Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Do You Honor Your Law Firms Street Name?

When I was at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP we accepted how "the street" (our clients and referral resources) acknowledged us and changed the logo, not the name, of the firm to simply, "BROBECK". Unfortunately, the tag line came back to haunt the ragged survivors - "When your future is at stake". At Deloitte & Touche LLP the street name we honored in the logo change of 2003 was "Deloitte." It was the name all of our clients and business community used to talk about us.

At Rutan & Tucker LLP we were known verbally as just, "Rutan". The logo change was easy. Oddly enough, in historical archives I've discovered that in 1965 (or thereabouts) the firm seriously considered shedding all of the partner names (seven at the time) to just be "Rutan", but it was voted down in favor of a two-name moniker.

It seems that a lot of attorneys like big, long, multi-part names for their firms. While the legal name of a firm can be as big and bodacious as you please, creating an identity has always been about keeping the message simple.

As a competitor I appreciate that so many firms keep their long name as their street face -- it helps my efforts to stand out with a strong and community friendly identity. But just in case you're listening and hope to create meaningful change in your brand, dump the "alphabet, LLP". Let the street know you're listening.

Entertainment Adds Value to Any Event

One of the features of the LMA Annual Conference this year was the outstanding schedule of keynote speakers and balanced Emceeing. Of particular note was the Emcee of the Your Honors Award event on Wednesday evening. Dr. M. F. Ludiker (aka free-agent savant, Fred Knipe) did a wonderful job of both moving the ceremony along and entertaining the audience with a crisp comedic performance. Kudos to LMA and Dr. Ludiker for making me laugh out loud.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

LMA Conference Video Link

To all that might be interested in a bit of law firm/marketing humor here is a link to view the opening tongue-in-cheek video put together by the LMA folks for this years annual conference.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Leadership Training for Attorneys and Law Firm Marketers

Have you ever been in a meeting or negotiation that stalls and accomplishes nothing at all? Have you ever wondered how you could be a better leader no matter the situation? While most of the sessions I attended at the 2007 LMA Conference in Atlanta were outstanding and useful, the most dramatic for me was the session called, "Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way - Is That Any Way to Speak to Your MP?" led by ForStrategy Consulting principals Robert Fortunato and Mindy Danna.

While I do not wish to give away the punch in their presentation or surrender the techniques they use to achieve incredible results I have to say that their take on how to move people toward leadership is amazing! In the session they did a demonstration, on-stage, with random volunteers from the audience. It was astounding the way they used very simple demonstrations to reveal both leadership challenges and uncover individual capacities (of the volunteers) to deal with emotional situations.

I recommend that you take my course of action -- call ForStrategy and start a conversation that will definitely produce results for your firm. Leadership is a hard thing to teach. These folks have it figured out.

Friday, March 23, 2007

2007 LMA Confernence - Observations

The conference so far has been a great example of how to run a good conference. The content is overall pretty good and the schedule has a great pace. I especially like how much time the organizers scheduled for networking... The people and conversation are awesome. Some things that come to mind after most of today's activities are complete:
  • I can feel the presence of the higher percentage of seasoned marketers in the mix -- conversations are deeper and broader in all things marketing.
  • A comfortable number of the sessions focused on driving client-facing marketing and business development activities. Since my own marketing strategies at Rutan are happening in that ballpark right now the content is quite relevant.
  • As marketers we emphasize to attorneys the important role they can play as mentors and advisers to their clients. This year the session speakers spoke with confidence that marketers could fill that same role within their firms for individual attorneys. I think this speaks to the growing importance and value acknowledged to legal services marketing professionals.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dr. Maya Angelou - 2007 LMA Conference Kickoff Keynote

It is not often in our careers that the job we do is presented to us as something much nobler than just the daily tasks we accomplish. After hearing Dr. Angelou speak I am certain I need to change the title on my business card from CMO to "Composer". It has a great ring to it. Kudos to the LMA for putting such a person on stage for us to hear.

Dr. Angelou talked about her childhood in Stamps, Arkansas, of her Uncle Willie and the lessons she learned from his life. She spoke of her amazing journey and the many "composers" that guided her path. Through all of it she kept getting back to us, the people in her audience, and relating her experiences to the importance we play to the people we work with, for, and around. She spoke for an hour and a half -- I could have listened for days more.

Some things she said that I wrote to remember included:
  • In asking her sister (a lawyer) about the work of law firm marketers: "Oh, I get it. They compose peoples lives. They put peoples lives together. They help make some of the rocky path level, straighten the crooked road.
  • Our lives will have influence we might never know
  • Our work is a calling... much more than a career that cannot be measured but has immeasurable effect on the people around us.
  • "I don't trust people that don't laugh. Be careful when a naked person offers you his shirt.
Other great and fun facts from the beginning of this conference:
  • 1043 in attendance... the largest ever. 83 marketers from California -- I found that pretty cool. 200 and some CMOs and directors, also pretty cool.
  • The opening satirical video (YouTube link) was excellent at presenting a lot of the tongue-in-cheek hard parts of the evolution of bringing marketing to an industry where change has been difficult to be sure. In fact, it has been hard and I congratulate the leadership of this year's conference put the silliest parts on-screen. The title "Napkin Folder" has finally been said out loud to great laughter.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

2007 LMA Conference-Part Two

What goes around comes around... fair enough. This evening was an informal dinner meeting of marketing professionals from the western U.S. at Piddypat's Porch in downtown Atlanta -- a fun and noisy group. As I walked around introducing myself one of the diner's asked, "Are you blogging the conference?" It turns out that the words I posted this morning at 10:00AM had already made the rounds... people where talking! This person (who asked me the question) along with the person beside her were responsible for constructing the registration process this year. I imagine, as graceful as they were, that my rant on spam did not go over too well. What goes around comes around Bruce. Say anything out loud and I better be ready for the rest of the story.... They assured me an opt-in process existed.

Amazing how fast the word got around that anything was posted in reference to the conference.

This evening was also the opening reception in the exhibit hall. Lots of people meeting new folks and greeting old friends. It appears the number of exhibitors is up from last year, which is a good message about the health of our industry. I am surprised though at the limited number of product categories marketed at this conference. The number of categories and depth of choices is significantly deeper at marketing conferences I've attended in other industries. My guess would be that legal services marketing still has a way to go before it is able to support heavier attention from a broader range of vendors.

I did talk to one board member about LMA supported activities for more seasoned marketers in the industry and she responded they have created two new conferences specifically for that niche. Both will be announced at this conference and held later this year in Chicago and London respectively. More on that when it's official.

Blogging the 2007 LMA Annual Conference

At the registration center this morning the gentleman checking in next to me was having his check-in conversation in French. Hmmm. An interesting early-morning lesson in the international interest in the marketing of legal services.

One trend this year that I am undecided about -- the proliferation of pre-event spam finding it's way into my email and landmail inbox. The landmail is easy enough to deal with (into the round file) but the email requires a bit more consideration. Some of these companies do a good job of disguising their spam as legitimate business communications and get their hoped-for three seconds of my eye-time. What is disturbing to me about the communication is that I did not, in registering for the LMA conference, offer my attending status and contact information as available for distribution to vendors. Apparently the LMA is offering their registrant lists as a benefit to vendors that buy showcase booth space.

If the LMA had asked me (called opt-in folks) I would have been happy to receive information from vendors with products or services specific to my current needs... But instead I have to sit through a three week spam-storm (no thank you, I am not interested in hearing more about how your pens with my logo are better than their pen with my logo). OK, rant over.

I am very excited about being here this year. Beginning with the gentleman speaking French at registration I anticipate the crowd at this years conference to reflect how broad the profession has become and how much "new" there is to learn about.

BTW, I am writing this at the Caribou Coffee inside the Peachtree Center. Sitting two feet away as I write are two women chatting away in Mandarin.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Clarity on "Loyalty"

Barbara Walters Price over at Marketing U (who keeps an excellent blog on professional services marketing) asked, "Can somebody help me? What does "we are loyal about our enemies" mean?" in reference to my recent post on client relationships. BTW, thank you Barbara for the positive comments on the commentary of that post.

Let me explain the statement with an example. I watch a lot of NASCAR and of course have a favorite driver (Jeff Gordon and any other car driving for Rick Hendricks). I also have drivers I villainize. In fact, I am so loyal to them as villains I can find evil even when they so something good. To be nice the villains will remain nameless.

"Loyalty" is a word that can swing both positive and negative. It simply points to a concerted dedication. So, when I say, "Loyalty only knows two extremes; We are loyal to our friends and we are loyal about our enemies. Everyone else does not matter" I am pointing at what we are dedicated to. Both tag our passion to act in belief.

I hope this brief explanation adds clarity.

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Business Relationship Networking Cheat-Sheet for Lawyers

The hardest part of business relationship networking is the first step. "Now that I am here what do I do?" Here is a simple method for those people that enjoy having a "mission" in most things they do.

One - Make a list of each thing you want to accomplish at the event you are attending. The list might include:
  • Arrive by 5:30PM
  • Introduce myself to at least one person I do not know while in the registration line
  • Wear my name tag on my right lapel
  • Talk to at least one person I do not know while waiting in the bar line (alcohol consumption is optional)
  • Meet at least one other person and exchange business cards with the potential for a follow-up meal/meeting
Two - USE THE LIST. Take it out of your pocket every time you accomplish one more piece of the mission and check it off. Some things on the list are easy and happen on their own accord, but being able to check things off helps build our internal perception of momentum.

Three - Follow up the next day with anyone you met.

Simple, tactical, motivating -- All the right ingredients for a successful method of making the most of business networking opportunities

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Proof that Relationships Win Business

Has your firm ever missed the mark on a client matter -- and the client is still with the firm? In truth that question could be answered "yes" for many of your existing clients.

If clients valued excellence in legal services over the relationship they would jump ship every time an attorney did not perform in absolute excellence. Granted, the quality of legal services has to be in the realm of good to best, but I hope you see my point.

Do well at your work and do better at your relationships. Loyalty only knows two extremes; We are loyal to our friends and we are loyal about our enemies. Everyone else does not matter.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Help Your People Deliver Their Best Work

This post at Obviously presents a compelling argument for encouraging less "time in the office" for greater productivity. Law firms and law firm marketers can certainly relate to extended periods of long hours and dealing with burnout.

The Next Generation -- A Computer is an Accessory

I am posting via a new addition to the MC blogging family -- a quite friendly, suave in black Mac Book. Now I too can sit in Panera sipping coffee looking casually hip as I free-ride on their wifi signal.

An interesting conversation with my daughter in Italy. We were talking about computer bags for toting about my MacBook, and like a true trooper of the Millennial generation she commented that she almost exclusively keeps her Mac in a neoprene sleeve because the bags she carries (for art at college, or travel on weekends, or wherever she is going) is never about the computer. The bag is about what she is doing and if she takes her computer it rides along as an accessory. Imagine that -- her computer is an accessory, like carrying a pen or a camera.

For my generation (at least for all that I speak with) it's all ABOUT the computer. For her, it's just one way of many to accomplish tasks in front of her. She makes choices based on the moment in front of her using the variety of technology available like clothing in her closet.

Law firm marketers -- as the millennial generation enters our work force and become buyers of legal services are task will change significantly. They will expect that they can get information and make choices based on where they are and what accessory is most convenient to where they are in the moment. Can we deliver via text message, cell Internet, web page or social network?

It's just like its always been in marketing. Are we ready to adapt?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Just Show Up Enough and the Results are Priceless

I went to a networking event this evening. I couldn't stay long so I did my fast-rounds thing. Interestingly enough, the organizer supplies custom names tags for members of the association but have failed to have one made for me even though I have been a member for a while. So, in a moment of silent rebellion I decided that I wasn't going to wear one of those hand-printed labels and just go sans name tag. If you read this blog often enough you know that I "show up" at a lot of events, ergo, I am known by many. Tonight I was pleased to discover how large my circle of relationships has become.

As I walked from conversation to handshake to conversation every cluster of people had at least one person that greeted me by name and provided introductions to others. At one group someone even joked, "Why would he need a name tag -- everyone knows Bruce!" Sweet!

It was a valuable reward for taking my own advise. Just get in the habit of showing up and the reward of good relationships will appear before you.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Client of a Law Firm Marketer

The client of a law firm marketer is the the firm that employs the marketer. It is not individual lawyers within the firm and it is not the clients of the lawyers of the firm. The client is "the firm". If you can grasp this concept (if you do not already live it) you will make a tremendous leap forward in your law firm marketing career. I wrote about the firm as a client when discussing how I view the brand of the firm. Taking that one step further; If you stand for "the firm" and have a clear vision of what it is, you can lead incredibly productive discussions with individual attorneys when they want to sprint in new directions.

Meditate -- The client of a law firm marketer is the the firm.

Graphic Artists are Crazy

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