistinguishable and unmemorable experiences.
No one would deny that these scenarios are problematic. In every medium and in every channel and application – from proposals to case studies to social media – there are opportunities to make your message, format and content both useful and compelling.
To compete and win in the decade ahead, professional services firms must balance their brands’ needs with those of their clients by shifting from a firm-focused to a client-centric marketing agenda and creating the more B2C-like experiences that today’s professional services clients expect and demand.
How do you craft a useful and contextually relevant experience that is both uncompromisingly on-brand and delightfully rewarding (and valuable!) at every touchpoint?
Know Your Brand
Every client experience touchpoint is the outward expression of your firm’s brand and must clearly and immediately communicate what your firm stands for, where it fits within its competitive set (positioning and key differentiators), its promise, value proposition, personality and more.
Your brand platform and all of its elements are the building blocks for creating a relevant, emotionally resonant and memorable experience.
What’s more, developing a brand and communications that reflect your firm’s clients – their needs and aspirations – more than the firm itself is essential for creating superior client-centric experience.
Know Your Audience
So much of client research is focused on general observations and demographic data! Although important to creating broader archetypes, demographics are facts that don’t tell you anything about the nuances of your clients’ unspoken needs, challenges and triggers for action. In other words, relying on demographics won’t help creating meaningful experiences that drive behavior and preference.
To create experience with the right balance of brand and client, you need to get clear on your clients’ context – the reason they wake up at 2 a.m. at each stage in the relationship, the specifics of how your solutions help achieve their personal goals, their expectations and frustrations with similar service providers. Because only then can you understand what messages will resonate with them; what content they will find most useful; when and how to deliver content to maximize impact; what communication platforms they trust; and what ultimately turns them into passionate advocates and loyal life-long champions for your firm.
Conducting deeper client research – and collecting data and insight at each point along the client journey – will help you know what your firm needs to do to create a relevant and useful experience at every stage in the client relationship.
Understand Changing Expectations
Throughout our careers, all we’ve heard was how B2B sales and marketing should be different. But today’s professional services clients demand more and more B2C-like experiences. We are all consumers in our personal lives and we don’t check that at the door when we come to the office!
Meeting these changing expectations often means incorporating new, cross-disciplined approaches and looking to other industries – with more experience in creating client-centric message and culture – for best practices.
Register today to hear Ida Cheinman, Substance151 Principal and Creative Director at #CXps2018 where she will break down the overarching idea of balancing the needs of your firm with those of your clients in a series of practical approaches and strategies. You’ll learn how to use brand and client research to improve the client experience at every touchpoint and how to incorporate proven practices from other industries. You’ll walk away with many actionable ideas that you can implement immediately to create a competitive advantage for your firm.