Archive for the ‘ Branding, Graphics & Logos ’ Category

Did I ever tell you my Ross Perot story??

Between my days as a lobbyist and joining legal marketing I was the Director of Programs & Events for Town Hall Los Angeles, a public interest forum.

During my tenure we hosted numerous politicians, pundits, authors, and a king. But my favorite story has to do with Ross Perot. Yes, THAT Ross Perot.

Once a speaker was confirmed my first duty was to confirm the name of the speech, get a copy of their bio, and a photo for our newsletter.

This is the photo we received from Mr. Perot’s office.

From D Magazine November 2013 photography courtsey of Hillwood Perot in the early 1960s. courtsey of Hillwood

From D Magazine November 2013 photography courtesy of Hillwood
Perot in the early 1960s. Courtesy of Hillwood

Nice picture. The problem was it wasn’t the 1960s, we were well into the1990s.

This is what he looked like at the time.

John G. Mabanglo / AFP/Getty Images

When I called Mr. Perot’s office to inquire about a more recent photograph, his assistant told me, no, “Mr. Perot likes this photo.”

So what does this have to do with legal marketing? Well, I’ve been connecting with new people on LinkedIn and following them on Twitter both during the LMA Annual Conference, and now that I have returned.

There are some people out there who really like their (old, and it doesn’t look anything like you) portraits.

Seriously. Time for some portraits to be redone. Gittings was at the conference and are a great resource if you don’t currently have a regular photographer where you are.

What it comes down to is if I cannot recognize you by your photo from the person speaking in the session, or the person I just met, not good.

And I have a feeling if the legal marketers are not updating their photos, the attorneys in their firms aren’t either. Clients should not be surprised when the finally meet you that you look nothing like the photo on your web bio.

It’s painful getting your portrait taken. I don’t like aging either, but if you could see a picture of me from two or three decades ago … well, it really wouldn’t do today.

The rule of thumb my photographer uses is every three to five years. Women should go more frequently as we are more inclined to change our hair styles (and color). I personally do very two years.

Or give up on the photo all together and just go with an avatar:

Heather Morse's Twitter Avatar

Portrait of Mommy by Piper

How to avoid random acts of hashtags

Hopefully by now everyone knows what a hashtag is beyond an annoying way that kids talk today.

Or a scroll at the bottom of a TV show.

Hashtags began randomly enough in 2007 and became popularized during the San Diego wildfires of that year.

They allow users of Twitter (and now every other social media) to search and find topics. They are now hyperlinked in the status, so all you have to do is click to get your search results.

Which brings me to random acts of hashtags.

There is a marketing conference taking place right now. I have several friends attending the conference, and they are all using a different hashtag.

Rather than be able to follow one conversation, there are several conversations taking place.

Since I am fortunate to follow many people in my industry, I was able to catch on pretty quick to what was going on with the three separate hashtags.

Unfortunately, I am not that invested that I will build out a multiple hashtag search result into one stream.

You lost me. And you lost me in several places: Continue reading

Can someone pull the plug on Martindale-Hubbell already?

Oh, Martindale, what happened? Your brand was once the bomb diggity, as my teen would put it, but here you are now, just another product sold to Internet Brands, oh, I mean “in partnership with” Internet Brands.

Kevin O’Keefe wonders Does Martindale-Hubbell, as we knew it, still exist?

The Martindale-Hubbell and lawyers.com “brands” live on, but does Martindale-Hubbell still exist as lawyers have come to know the company.

I’ve written about the slow demise of the Martindale brand numerous times in this blog. A list of articles can be found here.

Personally, I find no value in the old brand today. The AV rating doesn’t mean anything any more. I have found that it is only being used to sell vanity ads in ALM publications (Step Away from the Vanity Ads), and a bygone reminder of a profession that has evolved into a very sophisticated business.

Other than a few RFPs asking to list your MH rating alongside the attorneys other stats, I really cannot see a MH rating being a determining factor in the hiring of a lawyer, especially any lawyer under 40 who just doesn’t care, or have an affinity for the brand.

Sadly, I think it is time for someone to pull the plug on the MH brand and allow it to die with the dignity it deserves.

I never open e-holiday cards, but when I do …

I hate e-holiday cards, and delete most. Why? Because they suck and/or are not personalized. Client hate them. Lawyers hate them. But here they come.

Really. Nothing says, “Hey, thanks for the million dollars in legal fees this year,” like handing an e-mail address to the IT or marketing department and having them add you to a database.

However, there are two cards I always open, and actually look forward to each year.

Why? Because not only do the not suck, they are really good, inventive, unique, self-deprecating, and FUNNY.

First up, only because I already got it, is from Akin Gump:

Akin Gump Holiday Card

I’m still waiting for my card from Pillsbury. My sources tell me it won’t be their usual humor card this year. (If you haven’t heard, they were on the way to the alter, but the wedding got called off. We know how that goes). So here’s flashback to their “Snowball Terms of Use” card from a few years ago:

So if you are planning on sending out an e-card, make sure yours is half as good as either one of these.

GCs spoke, are lawyers listening? Bios edition

Some pictures just say it all, and Matt Homann nailed it with this one:

20131029-145415.jpg
As I am listening to Deb McMurray review her study, 2012-2013 AM Law 100 Websites Foundational Best Practices Survey, gotta say, some things just never change.

When I am going over a bio review with my partners I tell them to read the bio from your clients’ viewpoint, and answer this series of questions:

Do you represent companies like mine? With business issues like mine? And do you have the solutions I am seeking?

If you cannot answer these simple questions, then your bio is crap to the reader. They are not there to figure out if you are a Super Lawyer, but if you can solve the problem that is keeping them up at night.

If you cannot answer these simple questions, don’t worry about SEO, navigation, or any other concerns a web consultant is concerned about. It doesn’t matter if the content isn’t there and relevant to the visitor.

So, once again:

1. Do you represent companies like mine?
2. Do you handle BUSINESS problems like mine?
3. Can you SOLVE business problems like mine?

HT to Jeff Yerkey/Right Hat because he is sitting next to me and asked me to say hi.

Google Profiles + Google Author Ranks + Google In-Depth Articles = WAKE UP!!!

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Wake up and smell the coffee people.

Wake up and smell the coffee: Google matters. Google counts. Copyblogger said so this morning (Seriously. Go get some coffee and click on the article. It’s a must read today):

A forewarning from Google’s Chairman

Just 19 days after my predictions for 2013, the Wall Street Journal published its comments on The New Digital Age, a book written by Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt. These comments included this quote (bold is mine):

Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.

This is a powerful statement by one of the most powerful people in Google. Schmidt makes it clear that Authorship will be a very material factor in search ranking.

For those of us operating in the legal community this is REALLY good new. Why? Because lawyers have content. Lots of it. The job of the legal marketer is to help them get that content into digital, and connect with the Google game.

I’m not talking about gaming Google, but realizing that Google has a strategy to promote good content, and we legal marketers and lawyers need to stay awake and on top of it. Continue reading

When tragedy strikes, pull your auto posts. Immediately.

First off, my personal thoughts and prayers to all impacted by today’s terrorist attacks in Boston. It is beyond words.

Unfortunately, while I posted the following message privately in a Facebook legal marketing group, I believe it needs to be posted publicly as well:

For those of you have auto messages set to post via Hootsuite, blogs, etc. you might want to recall them. For instance, I have a dinner invite set to go. I will not be sending it out for a couple days.

Who would guess that the first offender to not pull their auto tweets would be a Boston firm? Oy.

In an increasingly connected world, it is hard to hear of a tragedy and not think immediately to our friends, family and colleagues who might be personally impacted. Yes, the odds are slim, but someone knows these people. Their families.

When your posts are going over a social network, they might not be well received.

In these moments of tragedy, auto posts on Twitter and Facebook come off as crass, out of place, ill-timed, and thoughtless.

So just have a simple policy. Pull them. All of them. Give everyone a minimum of 24-hours to compose themselves. To not be spammed by your firm’s latest blog post, or dinner invitation.

Quickly and personally reach out to those who might be impacted and offer your thoughts and well-wishes.

Take off your lawyer/marketer hat and put on your compassionate, human one. No one will miss your blog post (although I bet it was really special). No one will miss out on our dinner invite if it goes out tomorrow or Wednesday.

The Legal Naughty & Nice List

06.10.11 christmas stockWell, tis the season and all.

I’m checking out BTI Consulting‘s latest survey where GCs name the most arrogant law firms, and there are no real surprises.

According to Law360′s article, GCs Name Most Arrogant Law Firms:

As the legal industry rebounds from the recession, cockiness is also on the rise, as the number of firms deemed arrogant in a new survey of corporate counsel has ticked upward since last year and doubled from what it was two years ago.

The 2013 BTI Client Services A-Team report, published by The BTI Consulting Group (Wellesley, Mass.), suggests that many of the nation’s legal powerhouses have returned to their smug old ways, no longer desperate for business and no longer willing to budge on fees or otherwise give ground to clients.

So who made the list??

This year’s naughty list includes: Skadden, Kirkland & EllisCravath, Hogan Lovells, Jones Day, King & Spalding, Latham, Quinn Emanuel, Sullivan & Cromwell, Wachtell and Weil Gotshal.

Lest one equates arrogance with service, only four of these firms made BTI’s Top 30 in client service.

As for the Nice List? Here’s the 2013 Client Service 30. The top 10 are:

  1. Jones Day
  2. Mayer Brown
  3. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
  4. McGuireWoods
  5. Seyfarth Shaw
  6. Thompson Hine
  7. Kirkland & Ellis
  8. Faegre Baker Daniels
  9. Baker & McKenzie
  10. Sullivan & Cromwell

And, yes, Virginia, it is possible to make the Client Service 30, while avoiding the Arrogance list entirely. Just ask nice guys Seyfarth Shaw, Thompson Hine, and Littler Mendelson.

So, what does this mean? Not too much, obviously. When it comes to “bet the farm” litigation, the “like” in “know, like and trust” can often times be thrown out the window. You need your team to win at any cost, and you’ll put up with that “arrogance,” along with the hourly rates of over $1000.

However, are you going to put up with that type of arrogance or behavior when the stakes are not as high? Or will you take your business elsewhere? Seeing the profits and revenues of the AmLaw 100 and 200, I’d say a lot of that work is being spread about the country. And, according to the Go-To Law Firms ® list, not one firm holds a lock on any one company.

As the recession did show us, corporate counsel are willing to take their business elsewhere, and that is not about to change any time soon.

So while making the arrogance list might lend a smile to the smuggest of the smug, it should also raise eyebrows of caution.

Number one on the client service list, Jones Day, is quite capable of handling any work that the other firms might have. Sure, they are on the arrogance list as well, but not so high as to make the news stories.

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If you don’t know BTI, they slice and dice all the fun information on how general counsel see, view, and hire outside counsel; how and if they will spend money; what drives the purchasing decisions. Great pie charts. You can download (for a price) the full BTI survey here.

Oh, Sh**. You’ve gone viral.

Look, we’ve all messed up on the job. Sometimes it’s behind the scenes where it can easily be covered up. Sometimes it’s in front of the attorneys at the annual retreat.

Either way, when these things happen in-house where our clients, peers and competitors are none the wiser — we hope — we have more control over the gossip.

But sometimes these things happen in front of the world. And, in a socially connected Internet, there is the distinct possibility that it can go viral. And fast.

Case in point:

What the hell were they thinking over at adidas when they green-lighted this product, the JS Roundhouse Mids, and then posted it to their Facebook page?

As of the writing of this blog post, it appears that adidas has pulled the photos, but it was too late. The story was picked up and shared via individual Facebook posts, the morning news, national cable channels, and radio.

We’re viral, people!

When I read adidas’ official response to the Fox News story, Adidas blasted over new shackle sneaker, I couldn’t help but wonder: Did these official spokespersons read ANY of the comments, anywhere? Are these official spokespersons knowledgeable in the least about how social media and networking operates? Are they really this detached from public discourse and commentary?

Jeremy Scott is renowned as a designer whose style is quirky and lighthearted and his previous shoe designs for Adidas Originals have, for example, included panda heads and Mickey Mouse. Any suggestion that this is linked to slavery is untruthful,” she added.

Once again, Bueller?? Bueller??, we’re living in the age of the Internet. When the populace is tossing around words such as “slavery” and “convict” when describing your new product, it’s hard to dismiss that.

Senior communications professionals within a company (read: YOUR law firm) MUST be in charge of the social media strategy. (Don’t skip that word: Strategy). You cannot have your summer intern, or a junior staffer, post something to your firm’s Facebook wall, only to realize it was a mistake, try to pull it down, and then expect it to disappear.

My friend Jayne Navarre, your Virtual Marketing Officer, is quite passionate on the topic of allocating this incredibly important job of social media manager to a junior member of your staff:

“Media of any sort has always been very unforgiving and the persistent digital record the Internet affords should not be taken lightly. Words and images take on an aura of authority when they are published.

Organizations that don’t consider social media a form of publishing are clueless, and exposed. Everyone makes mistakes, but, inexperienced people make more.

The immediacy of social media and the menace of constantly feeding it do not afford organizations the luxury of layers of proofreading, copyediting, and fact checking. Why then would brands entrust this role to someone who is just cutting their teeth? Because they do not recognize it is publishing. If it is in print—anywhere—it is a permanent record. (Emphasis added)

I don’t know who put the sneaker photo out on the adidas Facebook page. I don’t know if this was a calculated risk, a PR ploy, or an error in judgment. Either way, deleting the post or not, the story will forever be out there.

When I had a blog post picked up by White Whine, blowing up my stats and giving me my best day ever on this blog, I panicked. I had no plan in place for if/when a post or video of mine went viral.

So I did what I do best: I asked some of my esteemed legal PR colleagues how would they counsel their clients if something of theirs went viral:

Cheryl Bame, Bame PR

Think Before You Blog.

I would never advocate for a client to post anything negative on their blog because something can go ‘viral.’ Why take a chance that a comment about a company or client would turn into a negative situation. Before I hit send, I always ask myself, how would my clients feel about my comments or opinions? You can also relate going viral to the crisis situations in  law firms. There are enough bad examples to teach you how to do things right.  Think before you blog. Think before you post a video that may reflect poorly on your personal or professional brand. It’s what go Charlie Sheen into trouble.

John Hellerman, Hellerman Baretz Communications

Take Advantage of Unplanned Distribution Channels.

Please consider that having your content go viral creates a distribution channel that can’t be planned but can be a strong strategic boost in reaching previously untouched audiences. It also provides a platform to reach out to prospects to demonstrate your influence, online presence, and extensive network.

For instance, we might recommend pushing the content out through additional media channels and interacting via social media with promoters of your content — publish a post on your blog about your content going viral and link to a few of the outlets that picked it up, or launch a strategic Twitter campaign to retweet mentions of your content and connect with other tweeps.

I think circling back with as many relevant promoters of yours to say thank you and to show them how you have, in turn, promoted them, is really the best use of this happy circumstance.

Of course, this strategy depends entirely on the content being positive. If the content is negative and potentially damaging for your company’s brand, we would treat the situation as a high-stakes communications crisis and be strategic and proactive in responding to the criticisms and getting our side of the story out. We all know the power of social and online media, so we’d want to protect our online reputation by getting in front of the story but being careful not to give the story more legs than it had; viral content is “hot” for short periods of time – just until the next tweet, video, or blog post goes viral – so the social media cycle works to your favor.

Vivian Hood, Jaffe PR

Control the Message. Don’t Remain Silent.

Anything that goes viral must be managed, because it’s a guaranteed you’ll get both positive and negative comments.  Depending on how bad and widespread the negative becomes, it’s best to be transparent and address the issue IMMEDIATELY. Remaining quiet likely will foster additional negativity, so use social media to your advantage to shape and deliver your messages, quickly, to your direct audience.

Gina Rubel, Furia Rubel

Anticipate Your Response, Positive or Negative.

A video that goes viral can be capitalized on in many ways. It’s about anticipating response before it happens and knowing how to capitalize on all of the opportunities. For instance, if the feedback is positive, consider how you are going to share the story and maintain the momentum.  If the feedback is negative, you should already have a crisis communication plan in place to fall back on and follow. If you don’t, then that’s the first line of business before you start posting videos online.

And what if going viral is a good thing, Cheryl Bame says you have to take advantage of it:

Keep Blogging.

What if you blog post went viral? Here is what I would advise: Continue to write about the topic. Obviously you hit a nerve or a cord that go others interested and talking about the subject …. Then, share your posts with other influencers in and outside the legal space who would  be generous enough to share it with their readers or viewers. That is the key. You don’t need to wait for people to come to you, send the post to people who you think my be influential in having other “influencers” share your ideas.

Thank you to Jayne, Cheryl, John, Vivian and Gina for always sharing your wisdom with me.

Image via Foxnews.com, “An image of the JS Roundhouse Mids was posted on Adidas’ Facebook page. The sneakers are to be released this August. (Adidas/Facebook).”

UPDATE: According to the Twitter stream, adidas has decided to cancel the production of the shackle sneaker. Unfortunately, nothing on their corporate press or Facebook pages. 

Get a fricken website already

I just checked my calendar and, yup, it really is 2012.

Other than the earth coming to an end later this year, it’s about fricken time you got a website.

There just aren’t any good excuses out there.

Yeah, I’m talking to you solo and small firms out there.

And this is especially true for those of you who represent consumers – family law, divorces, child custody, employment matters, trusts & estates. I’d add personal injury, DUI and immigration to the list, but those folks are marketing machines.

Seriously. If you Google yourself or your firm, what do you find? If the answer is NOTHING, than you are LOSING business every day, and you don’t even know it.

Case in point:

Continue reading

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