Raising a company profile is a common brief for PR consultancies,
but in the case of the City law firm Withers Solicitors, the team it
retained opted for something a little different.
After careful consultation, Withers Solicitors agreed to allow the Spada
PR team to market them through a variety of ’real life’ plays reflecting
and dramatising their own work.
To underline Withers’ professional experience and, in the long term, to
raise the company’s credibility and profile in specific legal areas.
The plays were between 25 and 30 minutes long and were usually the main
event in an evening hosted by Withers.
The subject matter itself aimed to give an objective view of issues in
areas which the law firm considered to be its speciality. The plays
covered subjects ranging from negotiating management buyouts and
contract design management (CDM) regulations governing building sites
and the problems which arise when developers try to cut corners, to more
recent issues such as complexities about publishers’ concerns arising
from problems to do with selling their products across the internet.
The target audience consisted of professional intermediaries. For
example, the MBO play focused on management contractors and corporate
financiers, while the CDM play targeted contractors and property
Spada originally helped Withers to create a human interest element
within each plot, develop the characters and write the script, but as
time passed the law firm has become more familiar with scripting and
developing the plays itself and Spada’s PR role has become that of
consultant and director.
The partners and lawyers play the roles themselves, although
professional actors are hired from time to time.
The plays have also been recycled and one of the first plays, which was
on MBOs, became a touring roadshow, performed more than 30 times at
various venues around the South-East. There are plans to turn the latest
play into a radio tape available for potential clients who are unable to
attend the plays or presentations in person. In order to get clients to
the MBO roadshow play the agency used the Chamber of Commerce mailing
list to send out invitations to a free seminar evening. For the CDM play
Spada marketed the firms in question directly.
According to Spada, the plays were originally designed to be a ’soft
sell’ tool but the performances were credited with generating pounds
800,000 of new business over the two-and-a-half year period when the MBO
roadshows were being shown.
The plays were conceived with a long term objective in mind, the idea
being that after viewing a performance, the ideas would remain in the
minds of potential clients who would then get back in touch with Withers
at a later date.
So far, it has been successful in generating new business and raising
clients awareness of certain legal issues. The idea of using drama as a
PR medium has proved to be an original way of making use of human
resources within a professional law firm. It also proved successful in
keeping the law firm’s brand alive in the minds of clients.
PR Team: Spada
Campaign: Withers Play Cycle
Timescale: 1992 and ongoing
Budget: pounds 5,000