ABA Law Practice Magazine "What Works" columns and LMA Best Of Show articles

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A dozen of Ross Fishman's case study-based "What Works" marketing columns from the ABA's Law Practice magazine, plus the LMA's "Best of Show" award book for International Lawyers Network (ILN) campaign

Transcript of ABA Law Practice Magazine "What Works" columns and LMA Best Of Show articles

  • Your Honor AwArds Best of Show 2008 Winners shoWcase
  • Best of Show: International Lawyers Network Art and artifice combine for Best of Show: International Lawyers Networks Multi-Media Campaign Getting 5,000 lawyers in 70 countries to pay attention to any- thing like an ad campaign defines the words ultimate challenge, according to Lmas Your honor judges. Yet that is just what this multi-media campaign delivered by the international Lawyers Network (iLN) set out to do. it has met with super Bowl success so far, and the judges have honored this program with Best of show for its boldly creative and deft approach. No newsprint ads, no direct mail, no press releases or inter- viewsthis campaign takes a radically different visual twist. With a goal to convince the 85% less-active lawyers in the international Lawyers Network to become active, the campaign needed a simple message with a stop-you-in-your-tracks visual to hook the target audience of bright, overworked and time- cramped lawyer members. and the budget was limited. We needed to grab them quickly with a powerful, unexpected image and tell our entire story within five seconds and get them to talk about it with their peers, according to iLN spokespeople. how to do it? the creators came up with ideas for life-sized, out-of-the-box designs made of sticky plastic that could be applied to a variety of surfaces without damage. these would be two-dimensional figures so large and theatrical they startled 2
  • the passer-by and made him or her stop, take note and tell someone else. the final selection of adhesive- backed images took shape as people of various nationalities and career modes, out-of-pro- portion and representative hats, and renderings of exotic travel destinations. these trompe loeil, or visual deceits, would be applied to bathroom mirrors, elevator doors, even interior walls of a building or law office. the hats, a representative sample of international headdresses, were applied to restroom mirrors and positioned high enough to fit the heads of the onlookers. the message, imagine you need a lawyer in (that representative country), gave clarity to the surprise, out-of-context reflection in the mirror. illusory people affixed to mir- rors smiled at bathroom visitors, reminding them that the iLN is always with you, worldwide. www.iLN.com. these sticky images resembled people from all over the world. there were more. a set of elevator doors cloaked in plastic sheeting adorned with words and images reminiscent of various countries (camels for egypt, for example) reminded the onlooker of his or her membership in international Lawyers and asian countries led to an excited discussion and far-reaching Network. mock, life-sized doorways, slightly ajar and leading to ideas about other applications for the products. exotic, mock locales, were affixed to various interior walls. the following meeting in Phoenix gained the same swell of initial approval was thunderous, nearly 100%. our first presen- enthusiasm complete buy-in by the group and a desire to tation was in istanbul, to the european regional meeting, said send the materials electronically to kick off the program. the groups representative. these lawyers are conservative; the campaigns entire budget was a fraction of a global print/ marketing is not something they have adopted as readily as U.s. media/ad undertaking of comparable scope: $20,000 took care firms have. the presentation to 50 attorneys from 35 european of interviews, research, creative development and production. 3
  • 4. mULtimeDia CamPaiGN First Place: Goldberg Simpson Movement, Agility Key to Campaign starting from a blank slate no marketing materials at all Goldberg simpson was challenged to create something that would establish it as not only a great firm but a standout. to compound the challenge there was little synergy within the 30-member firm, combining conventional business lawyers and tragic personal injury specialists; high-dollar divorces and high-volume house closings, international adoption specialists and front-page criminal attorneys. this seemingly mismatched Louisville outfit badly needed the cohesion of a brand. the firm took the bait. What resulted caught the eye of the Your honor judges who bestowed the first-place award for multi-media Campaign to Goldberg & simpson. an intense research phase identified key commonalities within the firm: energy, leadership, creativity and a type a business attitude. With that in mind, marketing products first developed included a new logo and tag line, a law firm that really moves. New ad materials and website images showed creativity and action men, animals, women running, jogging, riding ahead of the pack. Web copy reflected agility and a willingness to move: Clients tell us were different from those big, lumbering downtown law firms. We move. We dont bog down our clients business plans with process, procrastination and endless reconsidera- tion. We help our clients make timely decisions and then move swiftly to put those decisions into effect. SM in another unusual move, silhouettes of different athletic images -- e.g. horse racer, basketball player, runner were cut out of the firms new logo to demonstrate the firms deft and targeted approach. Distribution channels included more traditional - newspapers, A Law Firm that Really Moves.TM magazines, community sponsorships and more creative - manicures that featured logo-painted nails, floaty pens, and running-man billboards, unusual for a corporate law firm. the reaction and success were immediate. Within two weeks of launching stage one, the firm began receiving the type of resumes theyd targeted for firm membership. accomplishments were impressive on any scale, but especially with the allocated budget. the entire campaign, including message, creative work and production of logo and identity materials, billboard, pens, direct mailers, announcements, web site, ballet-related materials, etc. all were produced for less than $100,000. 18
  • LAW PRACTICE FrontLINES M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T T E C H N O LO GY F I N A N C E INTELLIGENCE, INSIGHTS & TACTICS FOR YOUR LAW PRACTICE W H A T R E A L LY W O R K S ? All the right moves. Not all firms can align their marketing with their practice areas. Some gallop to the fore by branding their culture and style instead. How? With a message that conveys their personality and impeccable execution. Floaty pens help, too. Lots and lots of floaty pens. Turn the page to learn the strategy behind Goldberg Simpsons aggressive and quirky campaign. INSIDE What Really Works 10 Trends 12 ABA TECHSHOW Q&A 16 Ask Bill 18 Strategy 19 LPM News & Events 20 January/February 2008 Law Practice 9
  • LAW PRACTICE FrontLINES What REALLY M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T T E C H N O LO GY F I N A N C E Branding a Firms Progressive Personality hen your firm and your lawyers W are creative and dynamic but the practice mix is fluid and BY ROSS FISHMAN eclectic, what value proposition do you sell? Your overall style and innovative approach is the keybut the message and execution must be consistent and thorough. WHO Goldberg Simpson, a 30-lawyer firm and estate matters, while defending in Louisville, KY. headline-grabbing criminal cases. Its like a restaurant that serves lobster and BACKGROUND Goldberg Simpson is a chicken nuggets and sushi and grits. midsize law firm by the standards of the The mix makes no logical senseuntil Louisville market. It competes aggressively you realize that the synergy is not with the citys large firmsalthough it between the practice areas, but the isnt really built along a traditional full- lawyers themselves. Theyre all hard- service model. This firm is more like a charging, Type-A personalities. In each collection of opportunistic boutiques: a area, they either lead the pack or they group of small, efficiently run, largely dont bother practicing there. independent practices brought together In addition, management views the under one roof by some dynamic leaders. firm as a business and, in professional Sure, the firm has the typical range of services, the best businesses have the business-oriented legal services, including best people. So Goldberg Simpson puts sophisticated corporate and litigation equal emphasis on attracting and retain- practices. But it also closes 3,000 residen- ing top professionals, which means a tial real estate deals per year; has an insur- strong focus on building a defined ance-defense practice down the hall from cultureand having fun. Theyre high- a catastrophic personal injury plaintiffs energy, but not high-strung. Loud- practice; and handles high-dollar divorces mouth jerks or raging egos are quickly and high-profile adoptions. It also shown the door. represents wealthy families in trust MARKETING GOALS The firm wanted a campaign to increase its visibility and name recognition, one that would differentiate it by conveying its strengths and thereby drive new busi- ness and improve lateral hiring. But how do you brand a firm as eclectic as this one? Clearly you cant focus on a specific practice areabut you can 10 January/February 2008 Law Practice WWW.LAWPRACTICE.ORG
  • Works M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T T E C H N O LO GY F I N A N C E LAW FIRM MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS market the culture and personality. horse or wearing race helmets by the while doing things that really move We wanted to show the business water-cooler. These ads are supported dribbling basketballs, tossing volley- community that Goldberg Simpson is by a series of running-lawyer billboards balls, carrying field hockey sticks, rid- a young, vibrant, very cool business along the main highways heading ing bicycles and more. Every time you firm, a smart choice for executives downtown, helping to promote the turn a corner at lunchtime, youll see seeking sophisticated services provided firms relocation to a hot suburban cor- another happy sports team dribble, in an agile, personal, cost-effective ridor with the giant caption We jump, hit, toss or play something. manner. For laterals, we wanted to moved so you wouldnt have to. showcase the firms unique culture so To have additional fun with the RESULTS We hadnt fully launched the that top lawyers feeling frustrated moves theme, we created floaty pens campaign before the results began to working in stuffy firms would see with the image of a running lawyer show. The local newspapers wrote a Goldberg Simpson as the alternative. that were so hot weve had to reorder. number of articles, and the firm attracted We wanted to convey the firms sense We changed the firms Web site to two more best-of-class partners who of excitement, that its admitted the ads and creative and progres- billboards brought the sivea firm on the firm to their attention move, where the most and persuaded them interesting and inno- to join. vative things are hap- Theres a palpable pening. excitement coursing The tag line to through the firm. convey the firms With Goldberg overall style and innovative, fast- show the smiling managing partner Simpson on the towns collective lips, paced approach became clear. running, while a small runner moves all the firms employees see how much Goldberg Simpson is: A law firm that in the corner. Interior pages repeat the greener the grass is here. Now that the really moves. horse and helmet ads, and retouched firm owns a clear theme, ongoing exe- headshots place the lawyers in front of cutions are easy and all the firms mem- IMPLEMENTATION We started by revising horse races and running tracks. bers are looking for new moves ideas. the firms bland logo to a bold and col- To further generate conversation, in One idea that was a natural for them orful one conveying the moves the summer we glued Goldberg was to become a primary sponsor of theme. And we also created an addi- Simpson logos to hollow cicada shells both the local triathlon and the tional half-dozen versions with that clung to downtown trees. It was a Moscow Ballets Louisville tourwe cutout silhouettes of things that rare once-every-17-years opportunity. even created a ballerina logo for the moveincluding racehorses, jet Having a moves theme offers the promotional materials, as well as print planes, arrows, motorcycles and even opportunity to further stir up the ad materials showing dancing lawyers. running lawyers. To create interest and campaign to create a splash that the High-quality resumes are pouring in, as reinforce the brand, every lawyers city will talk about. So to visibly and new people seek to jump on board the pack of business cards alternates with memorably connect the firm to speeding Goldberg Simpson train. LP different versions of the logo. movement, we are hiring small Ross Fishman (www.rossfishmanmarketing.com) We developed advertisements that, groups of high school sports teams to specializes in marketing training and creating among other images, showed a suited walk around downtown Louisville differentiation programs for law firms worldwide. lawyer as a smiling jockey on a race- wearing Goldberg Simpson T-shirts WWW.LAWPRACTICE.ORG January/February 2008 Law Practice 11
  • LAW PRACTICE FrontLINES What REALLY M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T T E C H N O LO GY F I N A N C E Narrowing Marketing Efforts to a Single Industry ndustry marketing is an effective way to I differentiate your services. Of course, by focusing on this level, you are mar- BY ROSS FISHMAN keting to a smaller audience. But by marketing more deeply, you develop the kind of close relationships that generate business more quickly. WHO Noland Hamerly Etienne & Hoss, a were deep in dirt. Moreover, no other 20-lawyer firm in Salinas, California firm had staked out the territory as the leading agriculture-oriented law firm STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE Noland Hamerly was in the area. a skilled but unremarkable full-service So instead of broad and shallow, we firm. It had never done any marketing, decided to go deep and narrow, develop- and now aggressive new competitors were ing a focused industry-based campaign moving into town. The firm wanted to targeting a specific audience: the Salinas develop more business by increasing its Valleys fruit and produce growers, ship- visibility as a high-quality business law pers and ranchers. Making Noland firm in its core geographic market, the Hamerly the go-to firm for them would Salinas Valley. To drive new revenue bring in significant new business. quickly, it needed something that would have an immediate impact. RESEARCH AND IMPLEMENTATION Our research showed that this community MARKETING GOALS A tight budget required one of the nations most vibrant agri- making some tough decisions about cultural areashas significant and var- allocating resources. Marketing broadly ied legal needs. Plus, an internal study to the business community as a high- found that it was already the firms quality full-service law firm would be a largest industry group, even though the costly and long-term processit was too firm had not actively marketed to it yet. general a message. This firm needed So we created The Lettuce something unique. Lawyers, a memorable, easy-to-spell Through the windows of the firms and alliterative title, to make it feel offices, mile after mile of rich farmland more like a tangible thing. Next we was visible. Green fields of broccoli, arti- bought both lettucelaw.com and chokes and lettuce stretched as far as you lettucelawyers.com to make it easy to could see. I asked whether they had any find the practice online. agriculture clients. Of course they did. Now we simply needed to use a range Every local firm did. It was the regions of tools to show the firms intimate con- dominant industry. And Noland nection with the industry. We started by Hamerly had a long history in that designing a unique logo and stationery industrymany of the firms founders for the ag practice, modifying the firms 8 December 2007 Law Practice
  • Works M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T T E C H N O LO GY F I N A N C E LAW FIRM MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS existing logo by morphing its tradition- distributed lettuce seed packets with What Do We Do? al ampersand into a green sprout. (See the new logo as business cards; and Ideas You Can Use page 8.) And for agriculture-specific created client giveaways, including Clients crave industry expertise, but its business cards, we developed a double- logod bib overalls. hard for them to findwhich means that if entendre Together We Grow tag line. The firms LettuceLaw.com you can develop expertise in an industry The core of the campaign was a col- micro-site boasts luscious images of and demonstrate that through your mar- lection of creative advertisements local landscapes, as well as the adver- keting, you can build significant business. showing the lawyers dressed in suits in tising imagery. In addition, even The goal is to become an industry though the agriculture practice was insider and know more about the industry than any other lawyer. So you need to get the primary marketing push, we active and visible, by regularly attending updated the general firm site with a industry meetings, writing for trade publi- complementary design. This was both cations, speaking at industry conferences, to showcase the firm as a high-end joining committees and working to provider and to show the lawyers who become a leader. Soon youll be recog- werent representing the agricultural nized in industry circles as the lawyer who sector that their marketing needs knows their business, their concerns, their were not being neglected. jargon. Its not only great marketing; it also makes you a better, more value-added RESULTS The broadcast marketing tac- lawyer. tics grew momentum and visibility, Select an industry where you have a supporting the lawyers face-to-face head start. Does your spouse have a job where you have an established network? activities as they focused in on local Do you have an outside interest that you agriculture trade groups and began can blend with your practice? Do you writing articles, speaking and net- have clients you enjoy who are in a small working. And when the ads launched industry? Where is there growth potential in the California trade magazines, or an area that is currently ignored or almost immediately clients and com- underserved by other law firms? American Gothic-style postage stamps petitors took significant notice. The Whatever you select, you should enjoy were one tool used to help position the buzz grew in the local agriculture the industry and the people who work in it firmand draw free publicity. community, and judges even men- because youre going to have to spend a tioned the ads in court. lot of time inside that industry. agriculture settingsas the American The entire campaign to lock the The more involved with it you become, Gothic farmers (a la the Grant Wood firm into a market-leader position the more you learn, and the more you learn, the more valuable you become. painting), casually parking their tractor has brought in new agriculture Once you get some traction, youll find in front of the firm, lifting NHE&H clients, while also delighting existing that prospects talk among themselves lettuce crates and the like. clients, who are sending the firm about your knowledge, leading to new We also created tools to encourage more business as a result. business and more referrals. the media to write about the firm, Ross Fishman (www.rossfishmanmarketing.com) Ross Fishman using free publicity to expand the specializes in marketing training and creating dif- ferentiation programs for law firms worldwide. A campaigns reach and credibility. For Fellow of the College of Law Practice example, we created firm-specific Management, he is an inaugural member of the American Gothic-style USPS stamps; Legal Marketing Association's Hall of Fame. December 2007 Law Practice 9
  • LAW PRACTICE FrontLINES M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T T E C H N O LO GY F I N A N C E INTELLIGENCE, INSIGHTS & TACTICS FOR YOUR LAW PRACTICE W H A T R E A L LY W O R K S ? WHAT WORKS? So you want to grow your firm by opening an office in a new state and city with an aggressive growth market where you have low name recognition. You need to recruit top local lawyersand you need to do it fast. Think extremely bold materials that will whack your market over the head. Lather, rinse, repeat. Turn the page to read What Really Works to learn how Carlton Fields cuts through the clutter in the Atlanta legal market. INSIDE FRONTLINES People & Places 10 Trends Report 12 Strategy 13 Ask Bill 14 LPM News and Events 16 July/August 2007 Law Practice 7
  • LAW PRACTICE FrontLINES What REALLY M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T T E C H N O LO GY F I N A N C E Recruiting in a New Market with Shock and Awe Tactics our campaign will be dead on Y arrival if what you need is imme- diate impact and try to a splash BY ROSS FISHMAN with a mediocre series of ads that trickle out one at a time. Solution: Front-load for massive visibility. WHO Carlton Fields, a 250-lawyer national and regional firms had also full-service firm. opened Atlanta offices recently, although BACKGROUND Established in 1901, most of them had limited, if any, local Carlton Fields is one of Floridas oldest name recognition either. The new firms law firms. It is also one of the states seemed similar, if not interchangeable, largest, with offices in Tampa, Orlando, and few of them were really fighting to Tallahassee, West Palm Beach, St. get noticed. Petersburg and Miami. It had called So although Atlanta was an aggressive itself The Florida Firm since 1992. legal market, the firm had an outstand- But when it developed a growth plan ing opportunity to one-up the other that including opening offices outside newcomersif it could leverage its rep- of the state, beginning with Atlanta, utation and quality-of-life ratings. Carlton Fields found that it had a MARKETING GOAL: Carlton Fields needed recruiting problem. significant name recognition among To comprise the ranks of its planned highly skilled Atlanta partner-level office, the firms aggressive lawyers within weeks. The project began growth goals targeted high- near the beginning of recruiting season. level partners at top Atlanta The objectives were to (1) inform the firms. The firm had signed a lateral targets of the firms dominance in lease for significant office the Florida market for credibility, and space that it needed to fill (2) showcase its friendly work environ- with top local lawyers quick- ment. And because Atlanta is such a ly. However, despite the fact large and saturated market, the cam- that Carlton Fields was a ter- paign materials needed to be extremely rific firm with high quality- bold to cut through the clutter. of-life scores in AmLaw sur- RESEARCH: We interviewed headhunters, veys, it was having trouble lawyers who had accepted or rejected the getting its headhunter calls firms job offers, prospects, consultants returned because of its low and other parties to pinpoint the mar- local name recognition. keting challenges and obstacles to suc- Initial research disclosed cess. The firm then conducted market that another problem was research to identify its competitors and that dozens of prominent learn more about the invasion of new 8 July/August 2007 Law Practice
  • Works M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T T E C H N O LO GY F I N A N C E LAW FIRM MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS out-of-state firms. one right after the other, multiplying What Do We Do? IMPLEMENTATION: We developed three the campaigns early impact. We negoti- Ideas You Can Use primary messages: (1) Credibility, (2) ated a good deal with the publication, Good campaigns will make you money, Work Environment and (3) Recruiting. and the shocking red color caused the but theyre costlywhich puts them in a We then created a four-ad series of ads to jump off the page. If you read the precarious position in a firms budget. humorous, colorful, eye-catching ads paper, you couldnt miss the ads. Not a For example, firms typically buy a 13x that used both visual stereotypes of chance. We reduced them in quantity advertising rate in monthly magazines, Florida (e.g., sunburns, beaches and and frequency after the first few weeks, which is the point of frequency where alligators) and connected the firms after the initial impact was achieved. the multiple-placement discount begins. roots with similarly iconic imagery that We also reprinted them as 8.5 x 11- Then the firms run their ads once each conveyed the concept of either lawyer inch glossy handouts and mailed them month, which seems perfectly logical. After three to four months, though, the or Atlanta (e.g., a giant Georgia peach directly to lateral prospects at select tar- bean counters who live in every firm will and the citys downtown). get firms. Therefore, the hottest targets start asking, What clients have these Firms often trickle out their cam- not only saw the campaign materials in ads generated? paigns evenly over a long period of print, but also saw them landing on In other words, Since the ads start- time, such as one ad each month for a their desks. ed running, how many CEOs we have year. Instead, we chose a shock-and-awe RESULTS: Anecdotal evidence indicated never had contact with have called our strategyfront-loading the advertising that the campaign attained massive visi- receptionists and said, I saw your ad placement, thereby overwhelming the bility in the Atlanta legal community. and would like to hire one of your attor- Atlanta legal market with the impact in Every Atlanta lawyer we surveyed neys, any attorney, to take my company the early weeks. remembered the ads and commented public? At less-sophisticated firms, if To reach the campaigns broad audi- approvingly on the content. Most you answer None, or I dont know, the ence, we decided that a single publica- importantly, they remembered the mes- consequence is that the campaign is then probably teetering on life support tion was the most appropriate advertis- sagethe name of the firm, its Florida dead, if not officially dead. ing vehiclespecifically because there roots, and that it was seeking laterals. Powerful, potentially effective pro- was a very well-read local legal publica- Research with local headhunters indi- grams often die young, before theyve tion, the Fulton County Daily Report. cated that the recognition problem was had a chance to succeed, and the Most of the target audience read this completely solved. The success rate of efforts and opportunity for greatness are publication and we had to hit those headhunter calls more than doubled, squandered. Once dead, the opportunity readers quickly with ads that caused and in-person recruiting success tripled. wont come back around for at least them to (1) take notice and (2) remem- And the entire campaign cost less than another five years, or at the next man- ber the firm name, the message and what half of one headhunter fee. agement turnover at the earliest. For it offered. We wanted to make a big The next year, the campaign ran campaigns to succeed in firms that do splash instantlyin case another com- again and we added another couple of not have lots of marketing experience, or petitor saw what we were doing and versions to the mix. have potentially short attention spans, you need to create a big buzz, fast. The decided to do it, too. Carlton Fieldss Atlanta office now best option is to market the heck out of DIFFERENTIATION: In the first weeks of the has 21 top-quality lawyers.LP it early and create a big buzz as soon as launch, we ran two or three half-page or possible, so people can feel the differ- two-third-page ads two or three days per Ross Fishman (www.rossfishman.com) specializes ence. Spend much of the money early week on consecutive odd-numbered in marketing training and creating differentiation and whack your market over the head pages near the front of the newspaper programs for law firms worldwide. A Fellow of the with your campaign. Ross Fishman College of Law Practice Management, he is an (e.g., pages 3, 5 and 7), so readers turn- inaugural member of the Legal Marketing ing the pages saw the ads in sequence, Association's Hall of Fame. July/August 2007 Law Practice 9
  • LAW PRACTICE FrontLINES What REALLY M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T T E C H N O LO GY F I N A N C E Distinctive Give-aways to Reinforce a Winning Message ost firms have lawyers who M are known for the stacks of unreturned message slips gather- BY ROSS FISHMAN ing dust on their secretaries desks. So if you return client calls faster than the rest, you have a real differentiator to promote. One great way to do it: Put something on the prospects desks that will keep you front of mind. WHO Laner Muchin, a 40-lawyer we developed a series of brochures, ad Chicago-based labor and campaigns and direct-mail pieces to employment firm exclusively repre- push the message to the firms market. senting management. We changed the firms logo to incorpo- STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE For decades, clients rate a stylized clock and conceived the have complained about their lawyers tag lineTwo hours. Period. lack of responsiveness. Nonetheless, We also wrote the Laner Muchin very few firms have actual policies Challenge, which created a first- regarding returning phone calls, and response competition with prospects those that exist weakly suggest that existing lawyers. It challenges people to client calls be returned within 24 leave a message for their lawyers, then hours. But the lawyers violate those call Laner Muchin to see who returns policies, and no one in management the call first. If the callers current does anything. Frustrated clients lawyer does, Laner Muchin loses, and quietly take their business so must donate $100 to the callers elsewhere. favorite charity and buy them lunch. Its a vastly different (Get it? For just $100 Laner Muchin story at Laner, gets to take some other firms presum- Muchin, Dombrow, ably dissatisfied client out to lunch.) Becker, Levin and The campaign had helped generate Tominberg, a labor millions of dollars of fresh revenue and employment firm from brand-new clients. But to contin- that was established in ue growing, the firm needed to push its 1945. In all the years of message to more new prospects. And its existence, the firms we needed something extra for the lawyers have returned second phase. phone calls within two hours. MARKETING GOAL In communicating with Yes, two hours. Remarkable. prospects, we wanted to show Laner This outstanding responsiveness Muchin as the alternative for other serves as the hub of a marketing cam- firms clients when they feel unappreci- paign that began two years ago, when ated by their skilled-but-unresponsive 8 September 2007 Law Practice
  • Works M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T T E C H N O LO GY F I N A N C E LAW FIRM MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS lawyers. The phase-two objectives were remaining stock. We prioritized our What Do We Do? to generate awareness and in-person top prospects and delivered the hour- Ideas You Can Use meetings with human resources VPs at glasses with a letter that invited them Conceiving a useful, creative give-away top Chicago companies, while also creat- to take the Laner Muchin Challenge. is difficult for law firms. There are only ing a casual, friendly reason to follow up DIFFERENTIATION In part, the campaign so many logo mugs, mouse pads, with them. We decided to do a give- letter asks prospects to turn the hour- pens, baseball caps, umbrellas, T-shirts away gift, to put a year-round reminder glass over; leave a message asking their and golf balls that clients can stand of the two-hour phone-response prom- current lawyer to return their call; and we hear that most of them get ise on top prospects desks. And so they leave the same message for one of tossed. Its even harder to find one that leverages the firms brand message. could reach the firm easily, we wanted Laner Muchins lawyers; then when But you are building your brand and the reminder to include contact infor- the hourglass runs out, turn it over awareness if you can create something mation, the firms clock logo and the tag again and see who has called back first interesting or useful that sits on the line of Two hours. Period. by the end of the second hour. Thus, clients desks and acts as a constant RESEARCH AND IMPLEMENTATION We the hourglass serves as a tangible tool reminder of the firm and what differenti- extensively surveyed the existing to implement the challenge. ates it from its competitors. research and studies and talked to At the same time, sitting on the For example, Chicagos Levenfeld clients and in-house counsel regarding prospects desk it acts as a daily Pearlstein cleverly sent small logod what service issues were most impor- reminder of the firmand its position racecars when marketing its Built for tant to them. This verified our belief as the alternative when youre frustrated Speed campaign. that responsiveness remains among the that your existing employment lawyer Three-lawyer Scandaglia & Ryan attributes most valued in lawyers. doesnt call back quickly enough. mailed a popular Ty Inc. Beanie Baby bear as part of a mailing announcing Elsewhere, responsiveness was declared RESULTS The reaction to the mailings the hire of Tys former general counsel. the most important thing a firm can do has been overwhelming, with a 50 to In lieu of business cards, 20-lawyer to improve its client relationships, apart 60 percent response rate! (You simply Noland, Hamerly, Etienne and Hoss from reducing cost. We elected to grab have to call when you receive this sig- distributed logod seed packets as responsiveness as our differentiator, nificant, expensive-looking hourglass.) part of the marketing of its agricultural to accompany the firms tag line. In initial tests, 25 to 30 percent of the law-focused Lettuce Lawyers After a visibility-enhancing ad cam- hourglasses sent to non-client campaign. paign, we wanted to focus the next step prospects led directly to in-person The point is, narrowly toward our 100 hottest meetingsand 25 to 30 percent more you dont want prospects. For months, we looked for generated phone calls from the recipi- to settle for the an appropriate mailer to spread the ents, many of which have requested same old thing as two-hour response message and cause more information about the firm. The everyone else. Push your more of them to take The Laner mailings also give Laner Muchin a marketing Muchin Challenge. We looked at reason to follow up with recipients people and countless promotional stopwatches and who have not communicated directly promotion- other items, finally finding a striking, with the firm. al compa- foot-tall, hand-blown hourglass. At $50 All from a $12 hourglass. LP ny to con- each, however, they were outside our Ross Fishman (www.rossfishman.com) specializes ceive of some- budget. Then research uncovered a in marketing training and creating differentiation thing different. programs for law firms worldwide. A Fellow of the closeout retailer offering the hour- College of Law Practice Management, he is an Ross Fishman glasses at just $12 a piece. We went inaugural member of the Legal Marketing store-to-store to buy their entire Association's Hall of Fame. September 2007 Law Practice 9
  • LAW PRACTICE FrontLINES M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T T E C H N O LO GY F I N A N C E INTELLIGENCE, INSIGHTS & TACTICS FOR YOUR LAW PRACTICE W H A T R E A L LY W O R K S ? What works? Too many firms rely on safe, bland marketing and wonder why it fails. Boring marketing takes forever to gain traction. Wildly innovative mes- sages, visuals and activities get attention more quickly, at a much lower cost. Of course, its also harder to persuade lawyers to try those things. What happens when a firm does break out and tries something new? Turn the page for our new column, What Really Works, and get the story behind Shefsky & Froelichs full-service identity makeover. INSIDE FRONTLINES Trends Report 12 Benchmark 13 Ask Bill 14 Strategy 15 LPM News and Events 16 June 2007 Law Practice 7
  • LAW PRACTICE FrontLINES What REALLY M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T T E C H N O LO GY F I N A N C E Identity Update for a Full-Service Firm ou cant differentiate full-service, Y midsize law firms. They all look alike. They all do the same thing, the BY ROSS FISHMAN same way. Heck, half of their lawyers used to work for competitors, so all their marketing gets muddled into the middle. Unless Shefsky & Froelich: Putting had increased significantly and an Imagination to Work impressive group of new senior part- WHO Shefsky & Froelich, a 70-lawyer ners had enhanced the firms practice full-service Chicago firm. and reputation. The clients were now larger, more-sophisticated companies. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE Shefsky & Froelich The firms charismatic founders had historically had a reputation as a busi- developed great individual relation- ness-oriented firm representing small, ships and so hadnt invested in market- entrepreneurial clients. In recent years, ing the general firm. More recent rain- though, the firm had gone upscale in its makers were individually renowned client base and its senior partners. The and so the marketplace was not aware percentage of large, institutional clients of the firms current composition. The firm was not well-known, and those who knew of it had a decade-old view. It was losing work to less-skilled but better-known firms. Good clients were telling the lawyers that they couldn't hire them for larger matters because the firm wasnt high-profile enough. We needed to do something that caused the marketplace to view S&F differently, to leverage its historically creative reputation, but in a way that moved the firm up a tier in perception. We needed a new identity, a new message, and a visual treatment that supported it. The challenge with full-service firms Caption text here is how to distinguish them from the describing imagery countless other seemingly skilled, look- usedCaption text here describing Caption text alike firms. We're smart isn't differen- here describing imagery tiating. Neither are claims that the firm usedimagery used 8 June 2007 Law Practice
  • Works M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T T E C H N O LO GY F I N A N C E LAW FIRM MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS is skilled, service- or client-oriented, IMPLEMENTATION One word that came up dedicated, ethical, excellent or any of repeatedly during the interviews was the countless generic platitudes firms imagination. It was how S&F lawyers mumble when they have nothing to say. develop new solutions to tough prob- How often do we hear clients plead, lems. Imagination is a strong word. It Gosh, if only I could find an ethical, says creativity in a more interesting dedicated law firm? Not very. way, and it was a word we could own. We needed something strong, fresh and unique. And with a limited DIFFERENTIATION We trashed the original budget, we needed to do it boldly skyline-burdened Web site and created enough that people would quickly take ImaginationLaw.com. Bell-bottoms notice. This meant a complete image were in style when their logo was overhaul, from logo to Web site to designed, so it needed to be refreshed, What Do We Do? brochure. Boring marketing takes for- and we conceived Imagination at Ideas You Can Use ever to gain traction. Wildly innovative Work as the tagline. Just before we Conceiving a unique message is hard. messages, visuals and activities get launched, General Electric began using Executing it creatively is even harder. attention more quickly, at a much lower it! There was no real risk of confusion, Convincing lawyers to let you launch it is the cost. Of course, its also harder to per- but marketing partner Allan Slagel still hardest part. Long ago, Id storm into a suade the lawyers to try those things. preferred to use our second choice, lawyers office with an idea that was guaran- Putting Imagination to Work. teed to make the firm rich and famous. And MARKETING GOAL The audience was both they'd recoil in horror. It was so obviously a internal and external. We needed to RESULTS It gave them a message to go brilliant idea, why didnt they see that? Why show the lawyers how they were to market with. Theres a new spring do law marketers routinely complain that unique and also explain it to in the lawyers steps, and the firm is their lawyers get in the way? Heres what Ive learned. Lawyers are prospects. Volvos are safe. Baker & growing and attracting more top smart, but most havent had marketing class- McKenzie is global. My wife is fun. lawyers and clients. Administrator es. So if you want to try something new, What word could this firm stand for? Georganne Binnie was integral to the educate them first, before showing them the re-branding and talks with pride idea. Springing powerful new ideas on a RESEARCH AND PLANNING We interviewed about how the cool new image has lawyer is the easiest way to hear no. (They nearly the entire firm, listening for improved the firms recruiting, too. were expecting gavels and globes and you themes. We gleaned that S&F lawyers Clients love it, and other Chicago showed them this?) have a unique focus on finding nontra- firms admit to borrowing the Web site Teach the difference between good and ditional solutions to clients problems. design. It differentiates the firm in bad, between safe and effective, between Theyd always been this way. Cid head-to-head competitions and helped dull and powerful. Help them see what catch- Froelich recalls the early dayswith bring in a multi-million-dollar case in a es their eyes and what doesnt. And then few clients but plenty of timesitting national RFP. This marketing thingit show examples of the extraordinary market- around thinking up brand-new solu- just might catch on. LP ing used by high-end firms. Once you have tions to tough problems. After they Ross Fishman (www.rossfishman.com) specializes in prepared them to accept great work, make developed a solution to some interest- marketing training and creating differentiation pro- your recommendations. Thats what works. grams for law firms worldwide. A Fellow of the ing problem, theyd figure out who College of Law Practice Management, he is an inau- The safe answer is always no. The hard- they knew who had that problem, gural member of the Legal Marketing Association's er answer is, Okay, let's try it. then call and tell them what theyd Hall of Fame. If a brilliant idea is rejected by smart peo- discovered, and often get hired. Clever. ple, it wasnt sold effectively. Ross Fishman