Projects and programs are not the same thing. A project is something that has a beginning and an end. It’s execution-oriented and usually has a lower-level person assigned to it. A program, on the other hand, is usually ongoing and evolving with the eyes of senior management on it. This according to Kalev Peekna, Chief Strategist at One North Interactive, at the recent LMA conference.
When you think about projects and programs in this way, you can re-think how to scope budgets. More and more professional firms are moving to quarterly as opposed to annual budgets as they’re more predictable in terms of the amount of money being spent. It also means you don’t have to go to management with a big ask once a year. It’s easier (and more palatable) to go in for smaller amounts, quarterly.
When thinking about your program and budgets, it’s wise to scope to the budget – not budget to the scope. This means you’re looking at programs in terms of what you can do for the amount of money you have during a specific timeframe instead of thinking you can’t get started because you don’t have enough money for the grand plan, or having to abandon a grand plan, leaving it unfinished and ineffective because of an empty wallet.
As a part of our Cultural Camaraderie program, the Berbay team took a trip to the Natural History Museum in Downtown Los Angeles, and even got a behind-the-scenes tour of its Dinosaur Institute.
We learned about the labor-intensive process of collecting dinosaur fossils. In some areas, it’s not possible to use cars to carry fossils, as the tires could create ravines and alter the landscape. Instead, paleontologists have to walk long distances and hand-carry the bones, which can weigh a few hundred pounds!
My favorite part of the museum was its Butterfly Pavilion – a seasonal exhibit that features hundreds of free-flying butterflies, including the California native monarch. It was a little alarming to have them fly so close to me, but it was a beautiful sight to see them up close.
Berbay recently launched its Cultural Camaraderie program with a focus on exploring the vibrant culture that is Los Angeles as a stimulus for innovative thinking and creativity, as well as encouraging team building.
Take a look at some of the pictures from our trip!
Speaking at a conference, CLE event or workshop is a great marketing opportunity—as long as you know how to take advantage of it. According to Hire an Esquire, speaking engagements are the second most useful lead generation tool, right behind referrals. If you have a captive audience, don’t waste your chance to convert them into regular clients. Here’s how.
Do start planning early.
Many of the more well-known conferences start planning next year’s agenda as soon as the last guest at this year’s event is out the door, so plan accordingly. Keep a running list of every relevant venue, note application deadlines and make it a habit to periodically scan your list and see if anything is upcoming. And in the meantime, it never hurts to brush up on your public speaking skills in your spare time by taking a class or joining a club like Toastmasters.
Don’t be afraid to make an investment.
Plenty of conferences are free to participate in, but if those are the only ones you’re considering you could be missing a huge opportunity. If you have room in your marketing budget, it’s worth every penny you have to get in front of the right audience. Securing just one new, high-paying client can pay for the cost of participating and then some. Don’t let sticker shock prevent you from leveraging a major marketing opportunity.
Do think like a storyteller.
You can name every statistic, show every bar graph and cite every study you want, but at the end of the day people only care about one thing: stories. When you’re writing your talking points, make sure they read like a story, with characters, a central conflict and a happy resolution. Find a way to humanize the knowledge that you’re sharing, and always bring it back to people—what problems they’ve had, how they’ve responded and how you’ve helped them.
Don’t prioritize audience size over audience engagement.
It’s always better to be in a room of 20 people with 10 or 15 ideal clients than it is to be in a room of 200 people with only one or two ideal clients. Big, splashy conferences have their place and they’ll certainly get you some name recognition, but if your main goal is to generate leads, you may have more success at niche events. They allow you to target a very specific audience, and give you more opportunity to engage with potential clients in the audience one-on-one.
Don’t act like a salesperson.
Yes, one of the main benefits of participating in a speaking engagement is the potential to find new clients. But audiences don’t usually decide to go to conferences or workshops because they’re in the market for a new lawyer—they go because they want to gain useful knowledge that will make their lives easier. That’s what you must be responsive to. Provide your audience with the information they want and you’ll build credibility, which will keep you top of mind when they really are in the market for a lawyer.
When done well, public relations has an exponentially positive impact on commercial real estate firms. PR is extremely cost effective, and it’s often considered more trustworthy than traditional advertising. Plus, earned media placements can be leveraged in so many ways, from sharing on social media to posting on your blog, long after they’re originally published. By harnessing the third-party credibility of the media, you can help increase the public’s trust in you.
Whether your firm is new to PR or you’re looking to ramp up your existing PR efforts, begin with these four steps to ensure that your strategy is successful.
Step 1: Hire a PR team.
Alright, I may be biased here, but there’s no getting around it: the next three steps are made significantly easier when you have an experienced PR team doing the heavy lifting. Public relations just isn’t something you can keep on the back burner. If you want it done correctly, it requires an investment of time and effort. The right PR firm will take the time to create a strategy that fits your needs and, more importantly, actually works. If you have the budget, spend some time finding a firm that will understand your business goals and set you up for success.
Step 2: Keep your finger on the CRE pulse.
If you want to jump into the CRE conversation, not only do you need to know what’s being said, but also how it’s being said. Learn who the top CRE reporters are, what issues they’ve already covered and which topics and angles they seem to value the most. Most likely, your firm can speak to a number of industry issues and trends, but to secure media coverage, you have to present those perspectives in an enticing way. Understanding what makes a story newsworthy is the foundation of any PR strategy.
Step 3: Be prepared to show off your expertise.
If you keep up with the news, sooner or later a golden PR opportunity will present itself. Maybe there’s been a shift in the market or a new development has been announced, and you have an insightful, unique and authoritative perspective to bring to the conversation. But in the end, it all comes down to this: are you prepared to share your perspective with the world? That golden opportunity can easily slip by if you haven’t written a media pitch, built relationships with reporters and gone through media training ahead of time. If you’re prepared, you can make the most of those breaking news stories.
Step 4: Be patient.
Scoring a major media placement is exciting, but that’s not where the work ends—in fact, it’s more like where it begins. Public relations is an ongoing effort to build and strengthen relationships with reporters and find new ways to demonstrate your value as an expert. There’s always another angle to pitch, a different outlet to be published in and a fresh news cycle to take advantage of. Sit tight—you’re in it for the long haul.
As a part of our Cultural Camaraderie program, the Berbay team was fortunate to take a tour of the famous Gamble House. The three-story home in Pasadena, California was originally intended as a winter residence for Mary and David Gamble of Procter & Gamble. After buying the lot in June 1907, the Gambles commissioned architects Greene & Greene to design their home.
The home remained in the Gamble family until 1966, when it was turned over to the city of Pasadena in a joint agreement with the University of Southern California (USC) School of Architecture. Today, two USC students live in the house full time.
During the tour, I was in awe of all of the custom-built furniture and foreign features that the family fell in love with during their travels – like the glass Tree of Life design on the front door, which takes inspiration from the family’s time in Japan. Many of the home’s features are preserved in their natural form, from the original fixtures to the rugs – standing the test of time a century later.
Berbay’s recently launched its Cultural Camaraderie program with a focus on exploring the vibrant culture that is Los Angeles as a stimulus for innovative thinking and creativity, as well as encouraging team building.
Legal advertising seeking persons injured by medicines, medical devices, sports helmets or airbags have saturated the airwaves and dominate cyberspace. Stephen G.A. Myers introduces, “The Impact of Plaintiffs’ Lawyer Advertising on Mass-Tort Litigation,” by telling his audience that this is no coincidence. There has been prevalent and increasing evidence of the impact of these advertisements; however, courts have been generally reluctant to allow evidence of that impact into the courtroom.
Stephen’s presentation discusses an abundance of information; the existing legal precedents on the subject and the evolution and current landscape of legal advertising. He also brings to light new information that is available on legal advertising in this age of “big data,” and the ways that defense counsel might use these data to overcome the courts’ collective reticence to allow this sort of data into evidence.
More than 8 in 10 employed Americans are stressed out by at least one thing about their jobs. Although this statistic may surprise you, luckily there are many practices you can do to minimize or eliminate stress. For our cultural camaraderie program this past month, the Berbay team met with instructor Natalie Bell to discuss mindful wellness.
Bell encourages mindfulness and paying attention to the present moment. Many of us dwell on the past or concentrate on the future. By paying attention to the present, we can listen and engage better while balancing what is needed in the moment.
One lesson Bell taught us about was the STOP exercise, which stands for: Stop what you are doing. Take a few breaths. Observe what you’re feeling. Proceed with what you are doing. The STOP exercise is a quick and easy way for individuals to bring clarity and concentration to the projects they are working on and the people they are talking to.
Berbay Marketing & PR’s cultural camaraderie initiative was recently launched to promote the health and wellness of our employees as well as to encourage team building.
The summer Olympics and Paralympics may be over, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a thing or two from them. Here are a few social media marketing tips to help your firm go for the marketing gold.
Practice Makes Perfect
Just like how athletes train consistently, firms should regularly maintain their social media efforts in order to increase their visibility. We have seen how athletes celebrated their successes on different platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Follow in their footsteps and highlight your firm’s successes, whether it’s sharing a favorable verdict or sponsoring an event.
Know Your Competitors
Look at what your competition is doing. Is it working for them? They might be using their social media profiles to market their upcoming webinar. Although you are still competing with them, they might offer some ideas that you haven’t thought of before. Analyzing their social media moves and learning how to do it better will give you an edge over the competition.
Represent Your Brand
Individuals who post content for their firm should be careful of what they say online since they represent their brand. As we have seen with athletes during these Olympic games, saying the wrong things could get you into sticky situations. Avoid controversy by refraining from posting about topics that could cause uproar.
Star athletes’ triumphs and missteps give us three clear takeaways: be visibly active on social media, monitor your competition and stay in your brand’s persona. These three social media marketing tips will help your firm win the marketing gold.
The Broad museum in Downtown Los Angeles is a building that showcases artwork, while the architecture itself doubles as a work of art. The “veil-and-vault” structure encases 120,000 square feet of gallery space. The Berbay team was lucky enough to explore The Broad as part of our cultural camaraderie program for August.
Eli and Edyth Broad founded the new museum, which opened in September 2015. Together, they have collected about 2,000 works by more than 200 artists. The Broad is most recognized for the oversized table and chairs exhibit by Robert Therrien, Jeff Koons’ metallic balloon dog and pieces by Andy Warhol, among others.
Berbay also had the chance to tour The Broad’s first special exhibit—Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life. The first floor galleries feature close to 120 pieces by the artist. In each work, Sherman photographs herself taking on the role of various personas such as actors, historic figures and clowns. Her creativity shines through as each gallery is characterized by its own genre; encompassing everything from European portrait paintings to women in the 1950s and 60s. “I am trying to make other people recognize something of themselves rather than me,” said Sherman.
Berbay Marketing & PR recently launched the cultural camaraderie initiative to promote the health and wellness of our employees as well as to encourage team building.