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Communications/Public Relations

Generate the buzz – Strategic communications can quickly and effectively position your firm, to reinforce an existing perception, or to create a new one to clients, prospects, and referral sources.  Public relations can handle a “perception gap” that exists between a firm’s reputation and its aspirations.

It’s challenging to keep your audience informed of the evolution of your business, products, or service offerings.  Good PR results come from sending the right messages to the right audiences at the right times.  It is in this area that Fishman Marketing excels.

Public relations is a crucial part of any marketing mix.  It is visibility-raising not just for the sake of “being visible,” but to advance specific business objectives.  At Fishman Marketing we help you make effective use of public relations, with a focus on tangible results.  Results mean knowing the client’s precise goals, then developing a specific game plan, executing aggressively, and measuring success.  We enhance opportunities for discussion between law firms and their clients or prospects, through various creative means.

Fishman Marketing’s public relations services include:

Communication audits

We will undertake a “communications audit” of your existing marketing communications materials, and evaluate them for message clarity and effectiveness.  We will also examine the underlying processes that lead to a finished product (for example, editorial-pipeline management, development of design concepts, writing, editing, and proofreading).  We will recommend ways for the firm to enhance its communications effectiveness and increase the return on investment on the content you produce.

Media relations

Don Hewitt, the longtime executive producer of CBS News’ “Sixty Minutes,” was often asked the secret to his and the program’s success.  The secret was simple.  “Tell me a story,” he said.  Indeed, the “art” of media relations involves identifying great original stories, of interest and relevance to a target audience, and, through a journalist, telling the story.

Media relations for law firms involves targeting legal, business and industry publications read by people with whom you do business or want to do business.  “Getting good press” is neither easy nor accomplished overnight.  It is accomplished through building strong relationships with reporters who vary widely in their levels of sophistication.  It is accomplished through getting on these reporters’ “radar screens” and, once there, staying there as a trusted source.

The process involves being trained to handle interviews, to communicate the key messages you seek to communicate in a succinct and compelling way.  Fishman Marketing provides media-training services, and then facilitates informal, backgrounder meetings between a source and a reporter.  We know from firsthand experience that reporters don’t like to always use the same sources; they are typically open to meeting and working with credible new sources. This is especially true for individuals who have interesting points of view on topics which matter to a publication’s readers.  We will help you plant those relationship “seeds and then work with you to enable them to grow blossom over time.

Controlled media opportunities

Controlled media should be a part of the public relations mix.  The wonderful thing about controlled media is that the subject-matter expert (as opposed to a third party) controls the content.  Fishman Marketing can assist clients in finding speaking and bylined article opportunities, so that a firm can attain visibility before the right audiences with “strategic content,” that is, content relevant to a particular audience and in line with the firm’s overall business strategy.

Often, client PowerPoint presentations, or state-of-the-law briefings, or even newsletter/alert content, can be “scrubbed” of any confidential or proprietary information and leveraged for use as a speech outline for a business or industry association, or for use as a bylined article.

Surveys and rankings

Your firm and its respective groups, possibly even individual lawyers, benefit from appearing in surveys, rankings which matter to clients, or position the firm positively to other target audiences (e.g., recruits).  The problem is, handling particular surveys or rankings in the proper way, to really put a firm’s best foot forward, is an important but time-consuming task which disrupts or distracts an in-house Marketing staff so that it cannot focus on other areas of priority.

Are you currently responding to the right surveys to optimize your firm’s positioning, and ranked in the right publications?  Is the ranking a fair reflection of where you stand, compared to your competition?  Do you need a project manager to coordinate all of your efforts on this front?  We have a great deal of experience helping firms and individual lawyers either become ranked in a given practice area, or improve their current ranking.

Internal communications

Internal communications is a missed opportunity for many professional services firms.  It often takes a backseat to most every other marketing communications initiative underway.

But strengthening internal communications can lead to some very positive outcomes:  (a) regular communications from firm leadership allows lawyers at all levels to better understand the core values or direction of the firm, and adds to a sense of unified purpose; (b) enhanced information about the evolution of service offerings or the addition of new staff can aid in partners’ cross-selling abilities; (c) increased information about firm “wins,” especially when they involve multi-disciplinary efforts or multi-office/multi-geography teams can create positive word-of-mouth internally and boost morale.

Enhancing internal communications involves evaluating current vehicles used to carry messages (including the intranet) and either enhancing the efficacy of existing vehicles and/or creating creative new ones.

Sponsorships and Events

In law firms, events and sponsorships frequently continue ad infinitum simply through inertia (i.e., “we’ve always done this”).  But is the expenditure in alignment with the firm’s business objectives?  What is the return on investment?  Often these questions either aren’t asked or adequately answered.  Fishman Marketing looks at sponsorships and events as strategic opportunities to enhance visibility or enhance dialogue with target audiences.  This does not involve paying thousands of dollars for a table banner or program ad, and the possible opportunity of introducing someone else at a banquet.

It involves presenting ideas and insights, listening to what clients and prospective clients are saying, trading ideas, engaging in dialogue.  We look to optimize ROI by leveraging an event to produce compelling thought leadership, and driving follow-up activity to “connect the dots” between a firm’s resources/expertise and a client’s or prospect’s needs, resulting in new business.

Case study development (print and video)

Case studies are an important tool in communicating your expertise to prospective clients, by illustrating difficult, challenging scenarios your clients have faced, and how firm lawyers have addressed such scenarios to produce outstanding results.  That is, don’t tell me you can do it — show me that you’ve already done it successfully.

Progressive services firms develop an evolving library of case studies for use in business development, including use on the firm website.  Great case studies succinctly lay out the scenario, outline the critical issues, explain how the issues were addressed/resolved, and reveal the results — the benefit to the clients.  To add an element of interest, and for purposes of helping our clients differentiate themselves in a competitive marketplace, Fishman Marketing suggests video case studies, short vignettes that add an element of action and interest to a website, and can be re-purposed for internal discussion use at firm or practice group meetings.

Special Projects

Is your Director of Recruitment talking about upgrading the Recruiting section of your website, making it stand out in a crowded field?  Is establishing an effective alumni relations program perpetually on your “to do” list?  Need to finish an annual report by Christmas, but don’t know quite how you’re going to fit it into an already maniacal schedule?

Does your firm want to publicize the tremendous pro bono work it does, for purposes of positioning the firm as a good corporate citizen?  Fishman Marketing is here to make your life easier.  We produce deliverables that pack a punch, that BREAK THROUGH THE CLUTTER and position your firm to its target audiences in the way it wants to be positioned.