MWE’s Katie Cramond has given a lot of thought to how we need to present differently in the digital environment. And of course this is a subject close to everyone’s hearts at the moment, as so much of our business life has transitioned to Zoom or Teams. Indeed this was a recurring theme at The Lawyer’s Marketing Leadership Summit (#TLMLS21) this week. In fact an entire session was devoted to “How can law firms cut through the surge in online information to get content engagement”. (We will be posting a series of guides on various of The Lawyer’s platforms, looking at different aspects of this, and reposting them here too.)
“The virtual environment is here to stay”, Katie says. “It’s clearly going to be part of our “new normal”, even as we go back to in-person as our default.” She’s right: apart from anything else, we’ve learned through the pandemic that you can vastly increase audience numbers and connect with clients and prospects much further afield if you allow at least an element of online attendance. And it’s good for a firm’s carbon footprint, to tick that ESG box! So we will all be getting used to “hybrid” events in the future I am sure… another hot topic of discussion at #TLMLS21, especially around the issue of how to make these work for both audience types, and how to avoid a compromise that is worse for all! [On this point, Laura Ottley of Addleshaw Goddard had some very good points to make about the benefits of engaging specialists to help you work the medium better. She’s had advice to stage TV-style panel discussions (think Question Time ... or Graham Norton, depending on the image you want to project 😉) and learn from your own viewing experience how this format works equally effectively for the studio audience as it does for people at home watching remotely. But more on this another day…]
“As with any new medium, you need to take time to think how it works”, Katie says, “rather than just do a version of what you normally do on a different platform. So think about your “staging”, ie camera angles, lighting, backgrounds etc, and your clothes. It’s a balance though, between being sufficiently rehearsed and mindful of how you come across … and still being authentic!"
“A common mistake people often make on Zoom calls”, she observes, “happens when it comes to sharing documents on the screen. Remember, this takes away from the human face-to-face interaction. All too often, presenters come to the natural end of a document on screen being useful, but they continue to display it, filling the whole screen, making the faces of those on the call shrink into tiny boxes in the corner. Not ideal for quality communication. So close down those documents as soon as they have served their purpose and return to good face-to-face contact with the people you’re trying to engage with.”
Similarly focussed on optimising engagement with the people on the call, Katie advocates plenty of interactivity in your presentations, even the use of polls to aid this.
We may all be excited about the return to in-person business, but online marketing, having exploded in Lockdown, is here to stay. We marketeers and comms specialists can help our lawyers and clients adapt to the new normal. This is the time we can really show our skill and our value-add, so let’s make the most of this moment!
***So enjoyed The Lawyer’s Marketing Leadership Summit this week (and proud to be a sponsor). I particularly loved how the organisers included so many GCs in their panel sessions. A wise move, giving all the marketeers attending hard evidence to go present to their partners, as they take ideas back to their firms. “We heard FTSE 100 GCs say [this or that] is important to them…” Even a lawyer can’t argue with that! Interesting how many times the plea for lawyers to “be more human” came up in talks by GCs. “Legal expertise is a given. What we want to know is what a firm’s lawyers are like as people, and the values and approach that’s unique to their (and their firms’) way of doing business and helping clients.”
A shout-out to: 7BR’s
Hannah Sparkes, Ashfords’ Michelle Johnson, BDBF’s Paula Chan, BBK’s SonitaHayward, Cripps PG’s Julia Hepner , Liz Carter and Rachel Smith, Hardwicke’s SallyWollaston, Keystone Law’s Kristina Oliver, Mayer Brown’s Helen Obi, Mills &
Reeve’s Rob Neal and Julie Mortimer, Morton Fraser’s Tania Hemming, MWE’s Katie Cramond,
Quadrant’s Sarah Longden SHMA’s Ben Buckton, CYK's Robert Coffey, RCR Partnership's Victoria Ash, LSL Family Law's Helen Childers, Atkin Chambers' Emily Morris, Radcliffe Chambers' Georgie Watts, ELA's Rebecca Churchill, Eversheds Sunderland's Judith Green, BDBF founder and consultant Arptia
Dutt, Weightmans’ Sarah-Jane Howitt, Payne Hicks Beach's Ruth Napier and freelance marketing specialist Victoria Brentwood. Also delighted to see ex-Kysenites Norton Rose Fulbright’s Heledd Phelps-Brown and Bird & Bird’s Sophie Bowkett. What a great and talented community to be part of!