Midlands powerhouse Wilson Browne Solicitors has been shortlisted in the annual Law Society Excellence Awards for the fourth year in a row. Wayne Jenkins, the firm’s Business Development and Marketing Director tells The Professionals why.
Wilson Browne Solicitors has six offices across Northamptonshire and Leicestershire and wears its 200-year history well. It has grown rapidly over the past decade from its private client roots building an active brand and reputation in advising the region’s business community.
Its three-strong marketing team, led by Wayne Jenkins, also has a powerful reputation for its proactivity and creativity and no more so since March when the country went into lockdown.
“Unusually for marketing, we are also responsible for a team of four that fields all of the firm’s new enquiries – some 1,500 a month,” says Wayne. “They evaluate, check conflicts and whether we can help or not, and that gives my team a really valuable insight into many of our clients’ concerns.”
And those concerns became very real when the scale and impact of the coronavirus pandemic became clear.
“Locally, we saw two distinct camps in how law firms responded,” explains Wayne. “Some pulled up the drawbridge and went quiet, and in some cases even furloughing their marketing teams.
“We took the conscious decision to continue to invest in marketing activity and in some cases increasing spend. The message was that we are still here, open and can help.
“We commissioned new creatives that included radio, online and offline ads, and a podcast hosted by a local BBC presenter with the theme of sharing information and providing reassurance under the strapline ‘Worrying from home’.
“The podcasts focused on wills, probate and family matters and deliberately did not include a call to action, suggesting listeners talk, for example, to their own lawyers or to charities like Relate. We wanted to show empathy and a human side at a very challenging time.
“The campaign also included direct to client contact, with partners sending ‘Worrying from home’ cakes to clients. We even hired a Magic Circle magician who gave online magic shows for staff, clients and their families.”
The firm was also quick off the mark with a Covid hub on its website, introduced well before the March lockdown and before any if its competitors. It remains today a go-to resource for local businesses and individuals looking for guidance and help.
The campaign continues to evolve as businesses begin to bring back staff into the workplace and children return to school. The latest messaging plays with the ‘new normal’ label, teasing those local firms who are now announcing that they are back with the strapline ‘We’re not new and we’ve never been normal’.
“I love the fact that some law firms are saying they’re back – we never went away,” says Wayne. “Our tone of voice is friendly, professional and straight to point, showing support and involvement in our communities. It is about being human.”
Measurement of the campaign is, says Wayne, important and straight forward. “We monitor new enquiries directly and web traffic has gone through the roof. Our investment in SEO, good creative, ongoing web development and pay per click is paying real dividends.”
And that is why the Law Society has shortlisted Wilson Browne Solicitors for its coveted Excellence in Marketing and Communications award.
“We have been shortlisted every year for the past four years,” says Wayne, “and whilst that is probably unmatched by any other law firm, we have, so far, always been the bridesmaid and never the bride. This year might well be different.”
The Law Society Excellence Awards will be held on 13 October.