2016 Winners: Identity Projects Totaling More Than $20,000

First Place

McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC

'When You Want a Lawyer Who Is Not Going to be All Lawery-Y About It' McBrayer Brand Refresh

SummaryYHA | McBrayer

McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC decided that it was time let go of the power suit and walk a mile in their clients' shoes—whether that be construction boots, red pumps, muck boots, loafers, tennis shoes or scrub slip-ons. McBrayer tried to humanize the law firm by using a bright color palette, an ad design with smart copy and infographics rather than gavels and new client proposals, including an actual tangible object related to the particular industry.

McBrayer defined success not by a dollar amount but by the confidence within its team members. McBrayer worked to create a new brand identity and supporting materials that would bring the extrovert out of its people. Success of this campaign was measured by the fact that lawyers are asking to use the new material so that they can meet with new clients or show their colleagues. Success was also defined by how proud the lawyers are to say they work at McBrayer.

McBrayer took the perception of lawyers from being about gavels, power suits and money-making machines and crafted an identity of innovators, thought leaders, business partners, community service partners and friends. The notion of having to contact your lawyer because you have done something wrong or you have a problem is no longer the case for McBrayer clients. They are working with clients to make them better and keep them ahead of their competitor. They are as invested in their clients' businesses as any shareholder would be. The brand of the firm has made all the difference in that perception.

While rebranding is costly at times, the amount of money spent to rebrand a firm is not just about the logo but the perception and mindset of its team members. If the team members cannot stand confidently, then the brand will collapse. McBrayer's brand and team is standing strong.

Honorable Mention

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP

Launching a New Brand: A Wider Lens on Workplace Law

SummaryYHA | Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP

With 140 lawyers, Constangy ranks as the smallest of the six major employment law firms. Business was doing well despite being in a highly competitive category, and the Executive Committee (EC) wanted to keep it that way while maintaining the firm’s culture.

With a lawyer expansion plan in the works, the EC asked the marketing team to build a new brand with an additional name on the door and a new key differentiator.

The four-person marketing team had an aggressive timeline of just five months. If the plan succeeded, the firm’s headcount would bump up 15%, with laterals from a wide range of firms and backgrounds. However, competing on size wasn’t the objective; Constangy wanted to take a bold step in its 70-year history, respond to client needs and differentiate on top-down diversity.

Data supported the strategy. RFPs require diverse teams. General counsel panels have highlighted the benefits of multicultural viewpoints. Client surveys rank diversity high. To the firm’s surprise, research suggested that Constangy would be the first in the NLJ350 to have an African American named partner.

Changing the firm name meant that practically everything needed to be revamped at once: a new logo, tagline and advertising; refreshed looks for the website, blog, social media and mobile app; and updating of letterhead, business cards, online brochures, newsletters and presentation templates. The firm would also need new promotional swag and trade show exhibits as well as a proposal resource center.

Over five months, the marketing team worked with a nine-lawyer task force on the creative approach and with eight vendors to produce deliverables. The firm drew from its progressive roots in the employment law arena: a woman partner in the 1940s (when only 3% of lawyers were women); a named partner who served on the ABA’s first EEOC committee; and the firm’s founder, a pro-management groundbreaker in the early labor union movement.

In-house marketers assessed taglines for 400 firms and logos for 200. Ultimately, Constangy’s new tagline was simple, referenced the firm’s expertise, tastefully alluded to its differentiation and lent itself well to visuals—a wider lens on workplace law.

The team chose a video and e-blast to announce the expansion and new brand to HR executives, corporate counsel and the legal community. The video featured the firm chairman (the founder’s grandson), a female EC member and the newly named partner. It allowed the firm’s heart to shine through in a way words on a page could not. The video also graced the rebranded website and social media. A comprehensive media training and outreach effort followed.

The campaign came in under budget, and, other than an updated app and completed style guide, all assets were ready by launch time.

The proposal resource center was invaluable when the firm yielded a 650% hike in RFPs in the first eight weeks. Lawyers increased by 9% on launch day, then by 20% through a second wave, exceeding the 15% goal. The firm opened new offices headed by lawyers of Asian, Hispanic and Indian descent. It saw an increase of 232% in website hits the first week, and hits have stayed up 37% since. The press coverage was also positive—with 6.8 million potential impressions across 240 outlets.