Your reputation is your most valuable asset

Attorney Advertising [a caution and some humor]

This blog is not about advertising. But a forwarded link from a collegue caught my eye and since it holds many lessons for other sorts of image and messageing and media relationships I'm including it [below]. Plus, you know, the examples are funny.

Ahhhh.... Attorneys advertising. Love it. Hate it. Attorney advertising is still controversial many years after most professional prohibitions were removed.

Advocates say it is only fair that attorneys can advertise as other business people do. They claim ads make their critical services known to more people.

Opponents rail against ads and claim they diminish the profession and give false impressions of 'jackpot justice' to both the public and lawmakers.

This group of ads will give ammo to the latter camp.

Take a look. Even if you *never* do *anything* like this [and of course you never will] note these extreme examples and how they plug in to the advice in this blog about professionalism, message, myth, theme, media relationships and just plain decent common sense.

'List Of The Day' collects bad attorney ads

Media and myth

This is normally a staid, conservative, by-the-numbers blog. Tips. Lists. Real world examples.

This entry is a bit different.

I'm going to encourage you to think about how your story, your firm's story, your clients' story, fits into an existing myth.

Before you panic and assume I'm off my meds, let me explain.

People are attracted to stories. Story telling is among the oldest human art forms and one of the most effective forms of communication. Most people have an almost infinite capacity for digesting stories. Movies, TV, fiction, gossip.... People love stories and a significant portion of your fellow citizens consume almost no other form of information.

There is a certain class of stories, myths, that are especially effective vehicles for communicating information. Myths not only take ordinary human events and project them as larger than life so as to show them in greater detail, myths also plug into universal truths.

Again: I like examples. Here are some examples.

Is your story a 'Rags to Riches' story? Did your firm start from nothing and end up being the largest firm of its type in the city, or the state? Did you bootstrap yourself up from a deprived background through law school? Did your law partner overcome a handicap? Did your client beat incredible odds only to face an unfair accusation or fall victim to an avoidable tragedy?

Are you or your firm classic 'underdogs?' Maybe your story should spotlight that? Americans love underdogs who keep trying and never give up.

Or maybe you or your clients are 'rebels?' Are you different somehow? Did you succeed by ignoring the naysayers and bucking conventional wisdom?

By finding such universal stories and framing your media exposure in those terms you will find many advantages. Journalists will already 'know' how to write such a story. They know what a rebel is, or an underdog. There will be icons and symbols readily available for comparison. Your story will be more memorable. And perhaps most important, you will reduce the chance that your story will be misconstrued as a 'bad' story. If you can, for example, convincingly portray your firm as an 'underdog' you will have also necessarily painted your firm as plucky, persistent, likable, determined, hard-working and worthy of notice and admiration.

With such a frame your new, inexperienced firm can positively glow.

Without such a frame you might instead just come across as just new and inexperienced.

Think about your story. Think about how it might be plugged into a myth. Use those images and words to sell your story to the media.

How not to deal with the media: example #467

I ran across this news story from New Mexico and could not help sharing it.

While this article concerns a public official --not an attorney-- sad to say I have heard stories of attorneys handling ambush journalists in this very fashion.

Don't you be the one to provide me with the next amusing 'bad example' story....