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(This article appeared in "Professional Marketing Magazine" )
In most towns you can finds law firms like Last Cawthra Feather, they are typically named after their founding partners and at the time when they were named, little consideration was given to "Will the customers be able to spell, pronounce or remember the name?"
Law firms also suffer from an image problem, they are generally considered boring with stuffy offices. Your law firm might be different but that is the impression most people have of law firms.
All this hasn't been a problem because business had been booming and law was a closed shop, nobody from outside the industry was allowed to own a law firm. Two things have changed, first the recession and just like many other firms, lawyers saw their business suffer. But the biggest impact was the introduction of the Legal Services Act which meant that for the first time non-lawyers could own law firms. The industry is now going through the biggest change in its history with a lot of firms scratching their head about what to do.
Last Cawthra Feather saw that the future of legal services might be the Internet but with little experience of the Internet they approached Freeserve founder, Ajaz Ahmed about setting-up a joint venture to sell legal services over the Internet. The result is Legal365.com, which sells a wide range of on-line legal services aimed at the consumer and SME business markets.
Legal365.com is easy to navigate with easy to understand language. Last Cawthra Feather realised they needed to look at the way it interacted with its clients and customers. Ajaz spent most of his life working in Retail. Ajaz and managing partner Simon Stell working together and with the other partners agreed to update and reposition the Last Cawthra Feather brand.
West Yorkshire branding agency, 10 Associates, was engaged to review the brand, the brand marks and the position statement of the firm to work on the logo and brand communication. Staff were engaged by attending 10 Associates 'Brand School' consultation process. Staff and customers already referred to the firm as "LCF" because it was easier and shorter so it was decided to officially change the name to LCF LAW adding the word LAW so that nobody would be confused as to what they did. Along with the new brand marks 10 Associates came up with the tag line "Law, Fair + Square" which perfectly communicated what the brand was all about just like Tesco "Every little helps" or Specsavers "Should have gone to Specsavers."
The domain lawfairandsquare.com was registered and a twitter account @lawfairsquare secured. "As soon as I saw the new concepts, I knew that we should do some sort of pre-launch campaign but I didn't want anybody to know who was behind it so we got someone in the office to register the domain and Twitter account in their name and not the company name. At the time we didn't know what type of campaign we could do, we just knew we could do something," said Ajaz.
LCF began to think about the teaser campaign. Ajaz was walking on Park Row in Leeds which is full of banks on the way to a meeting and it came to him "I saw all these messages in the windows of the banks and I thought to myself, if you tell someone not to do something and create a knowledge gap, then you can't help yourself. You'll want to do the opposite of what you're told not to do."
A one-page advert was created "If you're happy with your law firm. Do not visit this website! lawfairandsquare.com". The website was created. When a customer visits the website the one page website said.
"Life's rarely fair. Law should be. Find out who is behind Law Fair + Square and how we can help you. Leave us your email address or follow us on Twitter. All will be revealed on the 14th January."
That's it nothing else.
The firm hired a social media company, Social Yorkshire Limited, to discuss and plan strategy before executing the plan. On 20 December 2013 #lawfairandsquare started tweeting.
The planned reveal and launch of the rebrand was scheduled for 14 January 2014 a week after most businesses had returned to work after the Christmas and New Year holidays. Just 8 days before the "Big Reveal." These are just some of the tweets that were sent.
The first week in January tweets set the tone,
"Who's behind #lawfairandsquare? You'll never know unless you visit us. Find out on 14th Jan"
"Want to know who's behind the law firm that everyone's talking about? - all to be revealed on 14th Jan"
"Happy with your current law firm? Then DON'T visit this website!...#lawfairandsquare"
The second week in January tweets got a bit more serious:
"We know what people think of lawyers, we're different. We listen to our customers. Who's behind #lawfairandsquare? Find out on 14th Jan"
"We get to the point. Are you happy with your law firm? Why. Because we want your business. Who's behind #lawfairandsquare? Find out on 14th Jan"
"We employ great people who really understand the law so you don't have to. Who's behind #lawfairandsquare? Find out on 14th Jan"
"And people said lawyers are boring. Who's behind #lawfairandsquare? Find out on 14th Jan"
"We've said goodbye to clients and saying hello to Customers. Everything we do is built around you the customer. Who's behind #lawfairandsquare?"
The day before the big reveal
"A big thanks to all our twitter followers, tomorrow is the big day, 9am"
"Please DM us before tomorrow if you guessed our identity, a drink for everyone that guesses correctly"
"Spread the word, we will be revealing who are at 9am tomorrow. Until then... "
Tuesday 14/01/14 the Big reveal
Around 5 second gap between each 9am tweet
"9am - A very good morning to you wherever you are in the World, its 9am and time for the big reveal."
"9am - A big drum role please, the moment you've been waiting for is here."
"9am - We are... (It's on the next tweet)"
"9am - LCF LAW - previously known as Last Cawthra Feather."
"9am - We're changing the way we do business, no more boring law firm."
"9am - Our strap line is Law Fair + Square. No smoke, no mirrors, just Law, Fair + Square."
"9am - No ifs, no buts, just Law, Fair + Square."
"9am - No jargon, no hidden fees, just Law, Fair + Square."
"9am - Life's rarely fair - we believe law should be. Law, Fair + Square."
So what was the result?
"We were over the moon," said Simon Stell "We had lots of followers on Twitter and we knew that lots of other people would be keeping an eye on us but didn't want to be seen following us. We had lots of messages of support saying they loved the campaign, included new and old customers. Even other law firms sent us positive messages. The press wrote about us. One of our tweets said it all ‚Äì "No more boring law firm."
But what are the lessons for other companies, Ajaz Ahmed has been in the Internet business since the beginning.
"I think social media is great. It's changed everything. I've got hundreds of people following me on Twitter but I've never actually tweeted anything" said Ajaz "I've re-tweeted things and I've replied to tweets but never tweeted anything myself. I get asked to give talks to businesses and I talk about social media. The problem is that most companies simply don't understand it and no matter how hard they try, its not really going to make any difference to their business. It's just like PR, if you want your story to be read, you've got to say something interesting. If it's not interesting, then nobody is going to read or remember it. I've met lots of so called social media gurus and if you ask challenging questions, they find it difficult to give you straight answers. Our campaign worked because it captured people's imagination and it used a bit of psychology. We're under no illusion that if we want to carry on growing our followers and more importantly engage with them, we have to tweet things that they are going to find interesting. We have to engage them in a conversation, not a sales message."
The message is that every industry can use social media effectively but its not a case of just having a Twitter and Facebook account. "You have to use empathy" says Ajaz "if you don't make it interesting or memorable them people aren't going to follow you. You've also got to think about the end result, why are you doing this?"
By using social media effectively, even lawyers can change their image.
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