Effective Legal Advertising

The Three Keys to Successful Legal Commercials

In an aggressively competitive atmosphere like the legal industry, attorneys need to leverage everything in their power to stand out from the pack. And a TV commercial—made by a third party laser-focused on production—is still one of the most dominant and far-reaching forms of paid media to do just that.

Reaching a big, broad audience, however, is not enough these days. To distinguish your law firm, your message must be the opposite: narrow and differentiated. Your strategy must be precise and data-driven. And your TV advertising must be thoughtfully and consistently integrated with other attentively supported marketing platforms.

Today top-quality TV production is not just about attorneys looking good on the screen. That’s no longer enough to make an impact, to stand out or to be remembered. Pushing through crowded airwaves, contemporary TV commercial production requires:

  • a careful balance of smart, singular creative
  • pinpointed, long-term strategy
  • scheduled, multi-platform integration

Staying top of mind is, well, just a little more complicated these days. To get a better handle on how much TV production has changed, it’s helpful to break it down into three tactics.

Creative: Make sure your TV commercial is different—in the right ways.

We’re all familiar with “talking head” TV commercials. The stiff and staged client testimonials. The overly dramatic reenactments set to disjointed music. Over time, response tracking has shown that these types of legal commercials just don’t work. You can’t get away with cutting corners when it comes to television advertising.

The most effective creative starts with a strong, individualized message, backed up with high-quality sound, talent and editing. While there are plenty of “magic bullets” waiting to come to fruition, uncovering a creative message that will help your law firm stand out on screen starts with knowing who you are.

  • Can you articulate your top three points of differentiation as a legal team?
  • What makes your firm the most unique choice in your legal market?
  • Going head-to-head with the competition, why would a client choose you?
  • Speaking of those clients, what are your three biggest audience “buckets”?

Knowing your audience and capitalizing on exclusive brand attributes is the fastest path to standing out in a space cluttered with noise. How you get there can take many exciting forms, and that’s why it pays to work with a qualified creative team.

Your next commercial could be a clever spot that’s uncharacteristically funny and catches viewers off guard—in a memorable way. Or a real-life incident cinematically slowed down to an emotional moment that connects with an audience, lingering and linking undeniably back to your law firm’s brand.

A smart, savvy TV production team will only help craft a message that emphasizes your distinct legal brand, but will make sure that message is designed for TV, with the right actors, music, lighting and editing features to ensure your firm looks and sounds “different,” in the right ways.

Strategy: Determine where and when to place your quality TV commercial

Once you’ve nailed brilliant creative and produced a high-quality TV commercial, don’t let a beautiful commercial woo you into overlooking where and when to place the spot to reach the largest and most targeted audiences.

Again, this is not an effort law firms can tackle alone. Placing commercials on TV today requires serious strategy—mostly likely more than your office has on its radar. It’s best left to legal media-buying experts who know your specialized industry, competition and market, not to mention helpful ways to bring added value to a TV campaign—and giving you more bang for your buck.

Here are just a few of the ways the best legal TV commercials end up being viewed by the right audiences, at the right time.

  • Top media teams research the tastes and habits of your specific client base and build a media plan to match them
  • Expert media buyers help your firm determine appropriate levels of spending and whether to focus commercials around certain events, seasons or other factors related to your legal brand
  • Dedicated TV media consultants have access to industry research, data and tools that can uncover everything from how a competitor’s commercial performed in the same market, to what airtime slots will best suit your business and maximize your ad dollars

Integration: Ensure a consistent, complementary message across platforms

One of the biggest changes in producing effective quality TV commercials is integrating them properly with other marketing channels, using each avenue to strategically reinforce your brand. Attorneys can’t just create an A+ ad and send it into the netherworld.

Today everything is connected. People have more touch points than ever. It’s all on 24/7. And because of that, clients often aren’t even aware of where they’ve interacted with different legal brands.

Ask that question on your next client survey. Most people won’t be able to pinpoint where they remember encountering your brand, but if you are running your advertising campaign effectively, it won’t matter. Because the same message you have on TV will extend in some tangential way to your website, and coordinate with your latest email blast, and orchestrate aptly with your social media presence.

We call this critical integration “multi-platform.” That means your “paid” media (primarily TV, radio and print advertising, developed by a third-party) complement messaging and campaigns you run through your “owned” media (marketing delivered on digital channels that your law firm creates, owns and controls). To ensure these platforms are working synergistically, you’ll need to address questions like these:

  • How does your TV creative translate to your legal website, social media and other owned media?
  • Does the look and feel of your commercial creative match your owned media properties?
  • Does your larger umbrella brand positioning appear consistently in your law firm’s digital and physical assets?

Like most things in law, TV production is digested best when broken down to its most fundamental elements. While the complexity of creating effective advertising has increased, your stress as an attorney doesn’t have to. Making your mark on TV (and beyond) takes one part dynamic creative, one part smart strategy and one part intelligent integration. It all adds up, and it’s all within reach.