Marketing Matters Boost Your Firm’s Brand

In Marketing, When You Have the Facts, Use Them

Hollow puffery is easy. Marketing with evidence is effective.

Ross Fishman, JD

I think the best way to illustrate this is with an example. Howard Law Group (HLG) is a national business and civil litigation firm that handles large bet-the-company lawsuits. That alone isn’t effective for marketing — but founder Bill Howard’s trial record is. He hasn’t lost a trial in over a decade, losing only four times in his 30-year career. He has a reputation for being tough in court — and his clients love that about him. Partner Jean Treece Howard is a master storyteller and excellent trial lawyer as well.

This is what makes them special and gives them their winning track record. This is what their marketing needs to be built around.

And yet, their old website didn’t elevate these details; in fact, it was profoundly unremarkable. The main illustration was two skylines with the suggestion that clients will receive “experience, talent, sophistication, accessibility, personal attention [and] practical solutions.”

Those are all the broad and meaningless promises every nothing-special law firm makes. When we embarked on a rebrand, we followed a few simple rules. 

Rule No. 1: When you claim everything, you own nothing.

Howard Law Group’s description on their old website was so broad and unspecific that it meant nothing. Potential clients had no idea what HLG stood for. 

HLG deserved better. They truly were different, but they hadn’t been using it in their marketing. Their website was flat and lifeless — they needed something that was true to their style.

Rule No. 2: Identify your differentiator.

So what should their message have been? We landed on: “When you can’t afford to lose, or simply don’t want to, call HLG. We’re tough. We win.”

Bill Howard looks physically intimidating, which supports the firm’s “tough trial lawyers” message. We leveraged his powerful appearance with gritty, nontraditional photography. 

Rule No. 3: When you have the facts, use them.

It’s so important: When you have tangible evidence to support your message, highlight it. Don’t make visitors work to figure out why they should hire you. Showcase the facts, early and often. Bill Howard’s trial record is 300-4. Lead with that fact: “For starters, we’ve handled hundreds of significant trials over the past decade. That’s hundreds. And we’ve won 98% of them. Yeah, those few losses grate on us.”

Additionally, the firm’s FindLaw website had failed to convey the firm’s stylistic or technical differentiators — they looked like just a typical little small-town Western Michigan firm, i.e., “From Wall Street to Main Street.”

Let’s see this in action by contrasting their before and after: 

So — which of these homepages grabbed your attention? Which one looks different? More importantly, if you needed help defending a scary, bet-the-company case, which of these two firms do you feel would protect you better? Which conveys a greater sense of skill and quality?

Further, small firms typically have limited awareness. We wanted to use the “how” in Howard as a hook, to connect the marketing to their firm name and help increase name recognition. We designed a new logo as well. See the emphasis on “how” in the after campaign.

We knew we could prove our point using real stories, so we built a marketing campaign around real examples and their astonishing but objectively verifiable win-loss record.

The HLG lawyers are actually very nice, fun and friendly, with a good sense of humor. But that’s not why clients come to them. HLG lawyers get hired because they win.

We added case studies of a few recent victories on the homepage below the fold. The makeover is pretty powerful, and it accurately reflects the dynamic culture of the firm — what you get if you hire a lawyer from the Howard Law Group.

If you’re looking for a gentler approach, the firm might not resonate with you. And that’s fine with HLG. You’re probably not a good fit with them either.

But if you’re looking for a strong, aggressive defender, this type of marketing helps you understand precisely what you can expect from the Howard Law Group.

So find what makes your firm special, preferably something that can be backed up with stats and facts. Then use that to show your clients why they should hire your firm for business.