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Keep thought leadership agile, says Howard Kennedy

Law firm Howard Kennedy has launched a new thought leadership campaign that explores business agility.

It is a campaign that has had to flex too, says Rachel Orrett, Head of Marketing & Communications at Howard Kennedy and Andrew Walker at Module Studio.

Howard Kennedy in 2019 refreshed its corporate brand creating the building blocks for business development at a firm, practice and individual level, with thought leadership a key component.

“Activity at an individual and team level was working well, and back in 2019 we started exploring a theme for thought leadership that all of our lawyers could talk to,” explains Rachel. “We settled on business transformation and agility, looking to dispel the myth that smaller businesses are more agile than large corporates.” 

The campaign kicked-off with a mix of deep-dive client interviews and a larger survey of 500 business leaders. The results were presented to Howard Kennedy’s leadership team in January 2020 just before the full impact of the Covid pandemic were felt.

Naturally, the firm’s focus shifted more to internal communications and client support and the campaign was temporarily shelved.

“We picked up the research in the summer of 2020, commissioning a second survey exploring the changing attitudes towards business agility as a result of the Covid pandemic,” says Rachel. “The campaign took a new direction as a result of Covid and became more interesting.”

The two surveys have given Howard Kennedy a rich source of data that has seen the publication of two reports – the first on the impact of the pandemic and the second on the drivers behind agility.

The past 12 months have seen a sharp rise in thought leadership and content from law firms, and Howard Kennedy looked to create a campaign that would engage clients in multiple ways.

“We worked with Howard Kennedy’s marketing and business development team to bring this campaign to life,” says Andrew Walker at Module Studio. “The digital report includes dynamic content that grabs attention. The other campaign assets include a print version, digital teasers, a LinkedIn carousel, and animations for social media.

“Clients still want longer reports but need more impactful campaign assets to draw them in and start conversations. This campaign delivers that.”

The campaign is still in its early post-launch phase, with Howard Kennedy’s marketing and BD team leading a strong programme of internal engagement.

“The internal programme includes firmwide webinar briefings, email, an intranet and desktop take-over, and sessions with practice and sector teams to drive internal engagement,” explains Rachel

The campaign has been deliberately designed to give it a long shelf life allowing it to respond to the rapidly changing landscape. Campaign assets are, says Rachel, created to encourage partner client conversations over the next nine months.

“The research will also see further reports published on topics such as diversity of decision making and gender differences. We will also revisit with further research in the autumn and possible in 2022 to build on the campaign.”

Creating a campaign that engages both internal and external audiences over a prolonged window is no easy feat, but the Howard Kennedy team, supported by a strong creative and research team, are on the right track with agility built into its thought leadership programme.

Visit www.howardkennedy.com/keepagile  

Matt Baldwin
Co-founder – Coast Communications

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