"A book that should be on every manager's desk." James Dagnon, Senior VP, Boeing
Littler Mendelson have created an excellent Boss's Survival Guide webpage on their site, with links to useful resources including a great PDF with book excerpts like Ten Ways to Stay Out of Jail and Ten Ways to Keep Your Best People.
Books Are Marketing Tools: A monthly look at how businesses use books
Legal Marketing: Practice Groups Leverage Their Expertise with BooksLaw firms like to say, "We wrote the book!" when it comes to communicating the special expertise of a practice group. I recently completed a survey for an upcoming speech at the April Legal Marketing Association conference on how law firms are using books to promote themselves. The use of books for client education and practice group promotion is a growing trend in the legal marketing community.
As a publishing consultant with the Jenkins Group I work with marketing professionals in creating original firm-published books for use as marketing tools. For this survey, I received sample books from over 20 law firms (each with over 150 attorneys) on practice areas including Employment, Wills & Estates, Securities, Labor, Patents & Trademarks, Litigation, Biotechnology, Tax, Finance, Non-Profits, Intellectual Property, Immigration, Business Transactions, and Product Liability.
The practice group books received fall into three categories:
1) Books written in a non-legal style, containing useful information targeted for senior decision makers, and that position the law firm's special expertise.
2) Comprehensive guidebooks aimed at individuals within organizations whose job responsibilities require specific knowledge of the law.
3) Traditional law books aimed at practicing attorneys and in-house counsel.
When Mary Kaczmarek joined the firm Kennedy Covington as Business Development Director in 1999, she discovered a publication that had been written by an attorney in the firm who was always answering the same questions from business clients about "going public," and decided to write an overview of the process. Entitled, Thinking About Going Public, it was bound like a prospectus and "looked like hell," according to Kaczmarek. The firm had made a significant investment in brainpower in creating the publication yet had "sold it short" as a promotional and educational marketing tool by not packaging the information in a way that communicated its value and the firm's brand image, expertise and credibility. Mary led the charge in convincing the partners to have the piece edited into non-legal language, targeting it to corporate board members and senior corporate managers rather than to in-house counsel. Then she hired an outside firm to design the cover and layout the text to make it appealing and inviting to a reader. The result was an effective wire-o bound book with a four-color cover that answers the questions and establishes the firm as the people to work with in navigating the road to going public.
When Alan Levins, a senior shareholder at San Francisco-based Littler Mendelson co-authored The Boss's Survival Guide, the firm's Client Relations department saw a unique opportunity to use the book as a marketing and promotional tool. "Our objective was to use the book as a goodwill item for current clients and to alert our clients about the Littler Mendelson training program based on The Boss's Survival Guide," says LM's Public Relations Manager Joan Zoloth. "In addition, the book offered a way for attorneys to contact and gain new clients. To this end we developed collateral material for all of Littler Mendelson's 380 attorneys." Littler Mendelson appears both in name and logo on the cover, and clip-on "compliments of" cards and logo note cards were created to provide further brand awareness. The Client Relations Department created a firm-wide seminar based on the book. Zoloth distributed a "how to" guide for promoting both book and seminar to clients along with sample invitation letters and emails to all of the attorneys. Zoloth reports that the book has been a successful business development tool, and attorneys have used it to create opportunities, renew relationships, and to keep "top of the mind" presence with clients. As a result of the firm's marketing efforts, the book also became a national bestseller.
Dinsmore & Shohl of Cincinnati, Ohio is a full-service firm with over 250 attorneys. The Labor & Employment Law Practice Group of the firm wrote the book, HR Survival Guide to Labor & Employment Law, and each of the attorneys in the practice group is listed as an author! "The main purpose for the book was to profile our L&E group with 30 attorneys as a group with a national practice and to demonstrate our expertise," says Michael Hawkins, chair of the project. "We presented the book at the SHRM national meeting in San Francisco last year. Our publisher, National Underwriter, had a booth there and two of us from our firm were there, and we also conducted a book signing at the SHRM bookstore." Since then, the firm has created and distributed a flyer on the book, mailing it to key and potential clients. "We set up the book as a team and did all the content," says Hawkins. "It was a great team effort." The publisher did some minor edits, and also contributed a user-friendly format and pleasing design, turning what could have been a very dry topic into a handsome and usable book. Although their book was intended for a primary audience of the attendees at Continuing Legal Education Seminars they put on, Power Trial Method, by David Gross and Chuck Webber also serves a secondary purpose as a credibility-building tool. Clients are impressed to see a rather hefty volume with Gross' and Webber's names on the cover, and those interested in patent litigation are especially impressed, as the book covers this aspect of the law in great detail. The Attorney/Authors are part of the Minneapolis law firm Faegre & Benson, and their book was initially firm published, but has since been picked up by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA), "the premiere provider of trial skills training seminars and litigations-related publications and materials." This will increase the reach of the book - and of the authors, their practices, and their firm.
A series of books has been written and published by Business Laws Inc., geared to attorneys and in-house counsel and specializing in international business law. Doing Business in India, Doing Business in China, and Doing Business in Russia were all co-authored by Holland & Knight partner, Kenneth A. Cutshaw, in collaboration with experts in the three countries, whose populations represent one third of the total world population. Mr. Cutshaw began his practice in 1978, and in 1985 accepted a political appointment to serve six years with the Reagan and Bush administrations at the U.S. Commerce Dept. in various international trade positions involving export/import regulatory programs. The books are valuable tools for both the American businessperson with overseas interests and the legal practitioner with clients involved overseas. Mr. Cutshaw's extensive experience makes these books an excellent resource - and an excellent marketing and credibility-building tool for the international law practice of Holland & Knight. "Although it was no easy task, I encourage others in the legal profession and other professions to use the authorship of books as a means in which to bring recognition to your practice and also provide an enriching experience," says Cutshaw.
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All of the above are excellent examples of successful legal marketing through the use of customized books, targeted to the firm's intended audience. Using books as educational marketing tools is a trend that is changing the shape of legal marketing, and these firms are pioneers in a movement that is evolving to meet the needs of today's information hungry consumer.
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Bob Robbins is a publishing consultant with Jenkins Group, specializing in producing company-published books for use as marketing tools. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org