Hollow puffery is easy. Marketing with evidence is effective.
[A brand and website overhaul for a 300-win trial law firm.]
The Howard Law Group is a national business and civil litigation firm, handling some of the nation’s biggest, ugliest, and most-complicated bet-the-company lawsuits.
They’re a dynamic, effective trial law firm. Founder Bill Howard’s astonishing trial record is 300-4. That’s true — roughly 300 lifetime wins in fiercely contested jury trials.
Bill hasn’t lost a trial in over a decade, losing only four times in his 30-year career. He’s one tough sonofabitch in court. And his clients love that about him.
HLG Partner Jean Treece Howard is a master story-teller and excellent trial lawyer as well.
People should call the Howard Law Group “when it’s all on the line.”
For example, an insurance company may call HLG to defend their factory-owner insured after an explosion at a factory killed some workers. Or there’s a major truck crash and pile-up on the expressway, a fatal train derailment, or serious theft of trade secrets. Or on the other side, they’ll represent the tragically injured plaintiff after a devastating accident.
Unfortunately, the firm’s historic marketing efforts failed to leverage Bill’s extraordinary trial record or tough approach. Below is the website they’d been using:
The website is profoundly unremarkable. It’s illustrated by two skylines, and suggests that HLG clients will receive “experience, talent, sophistication, accessibility, personal attention, [and] practical solutions….”
Those are all the broad and meaningless promises every nothing-special law firm makes.
Fishman Marketing Rule #1: When you claim everything, you own nothing.
HLG deserved better.
They truly were different, but they hadn’t been using it in their marketing.
And their website was flat and lifeless. They needed something that was true to their style.
Fishman Marketing Rule #2: Identify Your Differentiator.
What should have been Howard Law Group’s message?
“When you can’t afford to lose, or simply don’t want to, call HLG. We’re tough. We win.”
Fishman Marketing Rule #3: When you have the facts, use them.
It’s so important — when you have tangible evidence to support your message, highlight it. Don’t make visitors work to figure out why they should hire you. Showcase the facts, early and often. Bill is 300-4. Lead with that fact:
The firm’s FindLaw website had failed to convey the firm’s stylistic or technical differentiators — they looked like just a typical little small-town “Western Michigan” firm, i.e. “From Wall Street to Main Street.”
Contrast the FindLaw and Fishman Marketing home pages, below:
So — which of these home pages grabbed your attention?
Which one looks different?
More importantly, if you needed help defending a scary, bet-the-company case, which of these two firms do you feel would protect you better? Which conveys a greater sense of skill and quality?
Further, small firms typically have limited awareness. We wanted to use the “how” in Howard as a hook, to connect the marketing to their firm name and help increase name recognition. So we designed a new logo as well.
We knew we could prove our point using real stories. We built a marketing campaign around real examples, and their astonishing but objectively verifiable win-loss record.
The HLG lawyers are actually very nice, fun, and friendly, with a good sense of humor. But that’s not why clients come here. Neither is it because of their “accessibility” or “personal attention.” HLG lawyers get hired because they win.
We added case studies of a few recent victories on the home page below the fold (including this one involving agricultural fertilizer, i.e. Urea), with a bit of subtle animation for visual interest. The makeover is pretty powerful — and it accurately reflects the dynamic culture of the firm — what you get if you hire a lawyer from the Howard Law Group.
If you’re looking for a more gentle firm, this approach might not resonate with you. And that’s fine with HLG. You’re probably not a good fit with them either.
But if you’re looking for a strong, aggressive defender, this type of marketing helps you understand precisely what you can expect from the Howard Law Group.