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Key takeaways from an audit of PSO COVID-19 coverage

by Naz Larya April 3, 2020

As organizations, many of us are trying to help our clients understand how COVID-19 impacts their business. However, most of our news feeds have been inundated with content surrounding the pandemic – how many “COVID-19 response” emails have you gotten? (… we’ve lost count as well). Digital differentiation has never been more important. If you want to be noticed, or heard, you have to deliver your message in a compelling way.

In an effort to help our clients elevate their experiences, we performed a quick audit to understand how leading PSOs are approaching COVID-19 coverage. Here are some of our key takeaways.

1. Differentiation is the name of the game: Your content strategy matters.

COVID-19 resource centers are popping up left and right across all corners of the internet. Most promote their content collections on the homepage of their site, present obtrusive pop-up modals or alert banners, promote on social channels or create email campaigns.

We see an opportunity to be more intentional about the content strategy and elevate digital experiences related to COVID-19 beyond a simple list of articles and numbers to call. Organizations need to take a step back and ask: what’s the value we can add that a user can’t get elsewhere? Most firms showcase a library of authored and/or curated content, but stand-out firms display multimedia content in the form of events, webinars, podcasts, social media campaigns, etc.

Recognizing that users are looking for alternate forms of content in our media-rich world, Deloitte shares its insights via a host of virtual events, webinars and podcasts. Deloitte has also consolidated its social content into an easily scannable feed, inviting users to “Join the Conversation” via social media. We’re seeing an evolution from primarily text-based content to a diversified content strategy that also invites additional engagement from social channels.

We’re also seeing top law firms bringing their A game. Sidley and Baker McKenzie are offering users a steady stream of multimedia content, such as podcasts and webinars, on COVID-19 insights and tips. Although creating this type of content requires higher upfront costs, the investment is worth it in the long run. Your efforts will help your organization demonstrate its value and be perceived as a true thought leader in the space.


2. Get ahead of the curve: Practice proactive innovation instead of reactive maintenance.

While we’re seeing many firms play catch-up, a few PSOs were able to position themselves to be more proactive with their coverage. As global organizations, some were producing content weeks before many other primarily US-based firms, so they have fairly robust resource centers at this point. Many are innovating through custom tools and research, which offer a deeper level of quality insights that can be referenced by other firms and media.

Some stand-out examples we saw:

  • McKinsey & Company is conducting a regularly updated consumer sentiment survey during the crisis to measure changes in expectations, incomes, spending and behaviors.

PwC COVID-19 Navigator
Image Source: PwC

  • PwC has created a COVID-19 Navigator, which is a digital assessment to measure potential business impact and response readiness with insights and recommendations.

Bain Situational Threat Report Index
Image Source: Bain & Company

Leading firms are continuing to iterate on their work as new developments occur. Timeliness is critical at times when business leaders are looking for guidance. By frequently updating their innovative content, which can’t be found on other sites, these firms are able to retain user engagement.


3. Do more with less: Prioritize bite-sized, actionable information.

Creating innovative content allows PSOs to provide high-value, actionable thought leadership tailored towards business leaders. Among leading PSOs, we saw some content themes starting to emerge, including the role of technology and a future focus on various business implications. These firms recognize that business leaders are looking for quality insights as inputs into their decision-making process. As a result, they simplify the presentation of content and offer varying levels of detail for different audiences.

Image Source: McKinsey & Company

Leading PSOs include high-level, brief summary content displayed in scannable bulleted lists or visualizations, which is ideal for executives who need to act fast. McKinsey includes graphs, charts, infographics and clear next steps in its executive briefing. It also provides access to longer-form content, such as full reports and decks for analysts, researchers and others looking for additional details. Since most of this content is being repurposed for a variety of different channels, it’s also available for download via PDF.

We saw leading firms catering to these user needs in the form of action plans and guides.

  • Baker McKenzie’s COVID-19 Global Employer Guide offers jurisdiction-specific guidance across 41 countries.
  • McKinsey’s Coronavirus landing page includes an action plan with guidance for various teams and work streams.
  • Deloitte’s senior executives guide presents a timeline-based collection of short, focused briefs on actions leaders can take across six priority areas of their business.


4. Be fast and furious, without compromising your brand or user experience.

When creating your COVID-19 resource center, it’s important to maintain a strong, cohesive user experience. It should feel like an extension of your brand, not a haphazardly thrown together afterthought. In terms of functionality, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Simplicity works as long as there is a strategic focus on content hierarchy and page layout. Sidley’s COVID-19 Resource Center does a great job incorporating an introductory narrative, prioritizing featured content and including strong calls-to-action.

Image Source: Baker McKenzie

To level-up your resource center, consider introducing more robust filters to allow users to access relevant information more quickly. The most common filters we saw stand-out experiences offering include topic, business function and geography. For example, Deloitte allows users to view content by topic, sectors, geographies and resources. Baker McKenzie filters content by business area and regional jurisdiction.


5. Let’s face it, your users may not want yet another email subscription for updates.

A key difference between many legal and PSO COVID-19 resource centers is the amount of real estate and priority given to calls-to-action. The most common ones we saw included prompts to either subscribe for alerts and updates or contacting a professional/task force/the firm. It’s important to be strategic with what you are asking users to do. While some law firms choose to present a number of contacts and bold subscribe buttons, other leading PSOs are more strategic with placement and labels to create a less intrusive user experience.

At the end of the day, the primary goal of a resource center is to provide valuable insights to target audiences. Your calls-to-action shouldn’t get in the way of this; they should serve as accessible but unobtrusive pathways. Your content strategy and the user experience of your digital experience should position you as a thought-leader and a partner in informing users.

The ripple effects of the global pandemic we’re facing are widespread and are likely to be felt long-term. As such, there is an opportunity for firms to be thoughtful about how they communicate their ability to help clients navigate this new normal. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can differentiate your firm’s message and/or its delivery, contact us.

Naz Larya
UX Strategist

At the time of publishing, Naz was a UX Strategist at One North.

Key Takeaways
  1. Your content strategy matters.
  2. Practice proactive innovation instead of reactive maintenance.
  3. Prioritize bite-sized, actionable information.
  4. Be fast and furious, without compromising your brand or user experience.
  5. Your users may not want yet another email subscription for updates.