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2016 Winners: Events

First Place

K&L Gates LLP

Australian Open - Building Brand Awareness for a New Entry Down Under

SummaryYHA | K&L Gates

Building awareness of the K&L Gates LLP brand in a new market and a new continent for the firm was a significant challenge. The marketing team capitalized on the strategic use of an event sponsorship to build brand awareness and brand favorability with business and legal decision makers.

A global law firm with over 40 offices around the world, K&L Gates entered the Australian market in four cities in 2013 through a strategic combination with national law firm Middletons. The merger added four offices in Australia as well as a fifth continent to K&L Gates’ footprint.

The designation as Official Law Firm Sponsor of the 2015 Australian Open provided the firm with an opportunity to build additional brand awareness and loyalty for K&L Gates in Australia. Furthermore, by associating the country’s most popular and iconic sporting event—as well as one of the world’s four major professional tennis tournaments—with the newly launched K&L Gates brand, the firm was able to draw increased attention to its relatively new presence in Australia.

K&L Gates brought together its global teams across public relations, marketing and business development to work on this project. The team developed messaging to reinforce the K&L Gates brand across a variety of mediums at the event including a 30-second TV commercial, a full-page advertisement in the official magazine of the Australian Open and a social media campaign.

The key messaging of the campaign focused on determination. By saluting the determination of the talented athletes competing for the Australian Open trophies, K&L Gates was able to highlight determination as a prerequisite quality for its lawyers to successfully advance the business goals of its clients in Australia, Asia and around the world.

In addition to commercials, advertisements and strategically-located branding around the Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park, K&L Gates secured the naming rights for the VIP lounge, an exclusive, executive entertainment area and rebranded it the K&L Gates Champion Bar. Not only did this provide high-visibility branding for the firm, but the venue proved to be a highly effective business development tool.

Prior to the event, K&L Gates completed competitive analysis to determine how competitors would use the event. Cross-selling opportunities were analyzed, and schedules were created to identify client attendance by day. K&L Gates lawyers then met internally in advance to brief their colleagues on the potential cross-selling opportunities.

The K&L Gates Champion Bar became the ripe venue for pursuing business opportunities. All of the branding and corporate entertainment that was planned resulted in an effective backdrop to host and educate more than 270 individuals from the firm’s leading clients, representing more than 90 organizations. The brand visibility and materials in the venue played a significant role for the firm. As a result, K&L Gates lawyers received new matters demonstrating the success of the cross-selling campaign.

In addition, the K&L Gates brand was by far the most dominant law firm brand visible to the business community at the Australian Open. A post-event client survey provided the following feedback:

  • 91 percent of clients in attendance rated the quality of time spent with their K&L Gates host as 5 out of 5
  • 84 percent of clients met new lawyers from K&L Gates
  • 65 percent met other clients of the firm
  • 100 percent of clients saw the Australian Open as a valuable exercise to connect with contacts at K&L Gates.

The methodical and successful leveraging of the firm brand and the opportunities created through the event sponsorship underscored to key business and legal decision makers in Australia that K&L Gates was indeed a formidable new player in the market.