Last Thursday, in between obsessing over a Coronavirus growth chart and a Crisis Strategy Session for a divorce attorney trying to keep her lights on, I caught a tweet from inveterate Seattle tech entrepreneur, Buzz Bruggerman:
Survival is what our clients (and in turn the agency) need. We are a Cockroach. The adaptable, innovative, opportunistic, skittering, nauseating, and yes, disease-resistant arthropod that not only survives, but actually thrives in disaster.
In the coming months, many lawyers will go bankrupt. Despite our best efforts, some of those lawyers may be our clients. It’s the agency’s responsibility to fight, innovate and do everything we can to help every single one of them survive. Over the past two weeks, I’ve adopted the cockroach analogy with clients during Crisis Strategy Sessions….. creatively coming up with anything and everything Mockingbird can do to help them not only survive, but possibly even thrive in this chaotic, mad, uncertain environment.
The second of our Ten Commandments states: “We are Responsible for our Clients’ Livelihoods – Our performance dictates if our clients can pay their mortgage, their staff and their kids’ college tuition.” Today, clients are responsible for our survival as well. Its corny as hell, but employees and clients are both part of my extended family. We all have to adapt, evolve and fight to survive this. Like Cockroaches.
The following bullets come from the rebranding presentation I gave to the team:
- Keep being amazing for our clients – remember we are responsible for their livelihoods – and now they are responsible for ours. (even if they can’t pay us).
- This is the time to work overtime, to over deliver, to over communicate and to give everything we have to keep our clients afloat.
- This is the time to step in and help clients with whatever they may need.
- We are effusively grateful for every single client who sends us a check.
The cockroach mindset has led to some creative tactics, unexpected adjustments and occasionally brutally honest realizations over the past ten days:
- What I believe to be the most effective linkbuilding campaign undertaken by a law firm in 2020.
- Dramatic shifting in practice areas for a firm that has seen restaurant, bar and court closures decimate their business.
- Worked with a handful of clients to accept that they should completely shutter their PPC budgets to preserve precious cash flow.
- Tactical and data driven responses to the seismic shift in search volumes.
- Forecasted changes in search traffic by applying changes in leading markets (Seattle) to lagging markets (Florida).
- Doubling down on a PPC budget as competitors in a highly fragmented market scrambled to respond to inbound inquiries
Not everything we’ve done has been successful and some of the early successes are going to disappear as this crisis evolves, wears on and firms burn through cash reserves. But the cockroach survives. It evolves, pivots, and does whatever it takes.
So starting now, we are temporarily a Cockroach – doing everything and anything we can to help our clients survive the Corona disaster. The old Mockingbird logo has been transformed and if you look carefully, the Mockingbird M cameos as negative space in the cockroach logo. The Mockingbird is still there… it’s just waiting to come back.
At some point, we’ll go back to being Mockingbird – liberating lawyers from ineffectual marketing, one sided contracts, proprietary website platforms and opportunistic agencies. But for now we are a Cockroach – with a singular focus on our clients’ survival.