Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills
Building a showcase

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) is a leading global law firm that’s on a mission to become a sort after Professional Services organisation. One whose advisors are invited into the boardroom to support their clients in overcoming key business challenges and the achievement of their goals.

The Objective

To do that the firm needed to move away from its legal comfort zone and demonstrate leadership in the business issues that mattered most to the C-Suite.

“HSF is known as a disputes powerhouse, but we also have an incredible transactional practise and sector focus. We wanted to showcase our experience and expertise in these areas to our global client base, and the market in general, to communicate the value of our full suite of services,” said Laura Cutler, HSF’s Head of Marketing for the UK, USA & EMEA.

The Challenge

Despite having pioneered the infrastructure sector over three decades working on some of the most high- profile projects across the globe including HS1, the HSF brand did not enjoy the industry or market recognition it deserved.

“Our company has 30 years of experience working in infrastructure and in many ways has helped to spearhead the sector. I felt that telling these incredible stories was the key to creating the impact we needed,” said Laura.

In addition, Laura had been invited to speak at the Global Infrastructure Leadership Conference to gain the buy-in needed to expand its issue driven content campaigning.

The business had made headway in the UK, where an initiative to produce issue-driven thought leadership content was delivering new business opportunities.

“We wanted to replicate the success of our content campaigning across our global business and knew from the experience in the UK that we’d need to inspire and excite our people, while at the same time giving them the confidence to get involved,” said Laura.

The Solution

The brief was twofold:

  • Create an online brand experience that would enable HSF to showcase three decades worth of expertise pioneering the infrastructure industry.
  • Support the expansion of the content campaigning and enable HSF’s regional offices to reap the rewards the approach had produced in the UK and Australia.

“I was clear I didn’t want a creative agency that was experienced in law. I was looking for someone who could bring a fresh perspective. I chose Laura Bent and the Well & Truly team because I felt they had a lot of value to bring from the consumer sphere. I was not disappointed,” said Laura

The result was the creation of an interactive online presence that could be used at meetings and conferences to guide people through the company’s case studies. Touch functionality created an immersive experience, which offered a real market differentiator.

“Well & Truly is always challenging me which I really like. I know I’m the client, but I don’t have all the answers. The touchscreen microsite was a stroke of genius. At conferences we’ve had people queuing to come and look at the interactive screen,” said Laura.

The second key element was a brand film that would bring the HSF story to life. Looking outside the world of professional services for inspiration, it was a Pharell Williams music video that inspired the visual direction.

“I had a vision for what I wanted to present and the kind of imagery I wanted to use. Laura felt we could go bigger and could show me what was possible. The way her team produced their content showreel, the energy, the pace, the music, really drew me in and I saw my vision come to life in the best way possible,” said Laura.

Not possessing a Hollywood budget, Well & Truly needed to work with stock video footage and photography. Undaunted they produced a slick, dynamic film to promote and bring to life HSF’s core expertise for delivering infrastructure for tomorrow’s world.

“The creative process was very collaborative. Well & Truly created a safe space in which to develop and challenge ideas. They would come to the table with a concept and together we’d optimise it for the business,” said Laura.

The Results

The online microsite and film have been a huge success building brand awareness and creating the buy-in, energy and trust needed to inspire HSF’s global stakeholders to join the Thought Leadership initiative.

Results include:

  • The company has seen positive momentum in its position on the Acritas brand awareness and favourability matrix
  • Content is consistently created across HSF’s global footprint
  • Regional businesses proactivity come to Marketing to get involved
  • The initiative has expanded from two campaigns to 20
  • Deal flow has increased as a direct result of the thought leadership driven activities

“This is a special company and one I genuinely love working for. I want it to enjoy the success it deserves and seeing our work deliver the results it has means a lot. Perhaps one of the best moments was when the CEO said to me, ‘The market’s listening. They know who we are,’” said Laura.

What's next

The company is now looking to build a compelling, magazine-like content experience on its website. One that visitors can easily navigate, find the market insights they are looking for and enable HSF to respond to changes in the market’s priorities.

Well & Truly has been brought in to design both the website experience and ensure that the right content is served at the right time, to the right people.

“I don’t have time to do this myself and need someone I can trust. When I bring Well & Truly in, I know it will get done. I know we’re on the same page and that it will get done to the same standard as if I was doing it,” said Laura.


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