THURSDAY 17 OCT 2019 9:49 AM


Greg Hobden is client strategy director at Living Group. Here he talks about user-first design and digital strategies

So often we encounter truly engaging thought leadership from brands who do themselves (and their subject matter experts) a disservice by burying the content on a poorly designed website. Or the complex but compelling argument expounded in an in-depth report gets glossed over because there’s no eye-catching graphics to clearly express its point of view. Or a wonderful communications piece underachieves because no one thought to amplify its message with supporting social media posts – including images and videos – that would engage and expand the audience reach.

Living has the good fortune to work with many brilliant minds in the financial and professional services space, where brands are veritable content factories, spewing out volumes of information, education and instruction. The challenge is to digitally package an online framework to house this thought leadership, so that the desired audience can easily find what they’re looking for, engage in it fully, and share what they’ve learned with even more people.

When Harneys, a leading global offshore law firm approached us for a full rebranding and website overhaul, we focused on how content would play a role in advancing the firm’s brand messaging. With access to ‘Insights’ and ‘Blogs’ directly on the home page, showcased alongside proprietary graphics, the Harneys website came to life in a user-first, search-driven design. The firm’s thought leadership is searchable through several filters, and the impact of each article is enhanced by an accompanying ‘guided navigation’ with links to related content.

EY, another of Living’s global clients, authors an endless supply of information – invaluable to its consultancy, accounting and audit clientele. But often the material is dense with data and overflowing with comprehensive insights.  EY’s audience, always time-starved, needs a quick and easy way to focus on key messages. To solve that challenge, we use a variety of data visualisation solutions, both static, such as infographics, and interactive, including dynamic microsites and online tools. One example is the Capital Confidence Barometer we created to showcase customised data charts. Using a colourful, minimal approach, we developed a logarithmic-based output of spheres to represent the data, an original technique designed for both mobile and desktop.

Even when the content and messaging is served up perfectly on a website, there’s still the opportunity to attract a greater audience through a strategic approach to social media. Living has been working with CFA Institute globally to increase the social media reach of several key executives and, in doing so, have helped to build the brand and drive more traffic to the content on the corporate website. By carefully curating existing content, developing new, relevant material – with an emphasis on video, and thoughtfully managing an editorial calendar, we’ve successfully optimised both LinkedIn and Twitter as distinct content channels that also serve to amplify the content messaging on the website.

Content remains king, but it’s a lonely monarchy if no one comes to visit. Marketers and their agencies owe it to the brands they support to develop digital content strategies that deliver and engage audiences. A good read, easily found, will always prompt a return visit.