In this episode of the Legal Marketing 2.0 Podcast, Guy is joined by Stephen Clark the Senior Marketing and Communications Manager at Brown Rudnick, where he oversees the firm’s PR and digital marketing efforts. Stephen is based in New York and joined the firm in 2021 after managing digital communications at Hubbard & Read for 10 years. Before joining the legal industry, Stephen was an award-winning journalist who served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and as a politics editor for the Washington, D.C., Bureau of FoxNews.com.
1. How did the pandemic affect your firm’s digital marketing strategy?
So I joined the firm in November of 2021. I learned pretty quickly that Brown Rudnick was among the early adopters of digital marketing and social media. The firm joined Twitter in 2011, Facebook in 2012, and Instagram in 2017. From my perspective, I found the firm’s history on Facebook and Instagram noteworthy. Considering that your inaugural Social Law Firm Index in 2013, reported that 64% of Amlaw 200 firms had a presence on Facebook, and Beck reported only 31% of Amlaw 200 firms had a presence on Instagram. So yeah, I thought that was pretty noteworthy. Instagram, definitely more so than Facebook. But, history aside, the pandemic greatly reduced our activity on Facebook and Instagram, which are our primary platforms for sharing photos and videos of our lawyers and business professionals. We decided, as the pandemic began to subside, that we wanted to renew our commitment to those platforms, Facebook and Instagram, and we started sharing more content, including a new partner. All in all, I would say, the biggest change in our firm’s digital marketing strategy during the pandemic was the introduction of our podcast. We began producing them, and in May 2020, just a couple of months after the pandemic began.
2. In our 2022 Social Law Firm Index, Brown Rudnick came in fifth place in the Instagram category. What strategies have been most successful on the platform?
We’re still just shocked about our ranking. Our success in your indexing, and we’re very pleased about it. Especially given, as I’ve mentioned before, just the events of the pandemic, and how it really affected our strategy. So, when we revived our Instagram feed in early 2022, we really focused on showing our humanity, diversity, and our tight-knit workplace culture. Yeah, I mean, look, I’m sure a lot of firms talk about the culture there. But I mean at Brown Rudnick it really is a close culture and if you go on our Instagram feed you’ll see a lot of these photos and videos of our firm outings, firm initiatives, and sponsored events; including the Yankees game for our summer associates. Instagram is such a great platform for this type of content because people engage in it in a different way, whether it’s seeing faces, or hearing voices, you just know.
3. What lessons did you learn from the Johnny Depp trial about digital marketing for law firms?
Legal marketers, we always want to fully capitalize on high-profile events to ensure that we maximize the exposure of our brand and our digital presence. However, when that trial began in April, we actually came up with a counterintuitive strategy for anything related to that case or to the trial. We went dark on social media. Now that strategy was driven in large part by the judge presiding over the case. She issued an AAG order, and of course, as marketers, we wanted to honor that order. So, with the exception of a very short media advisory, describing our role in the trial posted only on our website, not on social media. Despite the gag order, in the back of my head. I’m thinking there are still ways around it. There are still things we could do. We can just sneak out there, but we didn’t do that, and God, you can imagine all the teeth grinding, sweaty palms, and sleepless nights that came with that decision.
When high-profile opportunities for publicity emerge, don’t be afraid to let your work speak for itself. And as times of uncertainty emerge, look for new opportunities to market your firm given the changes.
Check out author Stephen Clark: https://www.stephenclarkbooks.com/
Find Brown Rudnick here.
Check out our newest ebook The Law Firm Guide to Podcasting here