After 30 years in the making, the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) Annual Conference experienced record attendance at the 2015 event. More than 1,300 legal marketers from across the world flocked to San Diego to attend sessions led by thought leaders in the sales, marketing and legal industries.
For relationship-based businesses, like One North and the clients we work with, attending conferences like LMA15 is an invaluable experience; as our world becomes increasingly digital-focused, quality face-time can be hard to come by, in both business and personal relationships. Skype and FaceTime may provide a close resemblance of the real thing, but it’s very much like sugar-free cookies; we all know the difference.
Making (New) Connections
Our team was able to reconnect and catch up with friends, partners and clients, solidifying the strong relationships that One North was built on and continues to thrive off of. But this year, we also enjoyed seeing so many new faces and forming new connections with the first-timers. One of those first-timers happened to be our very own Ryan Schulz, who since January has been building out the Brand Planning practice at One North. It was great to be able to introduce him to our legal marketing friends!
As a marketer myself, I also get a lot out of the content at LMA. Dan Pink did an excellent job of kicking off the event with his keynote presentation. One of my colleagues will be recapping the session in a future post, but I will mention that I was very intrigued by this session. I really gravitated toward this idea of the shift we’ve experienced from the “buyer beware” world we used to live in to the “seller beware” reality we’re now living through, thanks to the explosion of digital.
Creating Natively Digital Experiences
My favorite breakout session had to be Creating Natively Digital Brand Experiences, presented by One North’s Nate Denton and Kalev Peekna (I know—I’m totally biased). In the session, they addressed how digital is changing the way we think and interact with others, and how this shift has impacted (or should impact) how businesses develop and express their brands.
So, what IS brand?
Most marketers have a difficult time answering this question. In many instances, organizations consider logos, taglines, fonts and color palettes to be the extent of the branding process; however, brand goes far beyond visual identity.
To combat the changes digital has imparted on brand strategy, we advocate a (sometimes radical) approach to brand planning: Whereas traditional methods place digital tactics at the tail end of strategy activation, digital should be upfront in the planning process. Thinking digital-first ensures consistency across all delivery methods and mediums, such as website, print, email, social, and so on.
Brand-planning framework guides the experience.
In the session, Nate and Kalev also discussed how to use the brand-planning framework to build a fully formed brand experience, something our Director, Brand Planning Ryan Schulz covered in a recent webinar. The duo emphasized that although digital is changing brand, from multiplying contexts and touchpoints, to fragmenting consumer interactions and experiences, applying the pyramid-style framework (as depicted below), will ultimately set business marketers up for the greatest success.
In a nutshell…
When setting your digital-first gears in motion, here are the most important factors Kalev and Nate suggest to keep in mind:
- Consumers’ first and most frequent interactions are now digital. Be sure your brand is designed for those digital moments.
- Test new ideas in a digital context. Try different tactics on web, print, social and email.
- Expand your understanding of brand visuals. Take advantage of digital’s dynamic approach to brand expression systems, such as color, shape, imagery, typography and movement.
- Print still matters. But tackle that after you nail digital.
- Consistency creates seamlessness. Users experience a single brand, no matter how many different kinds of interactions.
For more insights and tips on brand planning and creating a digital-centered customer experience, be sure to check out our latest webinar series.
You can also find more photos of our time at LMA15 here. Until next year!