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By Larry Bodine
Lots of firms talk about putting the focus on the client. But Holland & Hart is truly walking the talk by producing “Business Class,” a branded in-flight entertainment show spotlighting innovative clients in the Rocky Mountain West, the firm’s home base. The series of five-minute videos began airing in July in front of millions of passengers on Frontier Airlines’ “Wild Blue Yonder” in-flight TV channel. H&H joined with Denver-based Frontier for this innovative campaign because (you guessed it) Frontier is a client, too. Moreover, it provides an extension of the firm’s branding, because H&H’s tagline is “The Law Out West,” and Frontier flies primarily to western destinations. And get this: The first client featured, Outlast Technologies, develops phase-change materials for clothing for outdoor activities in the West. Next up is Spyder Active Sports, which makes ski-racing equipment. The entire campaign is a perfect example of “the high art of marketing.”
A growing number of firms are creating client service teams to preserve and expand business relationships. Teams add tremendous value to the client by providing better service, better anticipation of needs, and better communication internally and externally, according to Iris Jones, client services advisor at Akin Gump in Washington, D.C. But how does the firm get team members to operate as a cohesive unit? “We have reduced the entire process to our Client Service Team Information Kit—74 pages in a ring binder—that tells you everything about client service teams,” Jones says. “It’s become the Bible for business development. Consistency is so important.” The kit is also posted on the firm’s portal so anyone can gain access to it at anytime.
How powerful has the Internet become in law firm marketing? A new survey of corporate, transactional and defense firms, conducted by Alyn-Weiss & Associates, Inc., provides a good indication. Asked about their business development tactics, 82 percent of the 119 responding firms said they had “received work directly or by referral during the past 24 months” from their Web sites. That’s up from 51 percent in 2004—a huge leap reflecting a shift in traditional legal services purchase patterns. For the preceding 20 years, national surveys of business and defense firms ranked seminars and presentations as the most effective tactic. But they slipped to second on the new survey list, with 55 percent reporting they received work directly or by referral from those efforts. Trade and community group participation came in third, with 47 percent.