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Brand Thinking Blog
Posted on July 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm
Five Inspiring Ideas You Can Use for Enhancing and Extending Your Brand
Remember that scene in the Sandra Bullock movie Miss Congeniality, where beauty pageant finalists were each asked to answer a question? No matter the actual question, each contestant replied, “world peace.”
The contestants’ polished sameness is an easy mark for parody, but so is a lot of “same difference” professional services marketing. Yes, we’ve come a long way as a category so let’s not slow down now. What follows is a “judge’s selection” of five original and engaging brand communications that convey the brand, break through the clutter and earn an audience’s attention. Some is work we’ve done with clients. Some is work we did not do but admire (we’ve indicated which are which below).
Verrill Dana’s ad supporting client LL Bean’s 100th birthday. Most professional service firm ads are snoreworthy. Lowly sponsorship ads are usually worse—viewed by marketers as a must-do, last-minute pain rather than an opportunity to shine. The Portland, Maine law firm Verrill Dana (not a Greenfield/Belser client) stepped up and apart recently with a novel sponsorship ad. The central graphic converted L.L. Bean’s classic picnic-blanket-with-leather-carrying-handle into a party horn to mark their famous client’s 100th birthday. What does the ad communicate? We understand and appreciate our client’s business. Wonderful.
Stewart McKelvey’s attorney bios that feel like homepages. Research shows this Canadian law firm earns accolades for its clear understanding of client objectives and the ability to realize them. New attorney bios, part of a broader website and brand overhaul, break with precedent to become more like attorney homepages or minisites. The bios preview what it’s like to work with the people of Stewart McKelvey instead of simply posting a resume. The firm has delivered the opposite of ordinary. Rather than a bio with a wallet-sized photo beside an uninspired narrative, Stewart’s attorney biographies invert the formula. Delightful portraits dominate the page. The bios lead with client service philosophies. The well-organized information creates the equivalent of a minisite for each lawyer. Prospective clients can expect something different from these lawyers. Or at least that’s our view… but we’re biased because Stewart McKelvey is a client of ours.
Plante Moran’s novel Chicago merger microsite. Client Plante Moran’s accounting, tax and consulting services have made the firm one of the largest and most admired in the U.S. Based in the Midwest, Plante Moran just became deeper and more central to Chicago’s thriving middle market. A merger with the Chicago-based Blackman Kallick, results in two local favorites becoming even better. A simple set of key messages based on that hometown theme are served up with substance and style in the merger microsite (and companion campaign). Some of the town’s favorite icons—from the four-star City of Chicago flag (here merged into one) to deep-dish pizza—are the backdrop for a compelling merger story.
McKinsey global cities of the future microsite. It’s no surprise that McKinsey continues to extend and defend its position as a strategy thought leader. While McKinsey is not a Greenfield/Belser client, what captures our attention and earns our respect is the way the firm has adapted to today’s very busy scanning reader—the only kind there is in business-to-business marketing. One of its latest research studies focuses on global cities of the future. Substantive information is delivered graphically, interactively, and yes, with McKinsey’s somewhat restrained marketing style.
Stratton Faxon’s website and community outreach. This Connecticut trial law firm—a Greenfield/Belser client and leader in its field—is on a dual mission. The business of the firm is to help those who have suffered serious harm gain fair compensation from manufacturers or others who seek to avoid responsibility. But the firm also aspires to undo the perception of personal injury lawyers as ambulance chasers. A rebranding effort anchored by a new website advances both goals.
The firm’s Community Builder Blog and outreach program earns awareness with good deeds instead of the more grating “have you been injured?” advertising. The latest community building contest awarded $200,000 in grants to local non-profits, including $100,000 to Gaylord Specialty Healthcare. “Six weeks of grant contestant voting drew more than 25,000 web visitors from all over Connecticut and the US—even Poland,” said Michael Stratton, before announcing the grand prize winner. “And not because they wanted to see my partner Joel Faxon’s mug!”
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