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“I have been hugely impressed by Melissa. She has a wealth of experience and contacts and this, together with her proactive approach, enables her to achieve first class results.” Jonathan Hand, Barrister, Outer Temple Chambers

Tommy Hill British Superbike Champion opens the offices of Fletchers, leading bike injury solicitors firm

50 Shades of $$$

February 27th, 2015 | Posted by Melissa in Blog - (Comments Off)
Melissa Davis

Whether or not you read the book (did you?) there has been no escaping the 50 Shades of Grey publicity wagon as it rolled into action before the official release of the film on 14th February. It was greeted with the same hysteria as a new Star Wars film or the potential of a Breaking Bad sequel, although perhaps with more intensity thanks to Jamie Dornan in the role of Christian Grey. However, as we have since discovered, the film might have been a staggering success in its opening week in the US ($85.1 million) but ticket sales have since dropped an eye watering 73%. Although perhaps that’s not surprising – if any movie was going to finish too fast and then disappear it was this one (sorry…).

With any momentous marketing success it’s always worth taking a look at what it was that made it such a rip-roaring winner and whether that’s translatable into other sectors. So, what lessons can be learned from 50 Shades that don’t involve a blindfold and a whip?

Marketing can be more powerful than perfection

Let’s face it, the reviews for 50 Shades the book were pretty shocking from a writing perspective and before the film was released it was already being criticized for everything from too much sex to not enough. However, such was the furore around the film that it was an unstoppable tidalwave thanks to some very cleverly placed teaser trailers and a marketing campaign that stimulated the public enough to overcome any hesitation about buying a ticket.

Lesson: develop a marketing strategy that focuses on the most positive salient points and maximise those points in your communications. Accept that we all have imperfections and develop a strategy to deal with the negatives as well – complaints, disputes or trolling. If you can think quickly it’s often possible to turn these into positives too.

There’s no such thing as too much publicity?

Well this depends on your sector obviously but if your product is salacious and sex-based then, no, there probably isn’t. Not for some time has a film been swathed in so much gossip and scandal months before it was released but all this did for potential viewers was to make them want to see it and judge for themselves. The point here is that the film was being hyped, gossiped about and anticipated by many different sources, including by the author who has a huge Twitter following.

Lesson: don’t skimp on the marketing, get everyone involved. Choose the marketing channels that allow you to best access your target audience and then focus on understanding them and breaking them open.

Who’s the star?

It has to be said that the producers were onto a winner when they picked Dornan (even though he was a second choice). He is the perfect marketing strategy star and – if they’re honest – many cinema goers might admit that perhaps they just bought a ticket to spend 125 minutes enjoying his shirtless scenes.

Lesson: do identify a star for your marketing strategy i.e. those elements that really sell the business and make it unique and more appealing than the others on the market. You don’t have to take your shirt off unless you think it will help.

This blog first appeared on the Huffington Post website.

Technology, the catwalk and the law?

February 24th, 2015 | Posted by Melissa in Blog - (Comments Off)
Melissa Davis

Fashion week has just happened in the capital. Whether you were aware of the annual style jamboree descending on Somerset House – and venues throughout the city – or not, this is one of the events for which London has become world-famous. This is partly because many of the biggest designers show here – Burberry, Jonathan Saunders and Vivienne Westwood to name a few – but also because London has led the way with respect to innovating fashion week from an exclusive and inaccessible occasion for those who can beg, buy or steal an invite to an event that is now open to a much wider audience. Why? Well mostly because of a willingness to embrace modern technology.

Image considerations

If there was ever an industry that needed an image overhaul it was the fashion industry. Bitchy, starved, cat fighting models parading anorexic figures down catwalks in outfits that cost more than your mortgage payments to a tiny audience of overpaid industry figures, many of whom were still sartorially stuck in the 80s, was one way that I heard fashion week described before the arrival of technology onto its ‘scene.’ Is there a comparison here with the legal industry? Perhaps in the way that it has had its own marketing issues with public perceptions and ivory towers, there might be. So could the legal sector follow where fashion week has led? Possibly yes.

Losing the exclusivity

I have blogged about this subject before – the way that London fashion week was one of the first to introduce live streaming of catwalk shows, the fact that you can keep up with all the events taking place simply by following the live tweeting, and the reality that bloggers, rather than fashion editors, are now taking many of those coveted front row seats. This is a serious embracing of technology in order to open up the bare bones of an industry that was previously very precious about offering insider status only to the privileged few. However, the reality is that rather than destroying its appeal, getting rid of this exclusivity has turned London fashion week into a huge marketing opportunity for the industry. As the deconstruction of large parts of the legal sector as we knew it continues thanks to the Legal Services Act, could this kind of openness also work for law firms?

Trendsetting

It’s worth noting that it’s not just a willingness to embrace technology that London fashion week has excelled at but also a desire to drive it forward. Fashion insiders have been seriously innovative with respect to the way that technology has been employed, not stopping at hashtags (although there were 498,338 #LFW hashtags on Instagram alone during fashion week in September, which is a pretty impressive feat). For example, catwalk shows in previous seasons were live streamed into Topshop stores and customers could participate using the Topshop show hashtag to have their own images posted onto the giant screen in the flagship store window. Burberry introduced the ‘buy now’ button into its SS15 show, admittedly just for nail varnish, but pushing a purchasing boundary nevertheless. And that’s before you even consider how London was the first fashion week to really broach the ‘wearable tech’ fashion phenomenon that is creeping over the horizon. In short, while the same techniques might not apply exactly from fashion to law, I have a sneaking suspicion that the attitudes might – an enthusiasm for embracing technology and investment in developing it to innovate delivery of legal services might be exactly what the sector needs to enable it to start setting trends rather than simply following.

How to inspire your audience in 2015

February 9th, 2015 | Posted by Melissa in Blog - (Comments Off)

Melissa Davis

It’s still early in the new year and that means that if there are areas of your digital marketing strategy that you have let slide a little it’s a great time to resolve to give them some more attention. For many of us, creating an audience for our social media is one of the hardest things to do – a genuinely interactive audience that will contribute, share and promote your brand doesn’t simply spring up from nowhere. If you don’t yet have this for your social media presence and you want to inspire it then here are a few suggestions on how to do it.

Engage with social video. This is one of the huge trends for digital marketing in 2015 – video is going to be the most popular form of content this year so you may as well get to grips with it now. There are some enormous advantages to social video use, as this is a great way to deliver an emotionally compelling version of your story and to directly engage your audience with something other than written words. If you want to really make the most of this trend next year then start creatively applying socially share-able video to your brand, whether that’s a tour of your people, client testimonial videos or footage of an event.

Be agile. Although there are dangers associated with bandwagon jumping, the most successful social media accounts are often those that are able to incorporate external news and influences and make them relevant to their audience. If doing this is a stretch then avoid it, as it will be painfully obvious to your followers. However, if you can take a trending topic/news event and creatively and credibly apply it to your field then you could trigger an enormous wave of responses – remember that people want to share, talk and contribute, you just need to give them a reason to do it.

Be human. There’s always a temptation in a profession like law to steer clear of a social media voice that is ‘too human.’ There is merit to this with respect to avoiding unprofessional jokes, offensive posts and anything that might make your brand seem less than professional. However, in 2015 consumers are predicted to flock to those social media voices where they can actually have a conversation and away from robotic voices that are dry and uninteresting. Don’t hide the human side of the legal profession, this is part of what will differentiate you from the competition in the coming months.

Focus on inbound marketing and organic attraction. Digital marketing strategies are much more subtle than they used to be. Gone are the days of buying popularity or following formulas to establish yourself, now you must have an intuitive understanding of your audience in order to build organic bridges. Start by creating content that will offer value to your audience – not the web as a whole but the consumers you want to attract – and then make it findable. Switch your efforts to inbound marketing (SEO, blogging etc) and attract customers to you, instead of wasting energy pursuing them.

 

 

We’re only one month into 2015 and already you’re probably tired of hearing people exclaiming with open mouths how this is the year that Robert Zemeckis’s 1989 movie Back to the Future II spent the first half an hour of the film in. The exact date Marty McFly appeared at was of course 21 October 2015 (expect BTF fans to go nutsaround autumn then) but, whether it’s because it makes us feel old or we somehow can’t shake the feeling that we might just see a Delorean if we’re in the right place at the right time, this fact has really captured the nation (and the world). The Back to the Future II film spends only 30 minutes in 2015, but how much of it did the creators of this epic adventure get right and where did they fail?

Eye and fingerprint scanning – the film implies that by 2015 we will be using eye and finger print scanners as identification, which of course is exactly what has happened. We haven’t yet reached the point that we see in the film though where private homes can only be opened by a scanner, rather than a key.

High tech specs – in BTF II we witness numerous times people putting on high tech glasses that can do everything from accessing databases to magnifying items. This invention is remarkably similar to the Google Glass, begging the question of which one came first?

Flying cars – we’d love to be able to say that the film had been right about this one, as a world of flying cars was the fantasy of just about every futuristic film maker throughout the 1980s and 1990s. However, although the flying car does exist it’s certainly not on mass release and unlikely to be for some time. Which is probably something of a relief when you consider what rush hour might be like in London without road markings.

Hover boards – perhaps the most iconic Back to the Future invention, people have been trying to pioneer the hover board ever since it first appeared on our screens. You’ll be pleased to know that they do exist but perhaps disappointed to realise that no manufacturer has really every been able to overcome the simple problem of gravity and make one that functions as Marty’s does in the films. A company called Hendo, working with skateboarder Tony Hawk, has probably come the closest and is currently working on a prototype.

The Internet – not mentioned at all during the film, perhaps one of the biggest boo boos made by the researchers. But then it was probably impossible to predict the enormous impact that the web would have had on our world all the way back then unless you had a direct line to Tim Berners Lee.

Lawyers – funnily enough, in BTF II lawyers have been ‘abolished’ which the film implies leads to a justice system (in America at least) that is much faster. Happily, this is one of the film’s predictions that turned out to be untrue ;)

 

2015 social media marketing predictions

January 19th, 2015 | Posted by Melissa in Blog - (Comments Off)

2015 is upon us and that means it’s time to look at the year ahead and try to get some idea of what trends and strategies might be the best to invest in for those looking to enhance social media marketing over the next 12 months. If your social media strategy needs a bit of an overhaul then here are some of the biggest social media marketing predictions for 2015 to bear in mind.

1. Too much information. By 2020, the amount of information that will be online will have increased by 600% and so one of the biggest hurdles we’re likely to start seeing this year is how to fight through all that info to get to the important bits. This makes one of the biggest immediate marketing challenges cutting through all the increasing volume of information that everyone else is putting out there and gaining the attention of your client base. This is going to mean contending with filters used by consumers to make sure they’re not overwhelmed by information and possibly moving away from platforms like Facebook, which simply have too much on them.

2. Google+. There is a huge division in opinion over what will happen to Google+ this year. Some believe that, as a result of the Google Local Search results and the star rating system, Google+ is likely to go stratospheric in 2015. Others point out that it has no unique value not already brought to the table by Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Either way it’s a platform to keep an eye on, either to develop or to drop.

3. Social media needs a human touch. Many brands have historically simply used their social media presence as a kind of loudspeaker, broadcasting views, publicising content and generally shouting loudly about achievements, developments and news at any opportunity. This isn’t going to work in 2015 as social media now requires humanising – it needs to be an interactive process that sees meaningful connections established and conversations had with clients and consumers rather than at them. Interactive is going to be the key word for effective social media over the next 12 months.

4. Relationship building and experience enablement become key. In law, client relationships have always been at the heart of a strong business but from this year the nature of those relationships is going to change dramatically. Customer service is going to be at the heart of social media experience – and the legal industry – like never before so it’s going to become crucial to employ people who not only understand this but can practically do it too. More and more, clients are going to turn to social media to register complaints, to seek advice or to make judgments about firms in terms of both the rate at which they keep up with client technology expectations and how accessible they are via platforms like Twitter.

5. Video is king. Experts all over the globe are predicting that in 2015 video is going to become the content of choice. However, the way it is delivered to consumers is likely to change, as YouTube will be replaced by other social media platforms hosting video internally instead.