2016 Winners: Promotional and Collateral Materials — Newsletter or Alert (Internal or External)

First Place

Sherman & Howard L.L.C.

Colorado Construction Monitor

SummaryYHA | Sherman & Howard L.L.C.

In 2014, Sherman & Howard L.L.C.’s construction lawyers approached the marketing department to help maintain and grow their position as one of the top practice groups within the construction industry—just as the market began to ramp up with new building activity. The group was looking to increase visibility with potential clients and grow existing relationships through credible data and market knowledge.

Working with in-house resources and public data sets, Sherman & Howard’s marketing department developed a statistical index to measure construction-related activity in Colorado and the surrounding intermountain region. The index served as a proprietary indicator that highlighted the growth or decline in the industry and the relative health of the market.

The unique data set and market intelligence allowed Sherman & Howard’s attorneys to engage clients, prospects and industry leaders in key discussions about the state of the economy and construction industry as a market thought leader.

The practice group has seen increased media exposure and a strengthening of client relationships, resulting in a 4-6% increase in revenue.

Second Place

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

Videocasts! The Bottom Line — All You Need to Know in Under 5 Minutes

SummaryYHA | Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

What is the bottom line? It’s everything a client needs to know on a specific legal hot topic of interest all presented in less than five minutes. Oh yes, one more thing—it’s a video.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP sought to differentiate itself from other law firms by delivering less than five minute videos to client email boxes on issues important to them. This project entailed the implementation of business development videos on Sutherland’s website, creation of processes to shoot and cut videos, new collateral for distribution, analytics and an ongoing marketing campaign.

Sutherland wanted to make it easier for clients to view the published content, to spend more time on its website and to digest additional content beyond the videocasts, such as biographies, practice profiles, articles, experience and legal alerts. The firm’s goal was for visitors of the site to see it as a resource rather than a static advertisement.

Sutherland began the process by looking inside and outside of the legal industry. According to their research, few firms had ventured into the video realm and, those that had, were employing long videos about themselves. Sutherland’s research indicated that how-to videos are heavily watched on YouTube, ostensibly because the videos are short and address an immediate issue. The firm continued A/B testing and realized less than five minute videos were clicked upon more often and watched in their entirety. Sutherland also confirmed its theory that clients wanted videos that help bring light to an impending issue for their organizations.

There were two main obstacles to overcome before starting production: how to keep attorneys to less than five minutes and produce ongoing cost-conscious videos. Sutherland overcame the first with facts derived from analytics, not opinions.

An equally daunting task was being able to shoot videocasts on an ongoing basis without the steep pricing normally associated with video shoots. Instead of buying equipment, Sutherland teamed up with a business partner that supports each Sutherland office without travel. This route proved to be fruitful and gave birth to one of the firm’s most successful relationships with a business partner. To keep shoot costs low, the video layout needed to be easily replicated. The problem was solved by publishing two production manuals.

Sutherland began educating its business managers on the benefits of videocasts over longer videos, articles and newsletters. Attorneys were armed with knowledge of the different mediums they could pursue—a videocast, a newsletter, an article or a combination while the chief business development and marketing officer and marketing technology manager met with the entire partnership to discuss the pros of videocasts in a crowded market. A process was developed allowing the firm to schedule a videocast within days of a request.

The videocasts were moved through numerous channels under the marketing campaign, “The Bottom Line—All You Need to Know in Under 5 Minutes,” including on the firm’s site, mobile site and YouTube Channel as well as on Law360 and via email to targeted lists.

Sutherland’s initial goals were exceeded. With a videocast in the mix, on average, users spend 3.5 times as long on the firm’s website and digest nearly three times as much content. Many prospects also reached out to Sutherland after watching the videocasts—sometimes upwards of three prospects per video.

Third Place

Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP

Benson Briefs

SummaryYHA | Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP

Despite a robust firm news section on its intranet and Benson Briefs, a weekly email that reports Benson news, Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP’s employees commonly were unaware of important information and engaging timekeepers was particularly problematic. The business development and marketing team sought to better engage and inform employees, especially partners, on firm developments. The answer was a fresh approach to the firm’s internal newsletter, reimagining it with humor and cultural references.

After reviewing low intranet readership statistics and reading The Skimm—a news email with a fast-growing subscriber base and incredible 40% open rate—the team adopted a strategy of spicing up the news with pithy commentary. The firm’s intranet still provided straightforward news stories, but the team was able to better leverage Benson Briefs as a second attempt to draw attention to firm news by using a catchy writing style.

To reimagine the newsletter, a marketing writer reviewed types of internal news and developed four fresh newsletter headings: “Who’s Having the Best Week Ever?” (i.e., client successes); “ People Who Can Answer Your Questions About …” (i.e., highlights on lateral hires); “Share This …” (i.e, content marketing pieces to share with contacts); “What We’re Talking About …” (i.e., media highlights). Creative and catchy responses to these headings formed the basis of the newsletter.

Like The Skimm, Benson Briefs includes various unique sections to keep readers interested. To keep it short, only the week’s most meaningful Benson content is included, with links to full stories. Email subject lines highlighted that week’s theme or an interesting story to grab attention. Emails were narrated by “The Briefers,” and content occasionally tied into current events and holidays as appropriate.

The team also visually redesigned Benson Briefs to reflect the playful approach. The former design included a photo of the firm’s co-founder John Benson, which was softened to a cartoon.

The team re-launched Benson Briefs on October 31, 2014. Using humor to engage employees was a unique approach for a law firm. Faegre Baker Daniels’s other internal communications pieces are straightforward. As a result, employees notice when they receive Benson Briefs on Friday mornings. Getting lawyers comfortable with presenting firm news irreverently—but still respectfully—was challenging, but the team successfully increased internal news readership and received positive feedback firm wide. The re-launch kept employees better apprised of important information,  leading to more effective internal collaboration.