Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lawyer Social Media Profiles and Linking to the Law Firm

By Gina Rubel

As a Philadelphia-area marketing and public relations agency with a focus on legal marketing, we here at Furia Rubel get asked a lot of questions about how lawyers should handle social media.

Some of the most common questions have to do with the relationship between an individual lawyer and the firm, particularly when it comes to marketing. Should a personal profile for a lawyer on Twitter link to the law firm’s website? Should an individual lawyer brand his or her social media profiles independently or link to and mention the law firm where he or she works?

As with most marketing situations, the answer is "it depends."

For solo and small firms and individual lawyers, social media profiles should always mention their law firm. In these instances, the lawyer *is* the firm – he or she is inextricably tied to the law firm brand.

In big law firms, however, the answer is more nuanced. The attorney first should consult the firm’s social media policy. If the policy permits or requests that the lawyer mention the firm's name in his or her profile, and/or to link to the firm’s website, then this is a best practice.

Many firms require a disclaimer in the lawyer's profile as well. They usually read something to the effect of, "These opinions are my own and are not endorsed by my employer."

Remember, there is strength in numbers, and if you're in a big law firm, being associated with the brand can only support your individual lawyer marketing and business development efforts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

7 Tips to Help You ‘Manage Up’

By Karen Preston-Loeb

In today’s age of work overload, executives and leaders can find themselves overextended and over-scheduled, drowning in a sea of meetings and emails that all require their personal attention. Tasks easily can get pushed to the back burner and eventually forgotten. When your boss’s workload starts to affect yours, it is time for you to start managing up.

Managing up refers to working with your boss to enhance the relationship and improve workflow. As a respected employee, you should be able to proactively address items with your boss, provide friendly reminders, and offer suggestions. If you find that you cannot move forward with a project because it needs your boss’s feedback and items are piling up, empower yourself to manage your boss. Here are some key tips to managing up.

One key element in managing up is knowing your boss and being aware of when and how best to approach him or her, because every person is unique. Does your boss like to review documents electronically? Perhaps emailing the documents to her is most efficient. Does your boss like to review hard copies? Print out the documents and reports that need attention and present them to her for review.

Understanding timing is crucial as well. It is probably not a good idea to bring a laundry list of projects and processes that you think can be improved upon on days when last-minute deadlines and urgent issues demand your boss’s attention. Jot down your thoughts on those and bring the ideas to the table when crunch time has passed and your boss has more opportunity to focus on what you are saying.

Feel free to lighten your boss’s workload by offering to take on some of her tasks. Not only will this keep the work flowing, but it can also provide you with more experience in achieving a skill you might not have had the opportunity to learn before. Just be sure that you can actually accomplish the task accurately and within the specified time frame before committing.

Anticipate your boss’s needs by thinking “what’s next?” If you’ve delivered a report to your boss for review and you know it is due to the client by a certain date, make a note to follow up with your boss to be sure that she has made time to review it well before the deadline.

Maintain a positive attitude. Remaining tactful and friendly is always a plus when communicating with a busy boss. Sometimes a gentle reminder to look over a proposal or call a client is all your boss needs.

Open dialogue is vital to understanding expectations in order to work more efficiently, so be sure to establish open communication with your supervisor through regular check-ins. Remember, your boss is busy with a heavy workload and multiple employees to supervise; if he or she does not schedule these meetings, take it upon yourself to arrange them.

Managing up also refers to proactively approaching your employer with ideas on ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness, overall. Step out of your specific role in the company and look at the big picture. Put yourself in the mindset of the top leader and think of ways to improve the company and to strategically achieve the company’s goals outside of the current work being done. Your ideas may not all be utilized but they will be appreciated.

You were hired because your boss saw you as an asset who could add value to the team. Learning how to manage up effectively will benefit you, in the end, because your working relationship with your boss affects your ability to do your job. And nine times out of ten, your boss will appreciate it, too, because it will enable her to do her job better. That kind of teamwork will help both direct reports and managers be more successful.

For more resources about managing up, check out this Harvard Business Review article, and feel free to share your own tips in the comments.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rebranding: Strategic Planning Questions Make a Difference

By Laura Powers

Why do rebranding projects falter? Why do rebranding projects succeed? What is the “right way” to engage in a rebranding process?

As an integrated marketing agency that handles numerous branding and rebranding projects, Furia Rubel has the opportunity to develop, manage and provide creative services for many companies in various industries. Some fundamental questions should be asked and answered about the process and the outcome even before a rebranding project starts. I share some of the most common Q&As here.

What are the steps in a branding or rebranding project?

A large branding initiative is best handled in stages. In general, the stages include:

Phase I - Brand Analysis and Research

At the start of brand development, the team will provide strategic counsel in order to refine existing data and market information and gather new insight in order to set the foundation and strategy for the project. The process includes marketplace and target audience analysis, brainstorming, internal interviews, a review of core brand values and mission and a public perception survey.

Phase II - Brand Positioning, Design Options and Tagline Development

At the core of Phase II is strategic counsel and presentations for visual brand options that are developed in conjunction with the brand story, positioning statement and tagline. Developing the visual options always includes testing for quality and functionality of the logomark, font and icons.

Phase III - Finalizing the Brand

During Phase III, teams work collaboratively to finalize the brand elements. All final file formats for the new brand are developed, documented, packaged and delivered.

Phase IV - Brand Standards Manual

A set of brand standards should always accompany a brand. These act as a set of guidelines to provide direction on appropriate use for internal teams and external partners, in order to ensure consistency.

What is the organization trying to accomplish with a rebrand? 

The common objective of a rebranding initiative is to improve a brand’s alignment with the organization’s mission, vision and culture and to improve relevancy and value to target audiences. The specific objectives of rebranding projects vary.

Typically, organizations look to develop a brand that more strategically reflects the voice and composition of key stakeholders. To determine the essence of this voice, for example, a marketing agency may develop a survey to distribute to all target audiences, both internal and external. The survey results will guide discussions and the decision-making process regarding the new brand, including the brand’s position, purpose, voice and identity.

The challenge with a rebranding initiative is achieving awareness with a successful launch and maintaining relevance and brand recognition over time.

How will we measure the success of our brand?

Brand measurement is gauged by awareness. Awareness can be measured through primary research such as focus groups, interviews and surveys. Benchmarks should be set after the rebranding initiative is launched. Collection and data analysis should occur on a regular basis.

How can our brand become iconic? 

Or: How do we get to the status of the Nike swoosh symbol?

The Nike brand has become iconic over time, with a dedicated and concerted effort to prove relevancy and value to Nike’s audiences in tandem with brand reputation management. This entire effort is channeled throughout Nike, from the storefronts to the boardroom. Note that Nike spends much more on its marketing and public relations strategy than it does on manufacturing product. This type of hyper-recognition typically is reserved for consumer brands (Nike, Amazon, Starbucks, Google). We always encourage B2B companies, nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions, etc. to strive for similar recognition relative to their market and location.

We have a brand – now what?

A Strategic Communications Plan can answer this question. The role of integrated communications is to help build a brand by delivering key messages to target audiences to elicit a particular response; to shape public opinion, attitudes and beliefs; and to build and retain awareness via the most effective and direct methods.

One of the primary goals in communications is to augment and expand the number of touch points between an organization and its target audiences in order to build brand awareness. These tactics must be well defined and must align with the company’s budget and resources.

If you have questions about whether a rebranding is right for your business, contact the experienced Philadelphia-area marketing agency, Furia Rubel Communications.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Digital Marketing for Law Firms Webinar

By Gina Rubel

During a one-hour legal marketing webinar hosted by MyCase, I addressed the basics of digital marketing for lawyers. This program covered the basics of why lawyers should be engaging on social media, in blogging, and what types of content draw the most attention.

One of the things I like about webinars is that participants can ask questions. Some of the viewer questions answered during the webinar towards the end of the program include:
  • What is the ABA's position on using Facebook for law firms?
  • For those of us who target businesses, how relevant is Facebook in a non-consumer-facing practice? 
  • How does one expand contacts on Facebook?
  • Is it okay to mix personal content such as travel photos with business content such as blogs on my social media profiles? 
  • Should you ever share any personal information in social media like your vacation plans, personal thoughts or supporting your favorite sports teams?  

A full recording of Digital Marketing for Law Firms can be found on LinkedIn’s SlideShare along with a MyCase recap of the webinar on their blog.