for marketing your law firm
Moiré Marketing Partners is a strategic branding and design communications agency that specializes in law firms and the legal industry. To build great brands, we isolate what’s unique about your law firm and pinpoint why that matters to your clients. We invest in you and your success by immersing ourselves in who you are, what you do and how you do it. And our years of experience branding law firms, creating logos and identity suites, designing and developing websites, and producing top quality print collateral, means that we know how to uncover and give clarity to the intangible value of your services. All articles are copyright of Moiré Marketing Partners LLC.
for marketing your law firm
2 Smart Marketing In The New Year
3 CASE STUDY: Lewis Brisbois 4 Why Do We Need A Microsite?
CASE STUDY: Freeborn & Peters
Learn From Consumer Branding
7 CASE STUDY: Glaser Weil 8 Avoiding Bad Marketing Investments
TABLE OF CONTENTS 9 CASE STUDY: Kobre & Kim 10 Help, I Need An Effective Web Strategy!
11 CASE STUDY: Stein Sperling
Your Logo Is Not Your Brand
13 CASE STUDY: AALRR 14 Bios: What’s Important To Your Clients 15 CASE STUDY: Hausfeld 16 Put Some Poetry In Your Marketing
What is a Microsite?
Generally regarded as recession-proof, the legal industry has been less affected than many others but still impacted by the recent period of economic instability affecting the U.S. economy, as well as the global economy.
Some may question “Why do we need a microsite, isn’t our website enough?” While others may ask “What is a microsite anyway?”
Like your finances, your firm’s marketing efforts should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that your short- and longterm plans are in order.
Your firm’s website is the lynchpin on which all of your other mar/ com efforts rest, it’s your “first impression”, your opportunity to communicate with targeted clients.
Smart Marketing In The New Year
enerally regarded as recessionproof, the legal industry has been less affected than many others but still impacted by the recent period of economic instability affecting the U.S. economy, as well as the global economy. Marketing your law firm in this year, you will have to market smarter and make strategic investments to meet your firm’s goals. A survey by Avvo and LexBlog indicates whether it is online, offline, or both – attorneys are seeing more value in marketing initiatives with 81 percent planning to spend the same or more on marketing. This trend demonstrates that firms are searching for optimal ways to encourage practice growth. Rather than simply cutting marketing budgets and reducing spending, firms are staying the course and focusing on establishing the building blocks of practice growth success. While marketing dollars are not the same as they were five years ago, this survey provides evidence that professional service firms’ marketing spending is on the upswing. Now that last year’s marketing budgets are being implemented, how can law firms make a positive impact, be competitive and actually grow their business in the new year and beyond?
There was a time when costs were not closely monitored and available dollars seemed to be growing on trees in the back office of many firms. However, as many firms look to be smarter with their marketing spend, savvy firms are thinking strategically and developing plans that incorporate tactics to work in concert to achieve their business objectives. Completing a marketing plan to simply check the box and put it aside until it is time to dig it out, dust it off and update for the next year is not an effective way to properly manage your group or the success of the firm. You must think strategically to compete. The first step in developing a strategic marketing plan is to review how well your past marketing efforts have performed. A marketing audit can help you evaluate your marketing activities and determine which are producing results. If you haven’t used
metrics to evaluate your marketing, you’ll want to identify objectives and measurements of success for the year ahead. Keep in mind that a marketing plan is a living, breathing document that regularly needs to be revisited and updated throughout the year. It is important to track trends, challenges and opportunities within the industry and to gage how they affect your marketing goals so that you may recalibrate your plan as needed.
Everyone in the firm should think of marketing as an investment, not only the marketing team. Marketing is one key to developing and sustaining a strong brand. Regardless of whether you are a partner, business developer or part of the IT group, marketing plays an important role and is relevant to all functions – giving us all the responsibility of being brand ambassadors. Arming your attorneys and staff with key messages on the value the firm offers will help them when they are out of the office visiting with clients, prospects or attending industry events, and thus create
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a brand ambassador culture. In doing so you are conveying to everyone at the firm that they are entrusted in the firm’s success. All of your firm’s employees, regardless of their position, should be empowered and encouraged to be brand ambassadors – so they can act as effective spokespeople for your firm. The brand ambassador approach helps raise awareness for the firm and its services, creates a culture of strategic involvement and helps to develop a strong brand image that is recognized and respected.
Professional services firms, like most businesses, are always looking for new tools that can help them market themselves. Even though the legal industry has been somewhat resistant to online marketing social media is being more widely adopted. Now firms of all sizes are utilizing platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, among others. When evaluating social media, consider how it will fit within your current marketing strategy. You can use it to:
• leverage thought leadership and position your firm as forward thinking; • create conversations with your audience and marketplace; • help drive traffic to your firm’s website and increase SEO rankings; • and build awareness of your corporate brand. Most importantly, firms need to determine whether or not they’ll find their clients and prospects online. If your clients and prospects are using social media, you should be too. Once this strategy is launched, it is important to stay engaged, listen and contribute to conversations to provide added value.
Client Service Programs
To build strong relationships with clients, it is important to connect with them on a regular basis. The opportunity to build trust, create dialogue and foster meaningful relationships is vital to the success of your firm and your brand. Think of yourself as a business advisor or partner to your clients and deliver the message that you care about their success while you execute on those key messages. When connecting with clients and prospects, every firm should have a formal client service program in place. This can help you measure certain intangibles such as client happiness and satisfaction, as well as gaining valuable insights that will help
you gage how individual engagements are going and identify opportunities to grow business relationships. Investing time in client relationships is of vital importance as it has been widely established that it’s much easier to keep an existing client than it is to land a new one. Remember, if you’re not continually finding new ways to reach your audience, you’re likely to be bypassed by the competition. Strategic marketing plans, brand ambassadors, social media and a strong client service program can all help your firm stay competitive while growing your practice areas and developing a strong, relevant brand for success in the new year and beyond.
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith Lewis Brisbois is a national, full-service law firm with over 900 attorneys and 30 offices in 16 states and the District of Columbia. Known for its commitment to principled advocacy, Lewis Brisbois is taking the necessary time to understand its clients’ business interests and philosophies. Moiré was asked to first design a robust intranet for the firm to help it manage its accelerated growth. We developed a custom intranet to better fulfill the various operational needs of the firm, from human resources and marketing to accounting. The firm’s new intranet served as the basis for the new website also designed by Moire, using sophisticated technology that integrates the content management system for both the firm’s intranet and public website. The public site was designed bearing in mind the many challenges faced by large law firms with multiple offices in various jurisdictions and the compliance rules of many state bars.
We Already Have A Website, So Why Do We Need A Microsite?
or those of us who travel in marketing circles, lately there is increasing buzz about adding microsites to integrated marketing and communications campaigns. Some may question “Why do we need a microsite, isn’t our website enough?” While others may ask “What is a microsite anyway?” Microsites, also known as minisites, are separate pages of your website that have their own independent URL. Microsites are typically used for a specific purpose or promotion. They are usually temporary sites and removed from the main site after the information/ promotion has expired.
What Exactly is a Microsite?
One of the primary differences between a microsite and a static landing page on your website is that a microsite typically has it’s own theme or brand message, for example your law firm has its main website that provides broad information about your firm, your attorneys, your practice areas, etc. but for your upcoming holiday party you want a specific site that is branded in a holiday theme, rather than the firm’s corporate brand. You not only want to promote the date and location of the party, you want the site’s functionality to allow guests to RSVP for the event and conveniently look up directions to the party from anywhere they may be traveling from. You also want the microsite to feature information about the great community service projects your firm is participating in this holiday season, and after the party you want to allow guests to post pictures of the festivities to the site. Microsites not only promote events, the may also be created in order to carry topicspecific, keyword-rich content with the goal of having search engines rank them highly when search engine users seek related content topics, for example when new business legislation passes that will affect your firm’s business clients, you may consider setting up a microsite that features common questions about the new law or post thought leadership articles that addresses how the new legislation may affect small business owners, etc. You may drive traffic to the microsite using Pay-per-click (PPC)
advertising and you can monitor traffic to the microsite to measure the level of interest in that specific topic.
Microsites for Lead Generation and SEO
Your firm’s website is an excellent vehicle for promoting practice areas, attorneys, and key successes that bolster the firm’s reputation but if you’re interested in utilizing the web for lead generation, microsites are a better choice. For example: Your firm’s primary website communicates broadly on most aspects of your firm and visitors to your site usually come there for specific information. They may explore the site a bit, but not necessarily, so they’ll only access a limited amount of the useful information that can be found on your site. And just because someone visits your site it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re able to collect any information about them, nor do you have a way to ensure that they return. On the other hand, a microsite has few constraints. Because a microsite focuses on specific, specialized content it may be promoted in a much more targeted way than your primary site, and to a highly defined audience — therefore driving leads through participation, interaction, and conversion rates. Microsites provide SEO advantages
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because as your building your microsite you can establish a highly targeted domain name and keywords so that it moves up quickly in search engine rankings — without being bogged down by the search terms or SEO strategies dictated by your firm’s primary website. Microsites also provide greater ease in measuring results because you can establish entirely separate analytics — so you can see what’s working and what isn’t, without having to wade through a lot of irrelevant data. The key, of course, is to use your firm’s primary website and microsites for the purposes to which they’re best suited.
Using Microsites to Aggregate Social Media Campaigns
Managing all of your firm’s social media can be a challenge, to say the least. There are tools out there, such as Hootsuite, which can help get your message out through all of your various channels but figuring out where visitors finally land and what they do when they get there can still be a mystery. Strategic and well positioned microsites can be a cost effective way to aggregate social media campaigns in ways your primary website can’t. Social media campaigns are excellent for reaching various communities but these audiences are often very fragmented and
Freeborn & Peters the standardized formats of social media tools limit your flexibility in presenting your message. A 140-character tweet typically can’t be visually appealing and adding an image to a LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ post isn’t exactly engaging design.
Freeborn & Peters is a Chicago-based law firm with more
How do microsites help overcome some of these limitations? 1. A highly targeted microsite gives you more control over your campaign’s brand message and you can drive all external traffic for your call-to-action to a single-theme. 2. A microsite allows you to add missing details to the limited messages in a 140-character tweet or in a couple of sentences in a social media post. 3. A microsite is a flexible and engaging tool that can focus on a specific topic and drive higher levels of response, engagement and lead generation — without requiring IT involvement or major changes to your firm’s primary website.
reflects Freeborn’s industry teams, specialized resources
than 250 professional and its refocused brand, redesigned website and new tagline “Your Future Is our Purpose” shows how they differentiate themselves from other law firms through their focus on Core Values. The new website and client focus. Freeborn’s new brand included: a new name, logo and tagline, culminating in the launch of the firm’s new website, style guide, stationery suite, new content management system (CMS) and marketing collateral.
You will still have to create compelling teaser copy tailored to each of your social media platforms but when your audience reaches your microsite it’s a lot easier to drive increased social media shares and engagement.
Microsites can Help you Achieve Big Goals
So why do you need a microsite in addition to your firm’s primary site? Here are a few reasons to consider using microsites: • Launch new practice areas or services • Communicate firm news, specifically related to timely public interest items • Educate about firm initiatives • Target new, niche markets • Promote branded events • Aggregate multiple social media platforms • Build awareness Even though they are called microsites, these versions of a website can have major impact for your firm, by promoting topic specific content, improving your SEO, and generating new and qualified leads, among many other benefits. www.moiremarketing.com
What Legal Marketers Can Learn From Consumer Branding
hen holidays are around the corner, consumer marketers rev up their collective engines in the race for our dollars. And while the onslaught of advertising may be so deafening and intrusive that most of us will seek to avoid it, legal marketers should pay some attention. There are a number of things that we as marketers could learn some from the consumer side as we prepare our marketing plans for the coming year. Consumer branding and marketing places emphasis on the emotional aspects of a purchase based on a product’s status or the target’s personal aspirations. Branding and marketing professional services, on the other hand, leverages rational buying decisions based on business values and objectives. The problem for law firms lies in that most seek lifetime relationships with both business and private clients, which means they often find themselves straddling the line between two traditionally different target audiences. Logic and rational decisions prevail over emotion in much of legal marketing, but often at the price of not connecting with the law firm’s target audience. Yes, legal branding and consumer branding exist in separate universes in regard to marketing tactics, audiences and objectives. Nevertheless, there are still principles used in marketing to consumers that legal marketers would do well to emulate—particularly when it comes to connecting with a target audience.
Engage Your Audience
The great adman David Ogilvy once said, “You cannot bore people into buying your product.” Unfortunately, far too many law firms seem to be trying to do just that with their marketing efforts. To be fair, none of these firms are deliberately trying to be boring. Their messages are serious and reflect their knowledge of the practices and industries they serve. They want to be trusted advisors and partners, after all, so their messaging is communicated in the language of the courtroom and the boardroom. The problem is, marketing is not a boardroom presentation or an argument presented
in court. It’s speed dating— especially in the age of the Internet and social media. And faster than you can say, “We provide our clients with objective legal counsel and solutions to help them better manage their business objectives across a broad range of industries,” your audience will have moved on to more interesting pastures. So, how can legal marketing be more interesting and engaging? We often tell our law firm clients to imagine they’re talking to someone at a cocktail party. Would they tell that person what their firm does in the same way they would in an office setting? Most would not (except, perhaps, for tax attorneys). In such a situation, it’s more likely that they would strive to be urbane, yet approachable. And they would draw someone in by asking that person to talk about themselves. “Engaging the customer,” as it’s called in consumer marketing.
It’s funny how many law firm clients refer to iconic consumer brands when it comes to creating a logo, tagline and theme for them. “I want something our audience can recognize as uniquely us, something they can relate to, like the Nike swoosh and ‘Just do it.’” Yet what do they often end up choosing? “Delivering Legal Solutions,” or something along those lines. Delivering solutions, producing results and commitment to client goals—these are the “ante” into the game that every law firm possesses. Which means that basing your brand message on those principles won’t exactly make you memorable. The best brands are memorable because they connect with the audience—sometimes on an emotional level, sometimes on a logical level, most often a combination of the two. Part of it is the “poetry” of the words and the design. But mostly it’s because the message creates a personality for the company or product that causes the audience to nod their heads and say, “Yes, I’m exactly like that.” The audience relates to the personality that the brand projects. Law firms can achieve the same reaction from their audience by building their message on the philosophy or approach
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of the firm. Don’t start off by telling the audience what you deliver or solve. Start by saying what you’re about. Let the foundation of your brand message be about your firm’s philosophy, which most likely resonates with your target audiences’ beliefs, and it will stand out from those who simply talk about themselves and all the solutions they deliver. Remember, it’s about the client’s needs and not what you can do—which, unfortunately for you and your firm, a myriad of other firms can do as well.
Keep It Simple
What makes consumer brands so memorable is that they stand for one thing. Volvo and Michelin promote safety. Campell’s soup is about comfort food. Apple is about user-friendly design. In contrast, many law firms try to say too much in their marketing. They try to solve too many problems for too many people, instead of focusing on one or two messages about what they do really well. This is especially true when it comes to their websites. Instead of trying to cram everything onto your homepage, focus on a few important messages. No one likes to read that much, anyway.
Embrace The New
Consumer brands excel at this. They’re always looking for the next new marketing vehicle to help them reach their target audiences. They were among the first to jump into the Internet, social media and mobile applications. Professional services firms, however, have slowly dipped their toes into those waters. For instance, while almost every law firm now has a website, they have been relatively slow to jump into social media and mobile marketing. Granted, consumer marketers use social media primarily as a means to generate sales. For law firms, however, the objectives are different. Social media offers a way for them to stay in touch with alumni and, even more important, attract lateral recruits and staff to their firm. It also provides a forum for lawyer-to-lawyer discussions, many with in-house counsel participants, that can reinforce the human element of a firm’s
position on a business or legal topic and drive engagement. Admittedly, not every new marketing tactic will be applicable to the legal industry. However, with so many law firms proclaiming themselves to be innovative and up-to-date on the industries and practices they serve, it should also be reflected in their marketing as well as marketing tactics.
Both consumer and legal marketers strive to build customer/client loyalty. We all know that it costs more to acquire new clients than to retain the ones you already have, so establishing and maintaining good relationships with existing clients is just as important (if not more so). In the consumer arena, loyalty is often rewarded with special pricing and discounts, rewards programs and promotions. Loyalty is about keeping customers and selling more
to them. In the legal arena, loyalty is solely about building and keeping clients through a high-level of service and performance. Beyond being attentive to client needs, delivering on promises, providing positive outcomes for clients and offering greater predictability in terms of costs, there are a few other ways law firms can create a loyal base: • Webinars and presentations. To demonstrate your industry expertise and thought leadership, consider hosting client-only webinars or presentations wherein senior executives learn about the latest legal developments or strategies affecting their industries. • Sponsor industry and community events. Invest loyalty where it’s been invested in you. That means becoming more involved by dedicating time and money into the industries and communities that your clients are in.
• Provide a client feedback loop. There is always room for improvement. Learn what your clients’ expectations are for any given case and act on them. Continue to gain client feedback throughout various phases of the relationship to determine where your firm excels or falls short. Not only does client feedback help elevate your levels of performance and service, it lets clients know you care about their opinions. While consumer marketers are facing many challenges of their own, they’ve at least had many years to research and develop a good understanding of consumer marketing and branding principles. Legal marketers can create more impactful and effective marketing and communications campaigns by adopting just a few of the practices of consumer marketers without fear of diluting their brands.
Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro A Powerhouse Law Firm – It’s a big claim, but Glaser Weil has a reputation for getting big things done. Based in Los Angeles, California, Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro is one of the country’s premier full-service law firms. Moiré’s brand strategists spoke with key stakeholders, partners, employees and clients, investigated the firm’s competitors and researched markets. Glaser Weil’s reputation as a highly regarded litigation firm with renowned attorneys representing influential clientele, needed to be front and center in their brand. Moiré created a new name, logo, tagline, and stationery suite for the firm. Culminating the project with the launch of the firm’s new website, built with Moiré’s, non-proprietary CMS - LawEngine – and its companion mobile website.
Avoiding Bad Marketing Investments
ike your finances, your firm’s marketing efforts should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that your short- and long-term plans are in order. A marketing audit is a type of review that examines both your internal and external marketing strategies to make sure that your firm is ready to meet your business goals. A marketing department’s role is varied: from increasing your visibility and improving your brand awareness to supporting your sales efforts and building meaningful client relationships. A marketing audit will help you and your team stay focused and honest with the marketing strategies you set forth to accomplish your business goals.
What is a Marketing Audit?
A marketing audit is a comprehensive review of a company’s marketing capabilities. Specifically, it examines the goals, objectives and strategies of the marketing function and the tactics implemented. The marketing audit identifies operational strengths and weaknesses, and recommends changes to the company’s current and proposed marketing activities based on research that is done internally or by an external consultant. For instance, as marketing budgets continue to be reduced, you may need to take a closer look at your tactics and determine which ones are producing the results you seek and focus your efforts in those areas. This is your return on objectives — goals and objectives established upfront that are both designed to produce desired outcomes and can be measured for success. In addition, a marketing audit should include a competitive analysis to review competitors’ marketing programs, their websites, advertising and messaging. This will help benchmark your current position and external communication programs against what your competitors are and aren’t doing.
Questions to Consider
There are many questions to be asked and answered when undertaking a marketing audit. Below are questions we at Moiré Marketing Partners believe are essential in
evaluating the strength of your marketing plan and what opportunities there are for improvements.
Market • • • •
What/where are your major market(s)? Is the market segmented? What are the current market trends? Are there new competitors in these markets? • What are the principal drivers that influence these markets? • What influences the market’s perception of your firm?
• How does your audience describe your key attributes? • What do your clients believe your brand promise is? • How often does your target audience visit your Website? • Is your message concise throughout your brand? • Is your audience engaging in conversation with you? • How often do you meet face to face with clients and prospects? • Are you often asked to speak at industry events or shows?
• What are your firm’s long- and short-term objectives? • What do you believe to be your biggest strength? • What are the brand drivers?
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• What are the key attributes and characteristics? • What is the brand message? • What is your public relations plan?
• What do you believe to be your biggest weakness? • Any there trends within the competition? • What are your competitors doing better? • What is the perception of your competitors by your clients? • What clients do your competitors have that you want? • Do you have a niche you can exploit?
Measuring Your Marketing
Once you have gathered all the information from your audit questions, you are ready to analyze and determine the best marketing direction and tactics for your firm. It is essential to build into your process a report card or measurement instruments to assess the effectiveness and value of your marketing tactics. Without measuring your marketing, how do you know you are doing a good job? How do you know you are reaching the correct audience? Most important of all, are you converting prospects into clients? More often than not, marketing is measured poorly, if at all. We recently read a great analogy to measuring your return on opportunity, as opposed to the traditional approach of trying to measure return on investment. Think of it as your
CASE STUDY annual physical at your family doctor and use the findings to make changes to your firm marketing. Don’t hide from the truths of your marketing. If you do, it will catch up to you. Now is the time to grab your marketing by the horns, understand what you are doing well, and where possible changes can be implemented to increase growth and profitability of your firm.
Communicating with Management
Management wants to know that the firm’s marketing efforts are moving the organization in the right direction while driving growth and profitability. A marketing audit is an opportunity to provide analysis and suggestions to management on ways to improve marketing performance. But how do you communicate this to management? The development and implementation of a basic marketing touch point is a good start in demonstrating to management that you have done your homework and that you are executing a plan that is based on sound findings. Don’t expect them to like everything that they hear, however; be honest with your presentation and be willing to offer solutions where improvement is needed and listen to their suggestions and their input. Consider creating a living document that reports on a quarterly or semi-annual basis how the marketing touch point plan is performing, and where you have had to make adjustments based on early reports from the business development team, your PR counsel or your outside marketing and branding consultant. Rate your success and difficulties on an easy to understand 5 point scale where 1= successful, 2= somewhat successful, 3= no opinion, 4= somewhat unsuccessful and 5= definite need for change. This yardstick will not only serve to keep the marketing team on track, it will also serve as an excellent report card to management regarding your efforts. And don’t worry when you discover that some efforts are failing. The key is to discover these failures early, correct these efforts, and move on so that the firm maintains a course that is steady and sound.
Kobre & Kim Kobre & Kim, a top go-to global litigation boutique for international litigation and arbitration, approached Moiré for help with their messaging, website design and development. Having established itself as a firm that is “Aggressive. Global. Conflict Free,” Kobre & Kim wanted the new website to highlight its global presence while still communicating its aggressive and conflict-free approach. Through a discovery process, Moiré’s challenge was to find the true spirit of Kobre & Kim that best represents the nexus of internal and external views. Moiré’s strategists met with firm partners and researched the competitors and market trends in order to determine the strengths and key messaging that would give Kobre & Kim the edge needed in the marketplace to better positioning themselves as the go-to firm for cross-border, conflict-free litigation and arbitration.
Help, I Need An Effective Web Strategy!
our firm’s website is the single most important component to your firm’s marketing communications efforts. Period. It’s the lynchpin on which all of your other marcom efforts rest, it’s your “first impression”, your opportunity to communicate with targeted clients on a regular basis via blogs, and hopefully it supports your firm’s business development efforts. Recently, Moiré Marketing Partners attended a marketing conference, where law firm leaders and marketers gathered to discuss the pressing issues facing their firms. One of the most common themes we heard was the need to update law firm websites and improve their search engine rankings. By now, all law firms have websites. However, many of the conference speakers and attendees expressed a high level of dissatisfaction with their current sites— particularly if their firm’s site was three years old or more. One particular area of concern was with their firm’s Google rankings. Not only was the firm affected by poor Google rankings, but so were its key rainmakers and growing areas of practice. They were quite vocal about their frustration over how little time they had to develop a competitive online strategy that would better position their firm and their lawyers on the web. Oh, how they wish they had the time and a plan! Successful legal websites need comprehensive plans and strategies, including specific SEO objectives. These strategic web and SEO plans must be unique to each firm, developed with the specific business goals and objectives for that firm and its lawyers. Off-the-shelf solutions are simply not going to cut it in this competitive environment. The speakers and attendees we talked to wanted positive results that would ultimately support the firm’s business development efforts. Strategic web planning requires research and purpose, while taking into account the firm’s culture so that it rings true with its current clients and street reputation, or “organic brand.” Websites should also be more than a repository for your practice area descriptions and attorney bios (the “firm brochure on the web” approach). Law firm websites need to be informative, engaging and easy to navigate, ultimately
providing value to clients as opposed to being focused on the firm, or “firm-centric.” This simple strategic approach helps better position the firm and its lawyers against its principal competitors. A strategically effective law firm website should include as many of these elements as possible: • A clear purpose and distinct message that appeals to your target reader • Information that appeals to clients and the industries you serve rather than yourself • Excellent design that includes meaningful imagery and strategic architecture, so visitors know what to do or where to go to find the information they are searching for • Well-formatted attorney bios designed for the scanning reader • Engaging client case studies (in states where permitted) • Testimonials (in states where permitted) as a third-party validation of your firm and attorneys’ successes • Newsletters, white papers and breaking news on recent changes in key practice areas of the firm • Blog(s) • Short videos • SEO and SEM • Links to social media networks and well written Wikipedia listings • Content Management System (open source is recommend) • A mobile version (adaptive or responsive)
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With this in mind, here are the most common reasons firms come to us to refresh or update their firm’s websites: 1. Their site has become so neglected over the years, the firm is literally embarrassed by their current site. They need their website to effectively communicate their brand message and finally get in the game. Do they have a brand message? They find themselves calling someone, somewhere simply to make the simplest change each call ending up in a bill. 2. One of the firm’s senior partners has just rushed into an executive committee meeting asking if everyone has seen their biggest competitor’s new website that just went live – careful not to say the obvious that “their new site blows our firm’s web site out of the water”. “Haven’t we been talking about doing something about this? Why don’t we talk to Marketing about what’s going on?” Ironically, guess what happens next? This partner that sits on the executive committee suddenly gets that wake up call that the gloves are off and their competitor is really going after their business, or at least sending the message that it takes marketing seriously. In addition, attracting lawyers with a respect and understanding of marketing that come with established books of business that will grow your firm faster than chasing after new business and responding to
RFPs — something else to consider when your competitor launches a new website. 3. The rare exception is the firm with a CMO that realizes that their firm’s website is an extension of the firm that needs to be nurtured, tended to and yes, refreshed or “realigned” on occasion. Reasons for moving in this direction include: • The needs of your client has changed or evolved • Changes in laws, statutes, codes, etc. • Market conditions make it inherently
necessary to compete differently So how did we get here? Fear. How many times during the day do you read on any respectable law marketing list serve someone asking for a “best practice” in attorney bios, practice area descriptions, case studies (if they be used in their state), video or when to launch a blog? Have we become marketers that simply follow what others are doing or wait around until the firm finally reaches its breaking point and then sends out an RFP to get their website updated as quickly and as inexpensively as possible?
Building an effective law firm website to include positive search engine results requires a well-crafted plan. However, unlike sites built three years ago, today’s law firm website should be an extension of your business development efforts and not just a mar/com tool. So what are you waiting for? The time is now to take action, even if that means bringing in outside assistance. Remember, if you don’t control your website, you will lose control of your firm’s market perception and the market will take over that perception for you — and no one wants that.
Stein Sperling Bennett De Jong Driscoll PC Stein Sperling, one of the most respected law firms in Maryland, came to Moiré looking for help to promote the confidence and connections that they are known and respected for by clients, employees and competitors in the market. Moiré spoke with the firm’s partners, employees and clients, conducted a competitive analysis and researched market conditions directly related to the business of Stein Sperling. From this research emerged “The Power of Confidence, The Strength of Connection”, which reflects the firm’s culture, rich history, connection to the region and commitment to its clients. Stein Sperling’s new brand included a new logo and tagline, new identity suite and marketing collateral templates, which culminated in the launch of the firm’s new website built with Moiré’s open source, non-proprietary Content Management System - LawEngine.
Your Logo Is Not Your Brand
o me, your brand is an expression of your personality. Branding is the strategy, planning and maintenance work that goes into helping to form and develop the communication tools that will best express and communicate the personality of a brand. We all have loyalty to certain products or services, an emotional connection that make us smile or reach into our pockets and pull out our wallets. For instance, I have an emotional connection with ING Direct. I notice the orange and blue color logo and the numerous placements this company has in the media, but I did not become a customer based on the logo or their placements. The userfriendly interface, their larger than normal interest rate for a savings account, as well as the accessibility of their other banking and investing products is what attracted me as a customer. In other words, a brand’s “personality” is multifaceted and a product or service cannot rely on any one element of its brand to make a sale. As a branding agency that develops branding strategies and communications tools like logo design, website creation, collateral, social media strategy and implementation, etc. for professional services firms, it appears, all too often, that many firms still believe that their logo solely defines their brand. We recently received an RFP for a “branding and marketing communications strategy”. As we read through the well-written RFP, it became clear that there was no branding involved at all, yet the firm and their RFP repeatedly kept referring to their logo as their brand. This got me wondering. Where is the communication gap? Maybe it is a lack of education regarding the fundamentals of branding. Perhaps they got the idea from the Coca Colas, Nikes and Budweisers of the world that push their logos in multiple commercial mediums. But again, these companies’ logos do not define their brands. Their logos alone do not sell their products. Think about it, why do you purchase a particular product? If I were to venture a guess, your answer would most likely involve an emotional connection or response to an aspect of that brand’s personality or service offering.
Defining Your Brand
It is important to understand what designing or redesigning a logo really means and how it affects the development of your brand. A logo is simply a mark that represents you, the firm to an audience. Like Budweiser and Nike, your logo is not solely responsible for selling your services, recruiting high-profile attorneys or empowering your employees to be brand ambassadors and communicate with the same voice. Prospects do not buy your logo—they buy the benefits and services you provide. Everyone loves a pretty face, but it is what is underneath that matters the most. Certainly, a logo is an integral part of many rebrands. However, it is only one element, one of the tools we use in our marketing arsenal. How are you going to communicate your values and culture to your audience simply through a logo? A logo can express a lot about who you are, but it doesn’t speak for you or define your personality. Your brand should offer promises and ways to deliver on those promises—a proposal of sorts that engages your audience. Think about the communication channels that are being considering for an update. This might be a website, brochure system, collateral and letterhead or even a new logo. Each of these will incorporate multiple design elements to help communicate your brand as well as
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your personality, and that will encourage people to connect with your firm. A revamped logo alone won’t do the job.
Beginning The Branding Process
More often than not, it is budget that dictates what is possible when upgrading or redefining a firm’s brand. Focusing on a logo redesign may not necessarily be the answer—perhaps money can be appropriated to different aspects of the rebrand. We suggest that you begin every branding assignment with a brand strategy exercise to help pinpoint key insights and aspirations from your firm leadership and your clients—including an analysis of your potential competitors. It is the nexus of these three segments, which dictates your brand and its needs. It is at this point that you and your branding agency can strategically determine what your firm’s brand is and what marketing communication vehicles make sense for your firm. Unfortunately, there is never a “one-size fits all” or an “off-the-rack” approach to branding and marketing communications.
Re-engineer Your Process
Think about your firm and what it represents. Do you have a niche in a specific industry? Do you represent a great winning percentage? Are your employees and their knowledge valued? Is education
“It is important to understand what designing or redesigning a logo really means and how it affects the development of your brand. A logo is simply a mark that represents you, the firm, to an audience.” an important aspect for new hires? Does your firm have experienced thought-leaders? Would your clients refer you to others? Do all your employees consider themselves brand ambassadors of the firm? All of these questions impact your firm’s personality and help to define your brand. Your audience helps to build these types of distinctions, which will ultimately result in the shaping of your brand. Your logo, website, collateral and sponsorships are components that help communicate your brand and, hopefully, create a connection with your audience that leads to brand-loyalty. So, when you and your firm are considering a rebrand and immediately thinks “updated logo”, you should bear in mind the following: will that logo alone be able to communicate your firm’s fundamental ideals or values to clients and prospects? Or, will it be how you apply that logo that really matters? You cannot design a brand. A brand is thoughts, feelings, and emotional connections individuals have to you. We hope that the next time you start thinking about your “brand”, that you take into account what goes into building and supporting that action, and what that word actually means. We need to all accept and understand that a logo is the face a brand wears but not the substance. The logo is the tool we use to create recognition and recall, but the feelings that accompany that recognition are dependent on the brand’s personality that has been strategically developed to best communicate your message to your multiple audiences.
Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo AALRR, a law firm with over 150 attorneys in seven offices throughout California, approached Moiré Marketing Partners for help with their brand, website, firm video, blogs and the creation of a mobile website. With over 30 years of commitment to high quality legal work and providing practical solutions to their clients, AALRR earned a reputation as one of California’s leading law firms. Moiré began by revisiting the firm’s brand and conducting a number of interviews with key stakeholders. The research and analysis compiled from the market, the firm’s competitors and the interviews served as the brand platform from which all brand expressions and creative would be developed. Moiré’s focus was to show how AALRR represents both private and public sector clients as highly trusted advisors.
Use Your Bios To Address What’s Important To Your Clients
hese days, most potential clients’ first interaction with an attorney is via the firm’s website and their individual bio page. Sadly, most attorney bios are no more than a litany of straightforward facts that outline education, areas of practice, accomplishments and credentials.
Statistics from a number of legal marketing firms measuring what percentage of time visitors to law firm websites spend on attorney bios range anywhere from 55% to 75%. This broad spread in numbers is due to how each firm monitors traffic to its clients’ sites, as well as other factors. Regardless, the fact remains that if over half the time that visitors spend on law firm websites is spent on lawyer bios, then most lawyers and law firms aren’t leveraging those bios to their fullest potential. So what should a bio be? Perhaps that’s best answered by first addressing what it shouldn’t be—which is a resume. Instead, an attorney’s website bio should be approached as another form of marketing, following the same rules that apply to all good marketing messages. At its most basic,a good attorney bio addresses: 1) What he does for clients; 2) How he works with clients; and 3) Why he does what he does for clients. Note the emphasis on “clients.” Even though your attorneys’ bios are about them, they are not written for them—they are written for the people they want to have as clients. That means the bio has to address what is important to clients—what they most want to know. This isn’t necessarily the same as what attorneys think clients should want to know. Perhaps it’s the “just the facts” mentality of the attorney psyche. The majority of lawyer bios outline their areas of practice, their experience and their education. They might also list their various accolades and successes, along with publications and appearances. What most of them don’t include is anything that relates to how they work with clients and how they help them achieve success—in other words, anything that sheds light on why clients would want to work with them.
What A Bio Should Be
A good, marketing-focused attorney bio should not only address who they are, what they do and how long and well they’ve done it. The best attorney bios: 1) Identify the target audience; 2) Address that audience’s most common problems or challenges; 3) Show how that attorney helps clients or solves problems for them; and 4) Explain how their approach is different. What follows are a variety of ways to improve attorney bios and make them more marketing-focused—and therefore more persuasive—in order to turn potential clients into actual ones.
Focus On What They Do For Clients
Certainly one’s education, experience, success and awards are important—and they have a place in your attorneys’ bios. But instead of making those things the focus, think of them more as supporting points for what your attorneys offer clients. Use the “what’s in it for me” test on your bios. Put yourself in the clients’ shoes and then ask, “How does this address my main issues and concerns?” Text that describes how a lawyer works with clients and his approach to client
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matters does two things: It tells clients (or potential clients) what’s in it for them by working with that lawyer, making it more relevant and oriented to how the attorney fills their needs, and it reveals some of their personality as well. Including personal quotes or client testimonials about how a lawyer works with clients or approaches their practice also helps to make their bio more engaging.
Speak In The Client’s Language
Refrain from peppering bios with industry jargon and legalese, unless you are sure that clients understand and appreciate it. Most do not. If the clients don’t talk that way, your lawyers shouldn’t talk that way when speaking to them in their bios. Use the language clients use to describe their legal problems, business issues, etc.
Showcase Involvement In What Interests The Client
Clients want to know that their lawyers are connected to the issues and developments that affect them. So, in addition to highlighting an attorney’s involvement in the community and legal associations, be sure to address their involvement in associations and
organizations that are connected to clients’ industries and businesses. This includes adding links to any blogs and articles they have written, speeches or presentations they have given, as well as events they have attended or are planning to attend, that have relevance to their clients.
Include Links To Other Profiles
Don’t forget about linking to your attorneys’ other online profiles. This is especially important if the audience is heavily involved in using social media. And certainly don’t forget to link those social media profiles back to the attorney bios and the firm’s website.
Include Or Update Photos
It’s amazing just how many bios feature photos that are a decade or more older. Perhaps the only thing worse than an outdated photo is no photo at all. In today’s
day and age, with photos so common on the Internet, particularly on profile pages, if a photo isn’t there, it may look like your lawyers are hiding something. Posting a photograph helps clients put a face to the name. Also, invest some time and money into having the photos professionally done by one professional photographer. This helps maintain uniformity across your attorney bio pages.
Do you know those people who go on and on about themselves and what they do? Don’t let your attorneys be those people. Like in all marketing materials, brevity is best. Use the printer test. If an entire bio can’t be printed on two pages or less, it’s too long. If an attorney has accomplished a lot that is relevant to his clients, consider dropdowns that can expand or contract the bio,
so that the audience can easily find and read the information that interests them.
Make It Easy To Contact Your Lawyers
If the whole purpose of posting an online bio is to help your lawyers connect with clients, make it as easy as possible for clients to connect with them. Provide several options for contact. Make them easy to find by placing them front and center, right near the name. Some clients don’t like to use the telephone and would prefer e-mail, so make both available.
Rather than giving your attorney bios short shrift as something you have to put up because it’s expected, be strategic and make them work for both your attorneys and your clients.
Hausfeld Hausfeld is a leading global law firm that clients trust with their most complex legal disputes and competition matters. Their new brand brings together their U.S. and E.U. offices and unites them under one name, one brand. The new responsive website is built on Moiré’s open source, non-proprietary Content Management System - LawEngine – and updated attorney bios and photos add a personal touch. The logo depicts a powerful, confident and united firm. All together, Hausfeld’s new brand with lives up to their unparalleled service. Hausfeld provides global and localized legal services to clients around the world with offices in Brussels, London, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, DC.
Put Some Poetry In Your Marketing
hich of the two phrases below sounds better? “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country” or “Do not ask your country what it can do for you. Instead, ask yourself what you can do for your country.” While both phrases convey the same message, most people would agree that the first one does it better than the second. It’s not only shorter and easier to read, it’s easier on the ear. The words have a rhythm that allow them to resonate, connect with the reader (or listener) and become more memorable. Perhaps it’s one reason why John F. Kennedy chose the former phrasing — and not the latter — in his inaugural address. Of all the memorable phrases in that famous speech, it may be the reason why that is the one people remember most. How you say something is as important as what you say. If content is king, then delivery is its scepter, crown and cape. The most brilliant ideas, prescient insights and important information are all for naught if their presentation is wooden and hackneyed. Dull language, like dull blades, cannot cut through clutter and into the hearts of minds of target audiences. Given that, why does so much of the language in law firm marketing have all the power, feeling and interest of a subpoena? In their marketing, law firms seek to accomplish a variety of objectives: convey how they benefit their clients, assure clients of their expertise in and knowledge of their industries, impress clients with their legal experience and success, and show how they are different from every other law firm seeking to do the same thing. Most of all, law firms seek to portray themselves as intelligent and competent. As a result, they tend to communicate in both the language of law and the language of business. Good writing comes from a combination of good content, clarity (being concise and organized) and style. Legal marketing — and professional services marketing in general — is not lacking for good content. Clarity can be achieved through judicious editing. Style, however, is where much of legal marketing falls flat, with content often resorting to pedantic prose. It’s unfortunate, because style is what makes the message
memorable. What is needed in order to connect with and compel audiences is more poetry and less pedantry. Poetry and legal marketing are usually thought of as mutually exclusive. In fact, poetry — or poetic construction — is often met with a mixture of distrust and ridicule, dismissed for “lacking clarity” and as so much “creative puffery.” However, the rules of good poetry writing are as applicable to good business prose as verse. Poetry isn’t just about metaphors, similes and flowery language. It also has to do with getting the structure, rhythm and balance of the phrasing right, the nuances and, for want of a better word, the “artistry” of language. That is the poetry we are discussing here. The structure and rhythm of words can give them greater power and make what is written more memorable. Simply reading aloud what has been written can be tremendously effective in ensuring that legal marketing prose not only flows and communicates accurately in an understandable fashion, but also has resonance and impact. Let’s take a look at another example. When it comes to corporate law and transactions, nearly every law firm claims that they are innovative and that they understand their clients as well as their objectives. No matter how valid this claim may be, it is often expressed in something resembling this manner: “Our attorneys understand the needs and goals of businesses today. Our deep knowledge of clients’ businesses allows us to provide innovative solutions and strategic thinking focused on success.” Okay, the above bit of copy doesn’t exactly stink, but neither does it sing. There is little power or passion behind the words. It sounds rote, and therefore lacking in conviction. It’s what clients want to hear, but does it make them believe? Now let’s try it another way: “We put ourselves in your shoes in order to understand not only what makes your business tick, but where it’s headed. That knowledge allows us to develop new strategies that can better guide you to success.” Both paragraphs convey the same message and are approximately the same length — but it’s the delivery that makes
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the difference. The second version not only speaks directly to the reader (the references to “you” and “your business”), there is a balance to the structure of the words that create a rhythm in the phrasing. For example: We put ourselves in your shoes / in order to understand / not only what makes your business tick, / but where it’s headed. That knowledge allows us to / develop new strategies / that can better guide you to success. Broken out this way, we see that the first three lines of both sentences follow a 7/7/9 rhythm pattern. The words in the message have been chosen for their balance as well as for their meaning. There is a cadence to the language that creates a rhythm which, whether the reader realizes it or not, captures their attention and compels them to keep reading. It creates a pattern in which each line cues the next. Furthermore, rhythm gives the message a little more energy, the words a little more power, which makes it all a lot more memorable. And isn’t that really the goal — to create marketing that’s memorable? In the most powerful writing — advertising included — it’s not just the words we remember, but also their rhythm and flow. The choice of words and the order in which they are placed in a sentence can make all the difference. While a word can be absolutely correct as far as its meaning, if it stands in the middle of a sentence like a concrete block on a busy freeway it is nevertheless wrong. Incorporating some of the rules of poetry into your marketing message will not only encourage a precision in language and make the message more readable, it will make it more memorable as well.
SELECTED CLIENT LIST
Freeborn & Peters
George Washington Law School
Keating Muething & Klekamp
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith
Baker & McKenzie
Winston & Strawn
Kobre & Kim
Fenwick & West
Holland + Knight
Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo
Legal Marketing Association
Niles, Barton & Wilmer
Smith & Carson
Laureate Education Inc.
Steptoe & Johnson
Cushman & Wakefield
Odin, Feldman & Pittleman