Defying convention to build awareness

Morton Fraser Head of Marketing and Business Development Joanna Hansen
Joanna Hansen
Head of Marketing and Business Development
05 February 2020
PM Forum
Press Release

It is often said that conventional wisdom is not always the best wisdom. As Scotland’s oldest law firm, Morton Fraser has much to thank convention for. Being part of a sector that communicates in a certain way had served us well for literally centuries.

But the world is changing, as is the legal sector in Scotland.

Technology is breaking down preconceived ideas of what a lawyer really is; major consolidation in the Scottish marketplace has threatened to make the sector less personal; and people now seek purpose and certainty at a time of opacity and division.

And so we began to break with convention.

For us, traditional approaches to legal communications tied us to the old world. We felt we needed to engage with the business community and individuals to show them that Morton Fraser was changing, just as they were.

In 2018, we did this through a campaign called Welcome to Clarity, which injected some much-needed bravery and modern thinking into our brand, helping us to unlock new conversations and reach new audiences.

In 2019, we went a step further and re-wrote the rule book on how law firms are meant to communicate by launching The Hazy Coffee Shop campaign.

What we wanted to achieve

We had three very clear goals.

The first was to reach as much of the business community and as many individuals in Scotland as possible, in just a short time frame. We wanted to increase the frequency with which people searched for our firm on Google; and to increase website traffic.

The second was to engage with prospective clients – to nurture relationships and build loyalty through social channels and the Morton Fraser website. We wanted to improve our LinkedIn engagement rate and secure positive advocacy from clients and prospects.

Finally, we aimed to acquire new clients and business through increased volumes of calls and enquiries from businesses and individuals using resources such as Google My Business, Response Tap and sign up forms.

How we did it – our strategy

As a firm, we had historically relied on traditional approaches to building our brand, relying on word of mouth and positive testimonials to reach new customers. While this approach is still important, our 2018 Welcome to Clarity marketing campaign was born, unifying our audiences around one, simple concept: bringing clarity to advice, discussions and cost.

It was a comprehensive multi-faceted campaign designed to drive saliency, specifically targeting SMEs and individuals who might need legal services.

Our strategy was to turn dull, everyday rituals into arresting moments of clarity and capture the attention of the business community and individuals when they least expected it. Research showed that video content would be vital for a successful campaign.

We decided to underpin our campaign with a Hero Moment: an arresting stunt that provided the foundations from which all other activations followed. We called it The Hazy Coffee Shop, and it would fulfil three key tasks:

  • Engage commuters in a busy location at the heart of Glasgow’s city centre
  • Provide the raw materials for a TV advert
  • Deliver an engaging video for use on social platforms and owned channels

Highly cost effective, it provided foundations for a fully integrated, three-month marketing campaign targeting internal and external audiences.

A significant strand of this campaign was to ensure we had internal buy-in, not just to build a sense of pride about the brand, but to depend on internal stakeholders to further share our campaign message with their networks on social media, further widening our reach. We created and displayed ‘Clarity’ vinyls on staff toilet mirrors, using an attention grabbing unusual internal communication method, to get the campaign talked about around the office.

What was the Hazy Coffee Shop?

We created our very own pop-up coffee bar, The Hazy Coffee Shop, which appeared one morning in the heart of Glasgow’s city centre. It was definitely true to its name: from the choice of milk to the cup you might choose, the coffee on offer and of course the price, everything about your order was confused and muddied until the last – causing huge frustration and much incredulity.

Humour was vital to the campaign – we captured peoples’ reactions and frustrations with hidden cameras, revealing to them the point of the exercise afterwards to capture their thoughts.

This approach used a consumer-facing mechanic to deliver a clear message to businesses – a first for legal brand building.

Laser-guided targeting to ensure success

This was a full-service, integrated marketing campaign with a comprehensive suite of activations.

All of our content was deliberately calibrated to appeal to both a business audience and individuals, and the campaign roadmap aimed to run as many complementary elements as possible in parallel. The campaign had a huge range of component parts. Our original stunt led to a video and 30-second TV advert, which ran for a month between 5pm and midnight on Sky AdSmart. This was supported by an online video advert delivered via Teads for nearly two months.

The launch of our Hero campaign was supported in earned and shared media. We initiated a complementary PR campaign, which delivered national business news and a thought leadership platform for our CEO, Chris Harte. We also shared the video on all social channels and boosted it with a ‘thunderclap’ moment: we asked partner organisations to share the video, dramatically increasing its reach on Day 1.

Next, our engagement phase included six digital sheet screen advertisements in the business district of Glasgow. The creative played on the Hazy theme and took the form of a coffee shop menu with deliberately misleading prices (“£1.50 ish”). The ads landed during the commute to capture business people in Glasgow. We also ran an AdVan campaign in Edinburgh, taking that same creative to business districts in the capital by running our Hazy Coffee Shop video on the AdVan itself.

This phase was supported by an always-on social media campaign, which aimed to cement awareness of the Clarity message and drive traffic to the website while the advertising campaigns were running. Some 40 organic posts were delivered via our owned channels with the style ranging from interactive quizzes to Clarity-specific messages and nostalgic images emphasising the firm’s heritage.

Finally, we aimed to drive saliency of the Morton Fraser brand with targeted direct mail drops, sending branded pouches of coffee beans to prospects and targeted business events.

The commercial impact of our campaign

The Hazy Coffee Shop campaign has driven substantial commercial benefits to Morton Fraser. It is still early days to measure the impact, the campaign ran from the middle of August to the start of November this year, but we can already point to some fantastic results. We believe this proves the value of being brave in your communications, if the commercial case warrants it.

Firstly, we achieved the reach we wanted. We successfully raised brand awareness of Morton Fraser in the Scottish business community evidenced by increasing our branded search of the firm and new website users. The campaign had a reach of 2.06m – enough to reach every private sector business in Scotland six times over. We ran pre-and post-campaign market research asking business decision makers to name their top five law firms – Morton Fraser’s position improved to second in this period.

Secondly, we nurtured relationships and built loyalty amongst our customers and prospects. We did this by increasing our LinkedIn engagement by securing a clear increase in web traffic. We received some fantastic endorsements of our campaign from clients, prospects and the wider industry.

Finally, we improved understanding of the firm amongst prospective clients. During the campaign, users to the site gained a deeper level of understanding evidenced by a significant increase in the number of calls via ResponseTap, their user journey, and our Google My Business visits - meaning our pipeline and contact programme has dramatically improved for the year ahead.

In addition the campaign is now being used in Edinburgh University’s legal diploma, helping the next generation to view the sector as the dynamic, challenging world it really is.

If you'd like to enjoy the 'grab a coffee' experience and get a bit of clarity, view our Hazy Coffee Shop here.


The content of this webpage is for information only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice and should not be treated as a substitute for specific advice. Morton Fraser LLP accepts no responsibility for the content of any third party website to which this webpage refers.  Morton Fraser LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.