#LMA16 Recap: Listening, Authenticity and Surprises

April 25, 2016 Kayla Silverstein

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of attending the Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference in Austin, TX. It was a fantastic event with engaging and thought-provoking sessions. I learned a lot coming out of this conference, but the three themes that I thought were most relevant to me within digital marketing included: the importance of listening, the value of an authentic brand and the universal thrill of surprise.

The Importance of Listening
The conference began with a truly inspiring presentation from Deloitte CMO Diana O’Brien titled, “Engagement, Empowerment, and Innovation; Marketing Transformation and the Opportunity for Professional Services.” As the title depicts, Diana spoke to the opportunity marketers have to monitor our efforts and demonstrate value better than ever before. An outcome of this new and growing opportunity is the increased ability we have as marketers to listen. Digital has provided us with feedback loops to hear from our clients and anticipate their business problems. This puts us in a position to be problem solvers and agents of change for the clients we work with.

Diana outlined three key things that help her as a marketer: (1) being client-service oriented, (2) being a champion of her people and organization and (3) being able to find moments to help. She has found that one of the most valuable skills to her as a marketer has been that last one, allowing her to listen to her clients and provide help where it is needed.

Theme #2: Brand Authenticity
This is something we talk about a lot at One North: the importance of an authentic brand. A triple-threat panel, with representatives from Freeborn & Peters, Jaffe and JAMS, took on this topic with their session titled: “Who Are You Really? Getting to the Heart of your Law Firm’s Brand.” Law firm or not, this session was applicable to all. Some of the key takeaways included understanding how to evaluate your organization’s culture and values to develop the foundation of your brand, as well as strategies to create and execute on content that reflects your brand.

At the center of this presentation was the notion of authenticity. If your brand isn’t able to truly reflect who your organization is, it will not succeed as your brand story. We at One North agree and call the intangible feeling one gets in the presence of your brand your “brand essence.” This is defined and reinforced by what makes you different, memorable and unique. If this core part of your brand is not authentic, it will never hold up when tested, executed upon or articulated. Stay true to who you are as an organization, and you’ve created an unbreakable frame of context through which your organization can be understood.

Theme #3: Surprise Us
As human beings, we love to be surprised. It makes sense that as marketers, we should keep this in mind. If we have an opportunity to personalize an experience or anticipate a client’s needs before they reach out to us, it can be huge for relationship building and brand loyalty.

This fact was not lost on the organizers of LMA. This year, LMA introduced some new formats to the mix of presentation styles, including the popular TED Talk format as well as the new and upcoming Pecha Kucha presentation style. The TED talks allowed content to move fast and keep listeners on their toes. The topics ranged from equal pay for women to best practices in digital marketing. TED Talks are rooted in a storytelling format, engaging the audience with their relatability and interwoven themes. This format worked very well this year.

Pecha Kucha was a great format for LMA to try. Pecha Kucha challenges speakers to present with 20 slides, with each slide automatically advancing after only 20 seconds. This format worked particularly well for walking us through case studies, highlighting a business problem, how it was solved and establishing key takeaways. It was short, engaging and kept us guessing.

The final and biggest surprise to those who were able to stick around to day 3 was perhaps Keith Wewe, Legal Marketing Association President, presenting alongside his twin brother. It was personal, very cute and definitely a surprise to those who had no idea whether they were seeing double in the exhibit hall earlier that day!

Thanks, LMA, for another fantastic annual conference. We’re excited for next year in Vegas!

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Kayla Silverstein

At the time of publishing, Kayla was the Marketing Coordinator at One North.

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