Mac Murray & Shuster (M&S) is a nationally recognized women-owned boutique firm with a dedicated focus on consumer protection and privacy regulatory compliance and litigation. The firm came to Notable for a brand refresh and a content strategy to drive growth, as well as a clearer message to attract the right clients. Because the litigation and regulatory law landscape is complex and technical, MacMurray & Shuster needed a strategy to translate offerings into understandable benefits that would be clear to potential clients.
Sector: Professional Services | Subtype: Law Firm
MacMurray & Shuster was an established regulatory compliance and consumer protection law firm in Ohio. Their image conveyed them as a small firm, but their experience and credibility gave them the potential to serve customers well outside the local market, and they needed brand messaging and visuals to convey those broad capabilities to their target market: general counsel inside big companies.
The company had lofty revenue goals and a visionary partner intent on driving organic growth through marketing, organic growth with existing clients, a strong social media presence, and clear brand equity to attract talent. The firm was evolving, and the partners were moving from being lawyers to running a successful business. They hired a director of marketing, and equipped her with an agency partner to execute on the vision: Notable.
An analysis of the firm’s properties revealed significant opportunities in messaging. Though they presented lots of information through a capabilities deck and on the site, there was no clear story being told, and too many practice areas were listed to suggest expertise in any one. Additionally, the visual branding spoke to small businesses, while the bulk of compliance legal work comes from data and tech companies. The firm needed a more innovative appearance.
Deals were often closed by high-billing partners, taking them away from their key focus. The firm needed messaging and a brand that made it clear exactly what they did and that they were the best, without needing the partners to drive the point home. Furthermore, the firm’s ongoing growth would depend on clients reaching out ahead of compliance problems instead of only when they were in crisis. Educating clients around the need to build a proactive compliance strategy was the focus.
Visually, the color palatte moved from manila to yellow, and included friendlier blue tones to complement the deep blue that anchored the brand. Blues also served to make the firm more appealing to the tech sector. We introduced a sans serif font, augmenting it with a serif font that spoke equally well to tech and traditional audiences.
Perhaps most critically, the engagement changed the culture within the firm in two relevant ways. For one, because all the partners came together to focus on how to articulate what they were trying to do, each team member left with a clear understanding of where they were going and how to talk about it. A consistent message arose. The second major impact was a firm-wide realization of the importance of marketing as a growth accelerator. Where budgets had previously been held back, after seeing the impact of this work, the firm dedicated ongoing funds to their marketing efforts.
The engagement began with a call that included the entire firm - a big undertaking for high-billing attorneys - one that showed their dedication to the process. The call revealed that they way the firm talked about compliance law wasn’t understandable to the average person, and that with so many offerings, their obvious strength in regulatory compliance law was being overshadowed. The exercise resulted in agreement around a common language that could be used to talk about the business, and honed in on their differentiators.
Once there was consensus around their unique selling proposition, the firm considered the 18 practice areas listed on the site. The quantity of offerings muddied the real expertise and credibility of the firm. By rearchitecting their offerings, it became clearer to potential clients that they had deep expertise in a few key areas. This process took time, and we went through several iterations. Ultimately, this crystal clear strategic focus drove development of a new user interface.
MacMurray & Shuster already had a strong logo in place, but the colors and typeface needed an update to make the logo and assets function better on a wide variety of materials and backgrounds. The new logo encompassed a more modern feel, using a bolder, darker background and vibrant accents. The goal was to create a new age appearance that was younger and more innovative than typical law firm branding, since one of the revenue growth goals the firm set was dependent on attracting tech and data companies.
The existing capabilities deck the firm used contained all the right information, but it was so text heavy and daunting that it wasn’t doing a good job of communicating their real value. We streamlined the document, showcasing the personality and key capabilities that would work well to prime key prospects for a future sales conversation. Rather than giving too much information up front, we sought to highlight the key differentiators agreed upon in previous steps in the branding process, inviting further conversation.
The final step was to develop refreshed page designs and a restyling and simplyfing of the website. Using the vibrant, modern colors and designs created for the collateral and capabilities deck, the site became clearer and more useful to clients and potential clients. Focus elements showcased the deep experience of the partners in regulatory law, highlighting their expertise in a way that visually aligned to the companies they sought to work with.
One of the biggest challenges MacMurray & Shuster faced was the perception that regulatory compliance was something companies should worry about if and when they ran into trouble. But the truth is, proactive compliance is a business process like any other. This was the service area where MacMurray & Shuster excelled. The firm needed a content engine that would drive discoverability and educate their audience about the importance of proactive compliance.
The partners and attorneys knew they had valuable information to share - insights that could help companies stay out of trouble, but their ability to produce quality and consistent content, and distribute it through the right channels for discovery was limited by their workloads. It didn’t make sense to dedicate high-billing attorneys to writing blog posts, but because of the complexity of the work they do and the clients they serve, there didn’t seem to be other options.
The secret to building organic growth for MacMurray & Shuster was delivering high-value content in the right channels at the right times for discovery. The firm had been limited by a convoluted message and by the fact that having attorneys distracted from their lucrative hourly work to write content didn’t make sense. They needed to get informative content from their subject matter experts (the attorneys) without demanding much of their valuable time.
The key message to communicate anchored on the value of proactive compliance, and the idea that compliance wasn’t just a checklist to be completed once a year. Instead, it was an ongoing and dedicated function in healthy businesses, especially those in their target market - companies pulling in consumer data, marketing to consumers via email and telephone, and those companies charged with safeguarding personal data, who could not afford a crisis.
MacMurray & Shuster benefitted from Notable’s expert interview process, which allowed them to generate one month of content from a single hour of an attorney’s time. After identifying topics, we built an editorial production calendar, set up interviews, and recorded interviews with the attorneys. Those one-hour focused interviews provided enough content that could be edited and producing into long-form content, social posts, video and audio clips that could be distributed on both the firm page and on the attorney’s personal profiles to drive discoverability through several channels.
There was extensive existing media owned by the firm, to add to the new content, repurposed to produce timely, relevant, and educational material that drove home the key message of proactive compliance preparation. These efforts established a steady cadence of high quality content that drove leads and connections back to the firm and positioned the attorneys to drive proactive business.
The challenge for MacMurray & Shuster was to provide information about proactive compliance that would drive ongoing business, but there was a clear need to educate potential clients. Instead of thinking of regulatory compliance only when they were in trouble, MacMurray & Shuster’s audience needed to think of it as an ongoing business need, like any other. The firm educated potential clients and drove engagement with consistent and compelling visual branding tied to clear, understandable messages that showcased their expertise.
Short videos showcased the connection between personal and corporate liability in understandble terms.
Highlighting partner expertise through video made the firm more approachable and relatable.
Tying topics directly to an overarching strategy kept messaging aligned and clearly focused.
The firm focused on email privacy and auto-renewal laws as a way to highlight the importance of ongoing vigilance over consumer data practices.
As new regulatory areas like legal cannibis evolved, the firm captured clients by demonstrating expertise early.
The custom designed newsletter we created for MacMurray & Shuster created a polished platform for them to share information, formatted much like a print magazine might be. This clear and concise format gave them ways to point back to longer-form content and highlight upcoming events.Though regular newsletters feel like a daunting task to many C-suite executives, production can be made simple by pulling from editorial assets already built throughout the month.
The monthly newsletter recipe: