For design businesses, having a carefully considered online presence is vital. While a consultancy’s work remains its strongest asset, presenting it succinctly on a website, alongside a clear proposition and culture, also plays heavily into the perception it will have within the industry.
Rightly or wrongly, prospective clients through to potential job applicants will form an opinion of a consultancy based on the look, feel, personality and content of a consultancy’s website. This could make the difference between winning work from your dream brand, hiring the perfect candidate, or missing the boat on both.
New business consultancy The Future Factory works with more than 100 creative businesses each year. Through our travels in 2015 we have collated a view of the best consultancy websites, particularly from the perspective of attracting new clients.
How to build a great website
There are 6 key tips The Future Factory recommend that consultancies consider when reviewing or redesigning their own website:
- Cut the jargon
It’s fine to have some flowery language, but for a consultancy to stand out and not frustrate its visitors it must rapidly be clear what the service offering is.
- Tone match
Look to align the culture and feel of the website with that of the consultancy’s ideal clients. This may mean a playful tone (Paddy Power), a cool look (Sonos) or a more serious design and copy (Barclays). The discipline of the consultancy can also influence this greatly.
- Link channels
Make sure there are clear links to all the consultancy’s channels, social or otherwise. These channels can provide an increased sense of personality (Twitter, Instagram), help encourage agency networking (LinkedIn) or display an agency’s thought leadership (blog). Additionally, ensure the messaging is consistent across these channels.
- Use and play to your strengths
Whether you like it not, a consultancy’s in-house skills need to be evident and replicated in its own website. A digital and UX consultancy, for example, can’t afford to have anything other than a well-designed site.
- Don’t make it like a maze
If a visitor to your site can’t find your latest work, location and contact details without getting sidetracked (and possibly lost forever) by confusing and sticky navigation, then no matter how pretty and cool it is, it’s probably missed the mark. It’s worth noting here that if the page takes too long to load, you may have lost them already.
- People buy people
If visitors can get a feel for what it might feel like to work with your consultancy teams, they’re already part of the way down the decision-making funnel. A photo of your office in full swing is the quickest way to convey the day-to-day life at your HQ.
The Future Factory’s 12 top consultancy websites
1. Poke is a creative company driven by a passion for the endless possibilities of digital media, and we think its site ticks every box.
2. With video at the core of its website, video content consultancy Wing London really knows how to show off its work.
3. We love independent consultancy Code & Theory‘s website for the clever wordplay on its homepage.
4. The App Business is a consultancy dedicated to engineering mobile strategies, products and change. The opening line on its website sets the tone for the scale and impact of its work.
5. The look and feel for digital consultancy AnalogFolk‘s website oozes cool to match with its innovative nature.
6. ODD is an independent consultancy which works with fashion & lifestyle brands. The style of its site is beautiful, clean and definitely appealing.
7. DesignStudio‘s website is beautifully clean and colourful, super-easy to navigate, and its team looks lovely!
8. Oliver creates dedicated, on-site agencies to deliver integrated brand and comms solutions. Its unique model is communicated well through client testimonial videos on its homepage.
9. FCB Inferno is a creative agency working across ATL, digital, CRM and retail. We found its cheeky copy a pleasure to read.
10. Monetise Create is a digital technology and mobile innovation business. Its website is nicely split between agency work and agency culture.
11. The Brooklyn Brothers blends PR, social, digital, experiential, brand advertising and strategic prowess with “the creativity of Hollywood”. Its website ties into this bold proposition, is fun to interact with and steps away from the norm.
12. Hugo & Cat is a digital consultancy based in London specialising in brand engagement, customer experience, content and technology. Its website is a simple pleasure to navigate.
The influence of SEO
While these websites were judged on look, feel and experience, an additional factor that plays heavily into the success of a consultancy website is SEO.
Clearly if a consultancy can’t be found through searches based on location and discipline, it may fail to be discovered in the first place.
Sadly though, there still seems to be a gulf between consultancy websites which are a pleasure to navigate, and the websites which clearly have SEO as their number one priority above aesthetics and snappy copy.
What does that mean for the beautiful consultancy websites listed here? There’s still room for improvement in 2016!
Tom Webster is account director and marketing lead at The Future Factory.