Case StudyBurr & Forman
Preparation to Action
The legal profession in Alabama has very strict rules regulating the marketing of legal services, making it difficult for firms like Burr & Forman to differentiate their services in a meaningful way. Our challenge was to create an awareness campaign that gained the attention of prospective clients and encouraged them to see Burr & Forman in a new light, without violating state bar rules.
Because Burr & Forman is one of the largest law firms in the South, awareness was never their problem. We designed this campaign, leveraging the power of the firm’s client list, to help prospects move forward through the latter stages of the buying journey.
The testimonial remains one of the most consistently successful advertising tactics, allowing your customers to speak to the quality of your services or products. But Alabama State Bar rules expressly prohibited client testimonial ads, making it difficult for Burr (or any law firm) to leverage the success of their clients.
But what if . . . we created a new kind of testimonial; one that featured the firm’s client, but one in which they never talked about Burr & Forman? What if we created a testimonial by association?
What if, in a social setting, you met the CEO of one of the largest banks in the country, or the CEO of Thyssenkrupp Steel — what would you want to talk about?
” . . . the single most impressive advertisement we’ve ever produced . . . “
After all, these CEOs are incredibly successful people, with deep experience and ideas on a great many subjects. So, for instance, in our conversation with Bob Soulliere (Thyssenkrupp), we explored the company’s decision to build a steel finishing plant in Alabama, the challenges of global markets, and the qualities that make a great leader. Not once did he ever speak about his experience with Burr & Forman.
His responses to our questions did the ONE thing all ads strive for — they were interesting; they were smart; they were relevant. We did more than 20 of these interviews and they were all fascinating in different ways. And all the while Burr & Forman was standing just behind their client.
Some of the biggest names in business
Our CEO ads featured a number of Burr’s most recognizable clients including the leaders of:
The Royal Bank of Canada
HJ Russell & Company
And many others
In the words of one senior partner: I have looked at the ad and think that it may be the single most impressive advertisement we have ever produced. If the rest are similar in tone and quality, this campaign will have a substantial impact on our image.
And will cause great misery to our competition.
During the course of this campaign, per-partner profits rose
But for many people in the firm, the moment that defined the campaign’s success came when other clients began asking their attorneys when they could be featured in an ad. The campaign became an excellent customer retention tool. (An ancillary side benefit, the marketing director at the time was named CMO of the year by the Legal Marketing Association.)