rainbows and unicorns

What words do you associate with lawyers or law firms? Affidavit? Subpoena? Deposition? Lawyers and law firms are rarely associated with happy thoughts because the time you need a lawyer is either an adversarial situation or the need to avoid one.

Although lawyers can protect you and your interests, that’s not always enough to conjure up images of rainbows and unicorns. Lawyers are often compared to sharks — and put on the far side of mothers-in-law and used car salesmen in terms of folks you’d like to go away with for the weekend.

So what does a law firm know about customer experience?

An Affidavit of My Experience

Parker Poe Adams

Given the way most people joke about lawyers, I was taken by surprise by this email I received from the heavy-hitting Carolinas law firm, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP.

The email itself is nice -- vaguely reminiscent of The Brady Bunch or The Hollywood Squares. But what’s remarkable is the video it points to, which is light-hearted and fresh, showing people smiling and laughing, exchanging gifts and balloons.

There’s even a large ornament being tossed from frame to frame like a beach ball at a concert, then transitioning to confetti and streamers. It’s very unlike what you associate with a law firm – there’s no fine print, caveats or other qualifiers putting limits around the message. It’s simply an appropriate non-religious holiday message for their clients and communities.

A Shift from Problems to People

And suddenly you’re not thinking of lawsuits or breaches of contract, and you notice that the people in the video are having fun. They sincerely seem to be enjoying themselves – and the focus never wavers from the people. And all those people are not actors, but actual attorneys, paralegals and all the other folks that make up their law firm.

What struck me was that these are the people who determine the customer experience when dealing with Parker Poe -- whether it’s the courtroom win, the airtight contract or simply the pleasant voice on the phone or in the reception area. So what I concluded from this message was that Parker Poe is about people -- perhaps “everyday people,” doing what people do at the holidays -- celebrating and having fun.

And as a marketer, I recognize that was exactly the intended point. The message is a reminder that this law firm is comprised of people that you may relate to. In my case, I looked to see if the partner I met though volunteering at my children’s school was in there and sure enough -- there he was, light-heartedly tossing one of the oversize ornaments. 

Creating Positive Impressions

I am not an active client of Parker Poe, but I am part of their community through my association with their partner. But this holiday message is my first interaction with the firm, leaving a positive impression and therefore paving the way to future customer experiences, which I expect to be positive.

In the same way, Google has posited the “Zero Moment of Truth” (ZMOT) in terms of an individual’s first experience with your brand – way before the purchase. And that “ZMOT” is increasingly online – as this was my “ZMOT” with Parker Poe.

That’s all fine and well, but what’s really cool about this example – and which applies to any kind of organization -- is that this message can be easily shared. It’s a good use of video, which has rich opportunities to evoke emotions.  And by using the firm’s actual employees, the holiday message is both real and personal -- giving depth of meaning to my law firm customer experience.

Title image by Ellerslie (Shutterstock).