Presentation to Lawlink

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  • Good afternoon everyone, welcome to the final session of the day; Introduce Tim, introduce myself. Tim and I head up the marketing division at Village – I work across both PR and marketing. We’ve both relocated from Auckland to Tauranga after having worked for some of the biggest agencies in the country and overseas. Village Marketing and PR has a history of providing marketing and public relations for law firms and today’s session we’re going to share some of the market insights and best practice activities that we believe will benefit all law firms. We’ll leave a decent amount of time at the end for questions and answers.
  • So, to set the scene; Pre-GFC law firms enjoyed their highest level of billings, business was good. Money was easier to come by. Then everything changed and business has not fully recovered. There are a lot of reports about the changed legal landscape but these ones highlight some of the factors that underpin the change; While they are US reports, their findings are indicated as global trends.
  • This excerpt from the Georgetown Uni Law Centre and Thompson Peer Report from 2013 sums up the issues facing law firms: firstly, practitioners are having to battle in an environment they haven’t had to deal with before and secondly, the old models just won’t work in the new competitive environment.
  • The firms that are prospering, or beginning to prosper again after difficult times are those that recognise strategic communications as a cornerstone of business.
  • Our case study today is Sharp Tudhope Lawyers from here in Tauranga. As you may know has been around for 116 years and has recently moved into the city’s first green-star standard building. We’ve been working with the team at Sharp for over a year and they are a perfect example of a firm that believes in the power of strategic communications and have reaped the benefits of a strategic approach to communications.
  • Using Sharp Tudhope as our example, we will be looking at a number of tactics for marketing law firms – the tactics we will be covering off are all ones currently used, or planned for use, by Sharp Tudhope. We’ll start with Qualitative research – a foundation activity that helps you get to better know your clients and other key stakeholders, then look how to turn those insights into a stronger brand with higher equity, why a proper, robust plan to govern your firm’s activity, customer relationship management is importnat – we all know getting new clients is important, but even more important is keeping them in an increasingly competitive marketplace, a look at how public relations can help improve brand awareness and position key spokespeople as industry figureheads, review websites and why they really are your most important brand communication outlet, a quick review of online marketing and social media, communicating with your clients and internal stakeholders and finally a discussion about some of the other ingredients importnat to the marketing communications mix.
  • One of the most overlooked tools in the marketing communications mix but one of the most powerful. Find out what your customers, partners, stakeholders, referers etc want to know/hear about, what they perceive your brand to be, what annoys them about your brand, what they love to see your company doing, how would they like to be communicated with. OTHERWISE YOUR ACTIVITY CAN BE TOTALLY MISALIGNED and pissing people off. We recommend this as the first step in any strategic communications plan – it’s interesting to see what comes out, especially if you haven’t done any research before or are embarking on mktg for the first time. For example....<insert example here>
  • The findings of market research can then build a strong platform for the next phase of activity, branding and planning.
  • It is vital to create a unique and illustrative brand for your firm. This includes a strong logo, but goes much further than that. Your brand is everything from your logo to the look of your offices, how you deal with your clients, your social media presence. Having a clear brand strategy, and using it consistently, will help establish your firm in your audiences’ minds, provide a clear and memorable impression of your firm, and in the end, bring in more business. Brand story – distillation of this. Sharp Tudhope example. Used in all sorts o stuff.
  • Having a robust plan that outlines and leverages all activities throughout a year is invaluable. Many law firms that we have worked with do not have an annual communications blueprint – their activities are reactive and sporadic. The value of a plan lies in your ability to structure your communications so that your brand is consistently highly visible; this can be across a number of tactics. For example, with Sharp Tudhope we planned the year’s activities to capitalise on their move into a new building, becoming regular media contributors, hosting events for the general public, creating and distributing client communications eNewsletters, launching a Facebook page. But as we all know a plan is nothing without metrics against which to gauge success. Any good plan needs to feature clearly definable and measurable objectives. It’s astonishing to think that only 10% of firms measure their marketing investment – without measures, how can you ever tell if your activities are working?
  • So now that we’ve talked about the foundation communications, we can talk about a few more tactics, the first of which is Public Relations. There’s a lot of misconception about what public relations actually is, but I think it’s best described by an old phrase. “If advertising is what you say about yourself, public relations is what others say about you”. It’s all about third-party endorsement and reputation management. People are turned off by advertising and can spot it a mile away....but information or reviews that come from independent third parties is highly influential. That’s not to say advertising is all bad at all, we do a decent amount of it with Sharp Tudhope, but rather than PR provides another touch point that people see as more credible.
  • This infographic shows the ways in which PR seeks to generate this third party endorsement;
  • Commentary on new laws and bering able to communicate this to customers....in a way they can undesrtand
  • Commentary on new laws and bering able to communicate this to customers....in a way they can understandAll of these tactics help improve your presence amongst key stakeholders; it’s all a matter of perception.
  • In addition to your website, there are literally hundreds of outlets that you can market yourself via; each with its own set of rules and regulations. These are just a few of the most popular today.
  • We’ll start with Facebook.
  • Facebook isn’t populated by pimply school children wasting time, it’s actually full of your target market. Women aged 45-60 are the fastest growing sector on Facebook. The medium has become so ubiquitous that brands can’t afford not to be on there. A lot of companies argue that there is no financial benefit in investing time and money into Facebook but again, we’d challenge that perception. Financial decisions are based not just on the dollars and cents, but, and probably especially so in the legal industry, on relationships. Platforms like Facebook allow you to provide your brand/firm with a more human aspect – something potential clients can positively engage with. This dedfinitely influences their buying behaviour.
  • But Facebook isn’t just as simple as starting a page, crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. You need to have a strategy, and an understanding that it takes a eck of a lot of time to make it work. There are a lot of benefits of Facebook for business but if you’re not prepared to put in some serious time and effort, I’d suggest to avoid it alltogether. When we created the Sharp TudhopeFacebook page we started off with some clear guidelines around the page. This included:Once you’ve got all the background foundation work done you can get into the nuts and bolts. We’d also suggest appointing one or two social media guardians for your company; people who can gatekeep the information that goes up on your wall, and how to respond to the comments that will invariably come back.
  • Here are some tips for those wanting to run a more successful Facebook page. Consumer vs. corporate, colloquial vs. formal/professional.Once the tone has been set, ensure that anyone posting on your company’s behalf is aware of it and posts appropriately.Do use it as a vehicle to inform your fans of what is going on in your company, industry and yes, what you can offer themIf you have a lot to say, put a link from your Facebook post to your blog or website. Posts that feature an image can receive 120% more interaction than those without.
  • One of the final points of interest about Facebook is to use the insights provided to you on the page as you can see here. These insights will allow you to see how far and wide your messages are reaching, what kinds of postst your audience are engaging with, who your likers are (geographically and demographically) how many people are sharing your message etc etc. Use these insights to tailor your messages better and better. You’ll soon find that your engagement goes up.
  • The next medium, and one that is becoming increasingly popular in the legal industry is the blog. Blogs are
  • Each blog post is like an article about the chosen subject, but with a personable tone to your brand/business.A well-written blog can help to position your company as an industry leader and adds credibility to its offerings.When someone reads your blog, they can share it with others; via email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or an RSS feed. This can help to drive traffic to your website, where the blog is hosted, and also create a word-of-mouth buzz.Your lawyers are your most important marketing asset; create the perception (which in most cases is also the reality) that your lawyers are the best, the most knowledgable, the most quoted, the most visible and helpful. Create knowledge bases for clients. Create content that can be cross-pollinated to Facebook, internal and external newsletters. Create a discussion forum for people who want to interact with your brand. Don’t turn off comments. Your content can also be leveraged into local publications as advice - /
  • – don’t just post what everyone else is posting. Look at your subject matter from a different angle and create something unique. You can adjust your blog settings so that each new post is instantly and automatically linked to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. This means that your blog will reach more of your target audience and is easier to find. You can also add an RSS feed. RSS feeds are subscription based and will alert your subscribers each time a new blog post is updated.People who have engaged with your posts via comments on the blog are more likely to share it with their friends and contacts. It is much easier to draw people in to read your post if it is accompanied by an eye-catching image.
  • One of the top reasons a client leaves a law firm is poor communications.
  • Wealth of programmes available. Differing price structures, but after the initial template set up cost you are looking at around 4 c per email. Analytics allow you to again, see which articles are interesting your audiences and mean you can further tailor your message. With Sharp we are further segmenting our client base and sending specific information to specific groups ; we have an employment law newsletter, an RMA newsletter and a few others. This shows your clients that as well as keeping them updated with general firm information, you take the time and care enough to send them information that you know fits their particular area of need. TALK ABOUT INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS. Employees are an often overlooked group. They also have a desire to know what’s going on at the firm – a regular enewsletter is a way of creating a culture of connectedness
  • Presentation to Lawlink

    1. 1. STRATEGIC MARKETING FOR LAW FIRMS A case study for success
    2. 2. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLIC RELATIONSReports* out of the US show are consistent in reporting that the legalmarket, globally, has fundamentally changed.1) Less demand for external legal representation – more and more taking their legal functions in-house ** CitiPrivate Bank‟s Law Firm Report 2012 Georgetown University 2013 Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor Report 2012 -13
    3. 3. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLIC STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS RELATIONSReports* out of the US show are consistent in reporting that the legalmarket, globally, has fundamentally changed.1) Less demand for external legal representation – more and more taking their legal functions in-house2) Too many lawyers chasing too little work – the market is tightening even further ** CitiPrivate Bank‟s Law Firm Report 2012 Georgetown University 2013 Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor Report 2012 -13
    4. 4. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLIC STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS RELATIONSReports* out of the US show are consistent in reporting that the legalmarket, globally, has fundamentally changed.1) Less demand for external legal representation – more and more taking their legal functions in-house2) Too many lawyers chasing too little work – the market is tightening even further3) Slower increase in billing rates ** CitiPrivate Bank‟s Law Firm Report 2012 Georgetown University 2013 Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor Report 2012 -13
    5. 5. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLIC STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS RELATIONSReports* out of the US show are consistent in reporting that the legalmarket, globally, has fundamentally changed.1) Less demand for external legal representation – more and more taking their legal functions in-house2) Too many lawyers chasing too little work – the market is tightening even further3) Slower increase in billing rates4) Clients pressure for discounts and alternative fee structures increasing ** CitiPrivate Bank‟s Law Firm Report 2012 Georgetown University 2013 Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor Report 2012 -13
    6. 6. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONS“As we enter 2013, the legal market continues in the fifth year of anunprecedented economic downturn that began in the third quarter of2008. At this point, it is becoming increasingly apparent that themarket for legal services in the United States and throughout theworld has changed in fundamental ways and that, even as we workour way out of the economic doldrums, the practice of law going forwardis likely to be starkly different than in the pre-2008 period.To an unfortunate extent, many lawyers and law firms seem stuck inold models – traditional ways of thinking about law firm economics andstructure, legal work processes, talent management, and clientrelationships – that are no longer well suited to the market environmentin which they compete.”- Georgetown University/Thomson Peer Monitor report, 2013.
    7. 7. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONSSTRATEGIC MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS : A pathway to stronger, more successful brands.
    8. 8. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONS STRATEGIC MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS : A pathway to stronger, more successful brands
    9. 9. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONSOVERVIEW1) Qualitative Research; know your audience2) Building strong brands2) Strategic Planning; why, how, when3) CRM; keeping clients in a competitive marketplace4) Public Relations; thought leadership, media relations – a matter of perception5) Websites; your „shop window front‟6) Marketing Online; social media, search7) Internal and Client Communications8) Other Ingredients
    10. 10. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONSQUALITATIVE RESEARCH – creating strong foundationsBenefits:- Provides a starting point or review point for your brand andcommunications- Always uncovers some „gems‟ and helps you prioritise- Recognise strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats- Target your activities better- Saves you $$ in the long run- Your clients like to know that you care enough to ask
    11. 11. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONS RESEARCH IMPLEMENTATION Conduct Market Research Understand Perceptions Define Desired Brand Position Build Brand Platform (Marketing Comms Plan) Deliver the Brand (Execute the plan)
    12. 12. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONSBRAND – A BASIC FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS•Your brand is second only to your people and the delivery of their expertisein terms of importance•Your brand needs to have a strong identity that communicates more thanjust your name to customers•Weak brands are forgettable, lacklustre, bland and melt into a sea ofsameness
    13. 13. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONS
    14. 14. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONSPLANNING•Plan the work, work the plan•Leverage tactics throughout the year – a plan allows you to spot theseopportunities and maximise their potential•Importance of objectives, clearly defined and measurement. Only 10%of companies actually measure their marketing ROI.
    15. 15. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONSCRM TO BENEFIT BUSINESSIn a service industry, like the legal industry, the emphasis and real valueof your business is commonly the customer relationship.Developing a successful customer relationship can spawn a lifetime ofcommitted buying.You can have the best marketing in the world, but if your CRM isbad, no amount of positive publicity etc can shift perception.
    16. 16. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONSPUBLIC RELATIONS“If advertising is what you say about yourself, publicrelations is what others say about you.”
    17. 17. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONSPUBLIC RELATIONS
    18. 18. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLIC STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS RELATIONSPUBLIC RELATIONS FOR LAW FIRMSThere‟s a wealth of opportunity:-Commentary on industry happenings
    19. 19. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONS
    20. 20. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLIC STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS RELATIONSPUBLIC RELATIONS FOR LAW FIRMSThere‟s a wealth of opportunity:-Commentary on industry happenings-Speaking opportunities-Media relations; by-lined articles in relevant media-New appointments, new offerings etc
    21. 21. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONS
    22. 22. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLIC STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS RELATIONSMARKETING ONLINE: WEBSITEYour website is the most important tool you have at your disposal. Ifnothing else is done right, get your website right. Here‟s why:•Face to face meetings are happening less – especially with new business.People will go to your website as a first port of call so your messages needto be strong
    23. 23. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLIC STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS RELATIONSMARKETING ONLINE: WEBSITEYour website is the most important tool you have at your disposal. Ifnothing else is done right, get your website right. Here‟s why:•Face to face meetings are happening less – especially with new business.People will go to your website as a first port of call so your messages needto be strong•Technology has made geography inconsequential – your clients areeverywhere and the only marketing medium that overcomes geography isa website
    24. 24. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLIC STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS RELATIONSMARKETING ONLINE: WEBSITEYour website is the most important tool you have at your disposal. Ifnothing else is done right, get your website right. Here‟s why:•Face to face meetings are happening less – especially with new business.People will go to your website as a first port of call so your messages needto be strong•Technology has made geography inconsequential – your clients areeverywhere and the only marketing medium that overcomes geography isa website•New staff will also check out your website – an engaging and up-to-datewebsite will help attract the right calibre staff
    25. 25. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLIC STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS RELATIONSMARKETING ONLINE: WEBSITEYour website is the most important tool you have at your disposal. Ifnothing else is done right, get your website right. Here‟s why:•Face to face meetings are happening less – especially with new business.People will go to your website as a first port of call so your messages needto be strong•Technology has made geography inconsequential – your clients areeverywhere and the only marketing medium that overcomes geography isa website•New staff will also check out your website – an engaging and up-to-datewebsite will help attract the right calibre staff•It‟s another place to market your business; blogs, new services, expertise,white papers
    26. 26. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLIC STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS RELATIONSOld Thinking: Law firm website = onlinebrochureNew Thinking: Law firm website = publishingplatform for attorney-generated content
    27. 27. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLIC STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS RELATIONSMARKETING ONLINE: WEBSITEWays to improve your website:- People pages – grow your profiles, become more niche, not generalist –consider micro pages-SEO – keyword integration, research local searches using free tools- Content – create lots of it. Good content that is in „consumer speak‟- Advertising – support with low-level advertising- Analyse – subscribe to google analytics and make improvements basedon insights
    28. 28. ABOUT VILLAGE MARKETING AND PUBLICSTRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSRELATIONS
    29. 29. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS FACEBOOK
    30. 30. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSFACEBOOK: FOR YOUR BUSINESS?• It is the fastest-growing community in the world where your target audience go to meet with friends, be entertained and interact with brands like yours.• 2, 269,160 New Zealanders use Facebook (53.36% of our population)• 25-44 year olds make up almost half of NZ‟s Facebook users• The average user spends more than 700 minutes on Facebook every month• 56% of consumers say they are more likely to recommend a brand after becoming a fan on Facebook
    31. 31. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSTIPS TO ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING AN EFFECTIVEFACEBOOK PAGE:• Write a company strategy. This should include: • WHO is responsible for the medium • HOW often you post • HOW you deal with negative feedback/comments/posts • WHAT your objectives/aims are • WHAT your measures of success are • WHO/WHAT other pages you are going to link in with (likes etc) • HOW you will support the page (advertising, links from your website etc)
    32. 32. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSTIPS TO ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING AN EFFECTIVEFACEBOOK PAGE:• Decide on the tone of your content: how do you want your company/brand to come across?• Do not think of your business page only as a place to talk about your product.• Keep your posts short and sweet.• Use pictures.
    33. 33. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS
    34. 34. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS BLOGS – it’s all about perception
    35. 35. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSWHAT IS A BLOG?By definition, a blog is:“A website on which an individual or group of users recordopinions, information, etc. on a regular basis.”
    36. 36. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSTIPS FOR CREATING AND MAINTAINING AN EFFECTIVEBLOG• Be original• Promote your blog• Include images• Allow comments. People who have engaged with your posts via comments on the blog are more likely to share it with their friends and contacts
    37. 37. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSCLIENT COMMUNICATIONSRichard Susskind writes: "Clients rarely complain about the quality of legal work or the level ofknowledge of the lawyers advising them; but they frequently expressconcern about the mechanics of the working relationship betweenclient and firm. More particularly, it is often said that there is a poorlevel of communication.”This is easily remedied.
    38. 38. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSCLIENT COMMUNICATIONS Planned, regular communications are easy with the likes of Smartmail, Mail Chimp etc.
    39. 39. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONSOTHER INGREDIENTS- Sponsorship- Crisis communications- Events- Advertising
    40. 40. QuestionsBridgette Paton-Tapsell & Tim Paton-TapsellPrincipalsp: +64 7 572 1608w: villagenz.coma: 333 Maunganui Rd, Mt Maunganui 3114, New Zealand

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