My goal for this article is to illustrate various ways to adjust your marketing and your image to address the changing landscape in media as well as market conditions resulting from the Covid pandemic or other eventual market stressers. I will examine marketing from a local and national approach and from the perspective of a single lawyer practice to a massive firm. What a strange time to be running a business. Practicing law right now is especially challenging. Dockets have been delayed and single event practice areas such as Motor Vehicle Accident saw declines in their case acquisition potential as the number of drivers on the road nationwide was greatly reduced. While Covid-19 is the unicorn of ongoing distractions that can negatively affect a campaign, market disruptions have always been present. How you adjust to these curveballs in day to day outreach will determine whether your win or lose. Today, things just keep moving in the direction of different. What we do now will in large part define our businesses for years to come.
Social Media Matters:
Social Media, it’s a daily dilemma. It can be a pain to figure out what content you should or should not post. It requires a commitment to find usable content. So much of what happens in social media is based around an event. Examples can be unique locations, awards, judgements, accomplishments, conferences and so on. Our goal, before 2020 became uniquely bizarre, was to post three times per week. There have been some weeks where we fell down to two posts and that is okay.
Here’s what we did:
1. Created in-house designed graphics for holiday posts.
2. Composed brief videos that posted to Instagram’s IGTV about health and creativity during a crisis.
3. Requested pictures or videos from staff to help with a given theme post.
4. Utilized photos of our branding in diverse presentations.
5. Highlighted inspiring or relevant quotes with an accompanying photo.
In the beginning of Covid-19, many law firms took to social media as an opportunity to let the public know that they were still taking cases and how they set up an efficient and safe work environment for their staff. Lawyers posted about taking meetings using Zoom, Face Time, Skype, SLACK or other platforms for face-to-face communication. It helped them stand out in contrast to their competitors who remained publicly uninformative. We all don’t have a million followers and award-winning content, but we all have ways to tell some kind of story.
What You Should Be Asking Of Yourself:
Do you locally brand for single event? Is your vision national with focus to case acquisition from medical devices, drug manufacturers or even institutional abuses and violations with large plaintiff pools? Where is your bread and butter? What have you done to adjust or overcome amidst shutdowns, travel limitations and frequent quarantines?
Through presence and creativity, law firms of all sizes can increase their share of case acquisitions on the national stage or within their market on the basis of familiarity, which engages trust. Creativity can apply to all aspects of your marketing and your practice. For example, as Covid-19 hit, key elements such as live action commercial shoots came to a stop and many production teams still remain paused. At this time, we were in the process of developing a branded theme for one of our clients. Instead of waiting for a breakout moment to begin filming again, we innovated customized graphic illustrations as scenes within our commercials creating new, eye-popping content. We then continued to work with high end motion stock footage, pre-existing footage if available and fresh voice over content. The finished products have since inspired a totally new wave of consideration to how spots are produced. As a matter of strategic approach, now is the time to be innovative. See a few examples of 2020 creative innovations within this 2:09 sizzle reel: https://www.traftrack.com/video/index.php?arg=UWMBZ1NtVTM=&fromlt=456
Media Comes In Many Flavors:
It’s important to consider all of the options to touch your ideal plaintiff which includes anything from TV, Radio, Print, Billboards, Social Media, Community Outreach programs and more. Throughout my career, I have always been a proponent of a multi-media approach. We refer to this as Hybrid Fusion. People are now consuming content at nearly every point within their typical day. Diversity wins the day and the plaintiff. Media is diverse and rarely offers a one size fits all approach. Media type is as diverse as how you buy media. The attack goes well beyond direct response and general market as we knew it only 10 years ago. From rotations, to performance to cash buys and programmatic, there are many options to find your ideal plaintiff no matter where they are. Those who chart unknown but credible territory, usually discover a world of reward they did not previously know existed.
Expanding Beyond Bread & Butter:
While it is completely understandable for many to focus solely on cases in your own backyard such as Motor Vehicle or Medical Malpractice, one only has to look to the national market to see the opportunity to build cases across the country. Mass Tort, which has been an ever-burgeoning sector of law firm focus for several decades, gives firms some cover on where to turn their investments when the local approach is too diluted and low reward. It is not a quick fix, it is a long game and comes with its own set of complications but it has shown some bullet proof capacity when things get tough. National media may have times when it is slow but at the end of the day, if you are aggregating the population of the nation, it will always have a larger accumulative value.
Thanks for reading!
By Adam Warren, CEO of OpenJar Concepts and The Sentinel Group