Wolters' CLS unit gets its staff on-board

External campaigns are aided by creative efforts that educate employees on the entire company

Wolters' CLS unit gets its staff on-board
No matter their size or cleverness, PR and ad campaigns can't really succeed if the people at the companies don't understand or believe in the brands being promoted. At least that's the belief held by the internal communications team at Wolters Kluwer Corporate Legal Services (CLS), which created a comprehensive outreach effort directed at CLS' more than 1,700 employees in 40 offices around the US.

In providing software and consulting services to law firms and corporate legal departments, CLS depends on its employees to put the company's best foot forward. Legal issues have always been complicated, and today, with the vast size and complexity of corporations and the speed at which they do business, products and services like CLS' are essential to keeping track of all sorts of procedures and following legal requirements.

Internal communications manager Cedric Bess notes that his company's clients are accustomed to working closely with CLS employees on projects clients typically need done in short order. Because of the closeness and frequency of interaction between CLS and its customers, its staffers often feel they are virtually employees for the client.

“Our team members are working together with customers to find solutions to turn around a lot sooner rather than later,” Bess says. “They are like an extension of the legal department. It's not like customers are calling some random person in customer service; they know [our employees] will be there for them to get through this crisis, whatever it may be, at their company.”

Thus, Bess and the rest of the CLS in-house communications team devised and executed a campaign based on its ongoing external marketing effort, “CT. Making the Impossible Possible.” The campaign was codeveloped with New York-based Levinson Group and shows how all of the products and services offered through CLS' six business areas – including CT Corporation, CT Lien Solutions, CT Summation, and CT Corsearch – offer the same basic service qualities to customers: speed, reliability, and accuracy.

“Internally, we're mirroring the campaign, so employees may see something externally in a publication and they'll understand where that's coming from,” he adds. “We're not just coming up with a catchy slogan to look good in the market... This is about why they should feel proud to represent the company.”

One ad incorporated into internal marketing campaigns features an employee with the nickname “Spidey” who uses his superpowers (and the CT Summation litigation support software) to quickly look through a mass of documents for the exact information the client needs.

“Our goal... is to get our employees to rally around those key attributes and see the connection, because the face and the brand of our company is the people,” says Robin Patino, director of marketing communications. “While the products we offer customers may seem very different, we're actually providing the same service regardless of the product.”

Extolling employees working on the company's various CT brands as “heroes,” the campaign uses a range of communications channels. Those include e-mails, a dedicated intranet site, downloadable wallpapers, executive talking points, and an essay contest in which employees talk about their work and how it has made a difference with specific clients.

Bess is pleased with the efforts' results. The monthly essay contests have been popular – the winners get American Express gift cards and are highlighted in the company's internal newsletter – and all the essays will be posted on the intranet site. The open rate for the branding-related e-mails is 40% and all employees have received “one sheets” that explain the campaign and which division sales executives have used in strategy sessions with their teams prior to meeting with current or prospective clients.

No matter what division they work for, employees now have a better sense of the other products and services offered by the company. In turn, when interacting with clients, they can better identify other areas where CLS can provide services. This can help expand CLS' business with those customers.

“It impacts the bottom line,” Patino says.

At a glance

Wolters Kluwer Corporate Legal Services

Headquarters: New York

CEO and president: Gene Landoe

Marcomms budget: Undisclosed

Key trade titles: The Wall Street Journal, Law Technology News, American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel

Comms team: Cedric Bess, internal comms manager; Robin Patino, director of marcomms; Stacy Nobles, senior manager of corporate comms

PR agency: Envision Agency

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