Is your message what you say it is – let’s say, your positioning strategy that results in a tagline – is that your message? Or, is your message what others say about you, or post about you on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest?
Marketoonist Tom Fishburne spoke at Google’s marketing conference in New York last week. A theme of the conference was that we all need to tell better stories. In his September 16th blog post, he writes,
“Many of us were trained in the Single Minded Proposition school of marketing, where you succinctly repeat what your brand stands for in every brand communication: “Volvo equals safety”, “Volvo equals safety”, “Volvo equals safety”.
In today’s two-way conversational world with brands and consumers, brand communication is more complicated. We need a variety of messages, and we can’t script every interaction. If we only remind consumers that “Volvo equals safety”, they will quickly tune us out. Rather than cram our SMP into every communication, we need a variety of things to say. Our brands need editorial calendars more than slogans.”
He goes on to say that we have to be willing to relinquish some control in our brand
communications. This “marketoon” exactly illustrates the struggle that many law firms have in defining and crafting their brand messages, whether using old or new media.
Many law firms still want to be something to everyone. Lawyers are still concerned that if they don’t have a message that appeals to the universe of clients they could potentially serve, they will forfeit the riches they are destined to have. Decades of successful brand marketing has proven, however, that narrowing your message to a point where you can own the real estate in your buyer’s mind is the far more effective strategy.
Identifying a position that is differentiating, coupled with a script designed for social media conversations is the ideal formula today. So – dig deep to find your distinguishing position, then wrap it in the stories that will support it, or, as we say, pay it off. Exploit social media to tell your brand stories (avoiding the tell-them-everything hashtag example above) – but expect that others will contribute their ideas and perspective to it. If your core message rings true, chances are that the conversations will be supportive and consistent with it. If your message doesn’t resonate as true, meaning that your audiences don’t believe you, they will share their experiences they’ve had with you that contradict what you say and are hoping to project.
A positioning strategy is supposed to be grounded in the essence of who you are. It’s always been that way. With social media, it’s even more critical, because anyone can post a dissenting, excoriating opinion about you.
In his Google presentation, Fishburne says, “It is sometimes tempting to think that the technology is enough. We sometimes get so excited about the shiny new thing that we forget about the actual big marketing idea needed to take advantage of the shiny new thing.”
Focus on your message first. Focus on the media distribution second. And remember that the best referrals of new business are still word of mouth. There are just more options available today to spread the good word about you and your firm.