Trending TopicsAdvertising Applications App of the Week Branding Design Facebook Information Design Innovation Legal Industry Marketing Mobile Mobile apps On Branding Online Communications On Technology Photography Productivity Professional Services SEO Site of the Week Site Usability Social Media Social Networking Thought Leadership Twitter Video Web Design Web Development website design Website Launch
Brand Thinking Blog
Posted on August 14, 2014 at 10:53 am
NPR is a name that hardly needs an introduction. Formerly National Public Radio, NPR is probably the most well-known talk radio station in the country. With a variety of broadcast programs to choose from, it is easy to see why so many people turn to the media organization for the latest news.
Recently, NPR rolled out an app version of their station, NPR One. The app not only allows you to listen to the same programs that you know and love, but has many other great features as well. From local news to international stories, NPR One connects you to the content you want to hear, all in one steady stream. The stream of stories is personalized based on what you are interested in hearing. Its design is simple and clean, so you can focus on what you want to hear without distraction. Browse through stories that are currently playing, or search for your favorite programs. Pause, skip ahead or rewind so you never miss anything. With NPR One, you are completely in control of the content coming through your headphones.
Always stay informed, engaged and inspired by downloading NPR One from iTunes here.
Posted on August 13, 2014 at 3:11 pm
Earlier this month, two clients called us to get started on this year’s holiday greetings; gold stars to them. On the other end of the spectrum, we know we’ll get a couple panicked calls in early December, too. Most of our clients are in the middle—running a little behind but not enough to panic. For all of you, here are a collection of some recent cards we’ve helped clients create and brief descriptions of them. The simple idea for this post is to give you some fresh ideas for this year’s card and spur some advance planning. So, grab your August gin and tonic, pretend it’s eggnog and hum your favorite holiday tune.
California-based Archer Norris invites clients and friends to ditch the cell phone and listen to the soothing sound of waves—laid-back California cool meets seasonal calm.
Waller produced a card on the Tumblr platform that captures photos, videos and holiday classics like movies and songs—favored by Waller’s lawyers and staff. Clients can comment, like or add to the spirit of the card. New media meets the sentiments of the season in a wonderfully novel, social and interactive fashion.
Hemenway & Barnes, 150 reasons…
Hemenway & Barnes beat the seasonal rush by delivering its holiday card—in print and electronically—a week before Thanksgiving. So, thanks was the theme. The firm’s 150th anniversary is also the centerpiece in the form of 150 reasons, nearly all of them rhyming, to give thanks for all that’s good.
Nutter’s holiday “scrapbook”
Like Waller, the people of Nutter McClennan & Fish personalize their firm’s card and give it a family feel by offering favorite photos from the year. Recipients of the e-card watch a scrapbook being assembled with a cheery soundtrack en route to holiday greetings.
This cosmopolitan Canadian law firm, with offices across Canada and a strong presence in Hong Kong, rings in the new year (the year of the dragon) with style. The card wishes clients good fortune and prosperity, while promoting a merger and its Hong Kong office.
Toronto-based Weir Foulds shows less is more with a simple card and a single line of copy on the cover of a recent holiday greeting. No bull, just a charming bull moose.
WeirFoulds, The Sequel.
When a firm does a delightful job with a seasonal card, there’s added pressure on the following year. WeirFoulds takes a different tack in this sequel to the moose. Slightly different tone, similarly well-received.
The gift of reading to a good kid.
Not to toot our own New Year’s horn, but Greenfield/Belser’s seasonal tradition of supporting The Reading Connection (an organization devoted to reading books to inner-city children) marries our love of inspiring creativity with our favorite pro bono cause.
Drop us a line if you’re ready to start planning this year’s card. For more perspective, you might also enjoy our old big idea entitled “Hackneyed Holidays.”
Posted on August 12, 2014 at 10:32 am
How to Change the SEO Page Title
SEO Page Titles are an important ranking factor in SEO and show up in search results. It is very important for your firm’s SEO analytics that each page has a unique page title. Here’s how to ensure that your pages have page titles:
1. From your dashboard, click your Pages tab
2. Go into the page that needs an SEO title
3. In the page detail, scroll down to the last module, “SEO” and expand it’s detail
4. Fill in the field “SEO Title” with the unique title of the page
For additional tips and tricks for Point & Clique, check out our other Cow Tips!
Posted on August 8, 2014 at 3:50 pm
Have you ever taken the time to analyze how your firm captures new business? Traditionally, professional service firms—particularly small and mid-sized firms—rely heavily on existing clients and referrals to generate new revenue. Most will admit openly, however, that they could be doing a better job at cross-selling and upselling and, without having mastered these fundamentals, many firms can’t even begin to think about a more formidable business development strategy.
Sales and marketing have become critical to the growth and profitability of today’s firms, and allocating time, resources and budget to these areas has become a business imperative. It’s no secret, however, that many practitioners are not trained in these areas. Without seasoned business development professionals on staff, it may be challenging to find a starting point and many managing officers or CEOs are likely to find themselves with more questions than answers. For instance…
- How do we generate leads? What tactics will we use?
- How much will all of this cost?
- Who is responsible for what?
- How do we track our progress?
- How will we service all of the clients we’ll capture?
- How will we accommodate our growth?
Don’t let yourself feel overwhelmed by what may seem like an insurmountable task; instead, start by creating a strong business development platform and then work on building out each specific area over time.
A business development platform is a system that explains the process of developing a marketing/sales culture throughout your firm, sets and manages expectations, defines a common set of objectives with performance metrics and applies the right blend of tactics to achieve stated results. In order to build a strong sales and marketing program, the company—and firm management, in particular—must be willing to make some investments.
First, they must be willing to make a significant time investment. Each member of the business development and management teams must allocate a portion of their day, week and month to this initiative. Similarly, they have to be willing to put their money where their mouth is. Many factors will influence how much money should be allocated to business development, but 2% of firm revenue is a common figure; this includes both general expenses and full-time employee expenses. Business development programs offer no guaranteed return on investment and results are not instantaneous—patience and persistence is essential. Consult with experts to help jumpstart the process and mitigate your risk.
A successful business development platform achieves several things. First and foremost, it helps guide and cement a corporate culture that integrates marketing, sales and service models. It makes it easier to identify and set realistic growth goals and the ways in which you will achieve those goals. The platform also helps identify the companies that you want to do business with and the key organizations that are vital to creating inroads into the markets you serve or want to serve. A good plan will help your organization determine the right blend of marketing tactics to provide appropriate ground cover and reach your targets.
The successful integration of marketing, sales and service is a complex, multi-layered process, but one that can yield great rewards. Here’s a helpful how-to guide for creating your own business development platform:
- Gain an understanding of the overlapping roles of marketing, sales and service as shown in the diagram above. It is the combination of these three disciplines that define business development. Because many of these functions are performed by more than one person, cooperation and coordination is critical. This is a team effort and members of the team should be open to learning from their peers and working together to achieve results.
- Define the roles of each member of the business development “team”—typically this team will consist of the firm’s managing partner, the lead partner for business development, the head of marketing and the person responsible for sales. Each person on the team must understand their role and be committed to fulfilling the expressed objectives. Never assume that people truly understand their roles and responsibilities—be specific, expressive and transparent as to your expectations.
- Promote a marketing and sales culture throughout the firm. As a means of doing this, develop standard messaging and educate your staff. This messaging should include the history of the firm, the products and services offered, the niche markets served and competitive differentiators. Every employee, from partner to entry level staff, should be able to confidently recite this ‘elevator pitch’ on command. Creating a marketing and sales culture is, by no means, an overnight transformation. It may take a year or more for this concept to take root and become part of your firm’s overall strategic vision.
- Create a series of product and service platforms that help your staff easily demonstrate the products/services your firm offers and how those components fit together to create a complete solution for their business pains. This will enable you to see a clear breakdown of each industry group or niche market and the products and services that you offer to those clients. This product/platform should be the basis for all of the rest of your marketing efforts. Use it to create cohesive, persuasive campaigns. Incorporate this model into each industry group’s standard presentation. Help to educate each industry or niche group on how to promote the product/service platform in their day-to-day interactions with clients and prospects and make sure that they understand what their core competitive differentiators are.
- Review revenue performance for the last three years, factoring market conditions and issues within the practice (e.g. resource constraints, etc.) that could influence revenue. Project out three years and help your team set aggressive, but realistic, sales goals. When making your three year projections, consider things like recurring revenue, revenue generated from other areas of the firm and the all-important organic revenue. This projection will give the team a clear vision and help you set appropriate goals.
- Work collaboratively to explore and document the marketing tactics that will help the team reach its goals. These tactics may include traditional advertising, website development projects, email campaigns, social media strategies, networking events and other traditional and nontraditional approaches.
- Develop a target account list. This is a breakdown of the clients and types of clients you want to do business with. This may be defined by size, revenue, industry, geographic location or other important factors. It is important to avoid building large lists; the list should be manageable. This list can be constructed from internal data systems, purchased lists, websites, etc. The process may take some time but the benefits are worth the investment of effort.
- Identify, rank and assign responsibilities associations or networking opportunities that are strategic to your goals. Try categorizing them with a letter grade:
- ‘A’: This ranking is given to organizations that are strategic to the group’s business development objectives; team members are expected to play a dominant role within the organization and have a substantial presence at most events/functions.
- ‘B’: This ranking is given to organizations that are strategic to the group’s business development objectives; team members are expected to frequently attend events/functions and have a noticeable presence at most events/functions.
- ‘C’: This ranking is given to organizations that are strategic to the group’s business development objectives; team members are expected to attend only those events/functions that will likely yield results.
- Identify and assign key referral sources, such as banks, attorneys, etc. It is important to continually cultivate and nurture referral sources that generate results, but it is important to focus your time and energy on those that yield the best results. It is neither realistic nor productive to manage too many; have members of the team or your staff manage a core set of referral sources.
- Define metrics and determine how you will measure the results of your actions. With time, this process will be redefined and refined. Progress should be monitored and measured monthly; results will likely take time, but the business development team must take accountability for successes and failures.
Once you have created a business development and have demonstrated its value to firm management, you are well on your way to success. Persistence and commitment will, however, be integral to the long-term achievement of your firm’s mission and growth goals.
Posted on August 8, 2014 at 11:16 am
Congratulations to our long-term client Hemenway & Barnes, who just launched an updated website with a refreshed look and feel! Greenfield Belser designed the Boston-based firm’s website several years ago, but it was time for an update. We wanted to maintain the familiar brand look and feel we had established, but also give the homepage a fresh, new look that was more like our recently designed and well-received collateral materials.
Borrowing from brochure color palettes and imagery, we created a more engaging site with a personal touch. Some of the firm’s partners are now featured prominently on the homepage, lending a warmer feel to the experience. We also completely re-tooled the News & Resources center, making it easier to navigate, and populated it chock-full of imagery. Overall, initial reaction has been very positive, with visitors finding the News & Resources section especially appealing and user-friendly.
Another successful project between Greenfield Belser and Hemenway & Barnes, one of our favorite partners. Stay tuned for the newly renovated Hemenway Trust website that will be launching soon!
Posted on August 7, 2014 at 5:35 pm
If our client requests for responsive websites are a bellwether, responsive design appears to be on the uptick. There are still reasons and arguments for and against the responsive option. However, when responsive is chosen as the right strategy, the result is pretty darn cool.
Two recently launched client sites illustrate this point—one is for Hemenway & Barnes and the other for Downs Rachlin Martin. Grab the corner of either site on your desktop and see them transform before your eyes. Beyond the cool factor and the device-agnostic display, what strikes us as compelling about these two new sites are six important things that make for a sharp website regardless of its coding, features and functions:
1. Great sites, like hembar.com and drm.com have a clear promise of value. Visitors don’t need to guess what either firm stands for or does.
2. Compelling sites feature valuable content that teaches instead of sells. Both firms have sharp, multi-media resource centers with some of it sampled on the homepage.
3. Engaging sites speak to the left and right brain. They deliver key messages while humanizing the offering. A visitor to either of these new firm sites get a sense of the firms’ personalities and brand promises.
4. Smart sites are backed by easy-to-use content management systems. Check for both firms.
5. Persuasive sites deliver substantive information graphically, earning the attention of the caffeinated or time-crunched visitor.
6. Courteous sites have simple navigation on any device that allows users to get where they want to go efficiently.
Your takeaway: Responsive can be very cool. It may not be the right strategy for every firm, but web best practices like the six above should be.