I have never been to a McKinsey office, nor have I worked professionally with their consultants. Yet they are a phenomenally strong brand for me.
Their brand has been built entirely online over many years through consistent and extremely helpful content about the areas they consult in. I now have a high level of respect for them and fully understand their areas of strength.
One of the topics they cover is "Marketing and Sales" and they are sufficiently strong in this area that when I searched for "how much does mckinsey spend on digital marketing" (hoping to find some information about how much they invest) I had to go to the fourth page of results to find an article that was not authored by them.
This stands in stark contrast to many Professional Services and particularly Law firms, where literally millions are spent on luxurious offices to impress clients and woo talent, while their digital channels are frequently run by a small and under-resourced team that struggles to cover the wide range of services offered by the firm.
There must be a good ROI argument for the marvellous buildings that are ubiquitous across high-end advisories but these offices are now being visited less and less by clients so whatever that ROI was, it is less now.
As McKinsey have shown over many years, building a brand to become the "McKinsey of your space" can be done effectively with phenomenal ROI. However, it needs a clear plan, a sensible budget and an understanding that palatial offices are no longer the only way to attract new clients and talent.