Discover to Whom You Should Turn for Rebranding Support
In November 2014, our firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP embarked on a website redesign, and several months later, at the request of our marketing and business development committee, we undertook a firm-wide rebranding. Approximately 20 months later, we had met our milestones and launched our new, singular name brand, “Bradley,” as well as our new website. There were successes and setbacks along the way, but in the end, we triumphed. Having come out the other end of this makeover, we would like to share what we learned along our journey in a three-part series, to help other legal marketers and law firm professionals apply the knowledge to their own large-scale marketing projects.
In this first installment, we dive into the people behind the rebranding process — specifically the entities that marketing departments should bring in at the beginning.
Few innovations can grow and thrive within a law firm without a few internal champions to help sell the concept to colleagues. Internal champions are those individuals who fully understand and support your efforts and, preferably, have some degree of authority within the firm.
One of our key internal champions that we relied on for our brand relaunch was the chair of our business development and marketing committee. He appreciated the value that a rebranding provides and championed the idea to the other members of the committee. Without their backing and guidance, we would have found the task much more challenging.
After receiving buy-in from the committee, the project’s momentum increased. It was subsequently presented to executive-level management, as well as all the partners, at the firm’s annual retreat. This provided us with the buy-in we needed to move forward.
For other legal marketers who might consider tackling such a large endeavor, one primary piece of advice is to identify and align yourselves with internal champions, particularly those within the firm’s management ranks. While not everyone may fully understand the value of your undertaking or approve of the concept, the goal is to gain enough support to move the project forward smoothly.
Select Vendors That Serve as Partners
If we could go back and redo one thing above anything else, it would be to streamline the number of vendors used. Initially, we started out with multiple vendors for multiple aspects of the website redesign and rebranding. We discovered that vendor management became its own time-consuming task. In addition, we were worried that there would be a lack of cohesion in design and messaging (although that concern was assuaged when all our vendors rallied around the same key messages to incorporate into their efforts).
As the project moved downstream, we found a few opportunities to consolidate vendors. For example, when our content vendor was unable to finish the project, we were able to pivot and hand the work to our PR vendor, who was already very familiar with our brand. Not only did scaling back vendors create efficiencies, but selecting vendors who were already familiar with our firm reduced the size of the learning curve.
Reflecting on the project, we realized that the vendors who served not only as service providers, but also as partners made a significant difference in our ability to see this project to completion. For example, when we had to put the website redesign on hiatus, our web developer supported us; and when it was time to restart the work, they picked right back up without missing a beat. All our vendors also provided project management and timely communication to help our marketing department stay on track, which was a significant help, given the scale of the task at hand.
Off to a Good Start
To recap, identify your internal champions and involve important parties at the outset of the project. This includes firm leadership, both attorneys and staff, as well as vendors whom you know and trust. If you’re in need of some helpful steps to get your major project off the ground, you can follow these key takeaways:
- Understand the project’s purpose: What are the goals of your endeavor? How will your achievements benefit the firm? Is there a particular problem you are trying to solve, such as clearing up brand confusion within the marketplace?
- Draft a document detailing the project and its needs: Not only will committing the project details to paper help you understand its scope, it also will assist you in identifying any foreseeable challenges. In this way, it serves as a critical roadmap to help guide you from the project’s outset to completion so that you can more easily stay on track throughout the process. The document also will serve as an important tool in getting buy-in from key stakeholders.
- Share the document with your internal champions: Root out those who have your back and support your idea, both attorneys and staff/management. Share with them the document you created that details the project so that they can help you anticipate challenges as well as questions that may arise from other members of the firm.
- Have your champions assist in presenting your idea: If your internal champions have some clout within the firm ranks, they will be the best representatives in delivering the concept to firm management, the executive committee, the marketing committee or any other groups that are integral to getting your project greenlit.
- Carefully vet your vendors: You don’t want to have to change horses in the middle of a stream, so it’s best that you invest time upfront to find the right partners to help your vision become a reality. Collaborate with your marketing colleagues and other members of the firm to create a list of questions that will guide you through your vetting process. Referrals from trusted sources are always a great place to start your search.
In our next installment, we will discuss what entities to involve in the rollout of the new brand so that you can execute without a hitch.
Jacqueline Madarang is senior marketing technology manager at Bradley. She leads the firm’s marketing technology and digital marketing efforts, works with attorneys across the firm and focuses on developing digital, social and communications programs that further business development objectives. She oversees and manages the firm’s marketing technology, including the implementation of new tools firm-wide to assist in marketing and business development. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.linkedin.com/in/jacquelinemadarang or @jhmadarang.
Kelly Schrupp is the director of business development and marketing at Bradley. She has more than two decades of marketing experience – with nearly half of that time in law firms. Kelly focuses on developing strategic initiatives that further the business development, marketing and client relationship building objectives for Bradley's more than 500 attorneys. Kelly is a member of the Legal Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association, where she previously served as vice chair of social media. She can be reached at email@example.com, https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellyschrupp/ or @KellyTSchrupp.