October 29, 2019
Reviews of entirely new or significantly changed websites for Baker Tilley, Mazars, Cherry Beckaert, Berdon, and LBMC reveal new trends. See the five at a glance below and read a quick take of what we like about each. To date in 2019, these new sites mean 10% of the top 50 CPA/Advisory firms have relaunched this year.
The digital expression of a complete brand overhaul, bakertilley.com impresses in every way. The design delivers the right information and the right place with subtle movements that make traveling around the site interesting. There’s less telling what the firm does or describing practices and more sharing of information, ideas and points of view on subject matters important to clients and visitors. We like the real-life, photojournalistic photography, the trending feature on the home page, the effective use of whitespace and much more. The tagline, “Now, for tomorrow” pretty much sums up the entirety of the website.
A couple of years back, Weiser Mazars, continued its expansion nationally as Mazars (part of an ongoing trend to shorten brand names or adopt monograms—think EY). The website has a Big Four accounting firm feel and approach to sharing thought leadership. We particularly like the catalog of case studies. Some may have tired of problem, solution, result as a format. But if the format fits, run with it. Speaking of problems with a straightforward solution, we find it interesting that the firm has a pronunciation link to its name on the home page, with an audio playback. Several firms have this pronunciation challenge; this is a practical way to tackle the problem.
This is a refresh or mild modernization rather than a full makeover. It’s clear that a lot of thought went into user engagement on the site. We like how nearly every internal page of the site invites visitors to interact with the firm in multiple ways—talking to a service leader, downloading a white paper, or signing up for more information, for example. In the professional services world, nearly 80% of firms call their thought leadership “insights” in the navigation. Cherry Beckaert calls its leading thoughts “guidance,” which maps to their tagline, “your guide forward.". Kudos for breaking the mold.
We were not involved in this firm’s branding, but we do know the back story and think it’s worth sharing as you view the site. The firm’s old communications were stale and inconsistent (like that of many firms), but the firm’s name—which rhymes with burden—was perceived as more of a liability than an asset. The new logo, tagline, and site focus attention on the word “do” and away from the pronunciation problem. Many sites are north to south scrolling exercises that tie to our comfort scrolling on our phones. Berdon follows this trend to serve up lots of related information, like meet our advisors on industry and services pages.
First of all, we like LBMC. We worked with the firm, the largest in TN, on an award-winning brand overhaul five years back that resulted in a new logo, 2016 website, and family of companies—no small task. Each of the companies found their way into one website and one firm brand. It was as much a brand consulting as a brand design project. While this new site heads in a different digital direction, core brand elements, including color-coding of the companies within the family, remain the same. We like the “national expertise, uncommon approachability” message. At the core, the message is we have experts you will relate to and enjoy. The prominent 90 net promoter score among clients found on the site gives proof to the promise.
For a broader perspective, please spend some time on our sitevisitsSM research microsite. It catalogs 200 professional service firm websites and provides the latest dish on web design, content, and development trends.
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