The increasing virtualisation of how organisations interact means search engine optimisation (SEO) is more important than ever. When the internet is the first port of call for the organisations and executives you’re trying to reach, it’s important to rank highly in online search results. Ideally, on page one. This means how you write – and especially your SEO strategy – is critical.
Search engines work by ‘crawling’ the internet looking for content, indexing and storing it, and then ranking it by what will best answer a searcher’s enquiry. The most relevant results are listed on the first page of the search results.
As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded we’ve seen a huge array of thought leadership articles and blogs released worldwide. Editor Group’s founder, Grant Butler, discusses this trend in depth in his latest LinkedIn article, Five examples of great COVID-19 thought leadership writing and six lessons they offer.
In addition to being valuable for anyone trying to navigate the pandemic, reading this wealth of material has reminded us of the following fundamentals of writing great thought leadership content.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is hugely disruptive to businesses, but it might mean you have time to finally write or commission that blog post, white paper, website or internal strategy paper that you’ve been meaning to get to.
Further, producing content may be one of the few viable marketing options, at least for the next few months, with industry conferences, expos and business travel in general being cancelled. Content, of course, is also a fundamental component of many digital marketing initiatives, such as website revamps or electronic direct mail (eDM) campaigns.
But where should you focus your energy? Here are some ideas for projects you could write yourself, ones you could develop with a team and some strategic items.
ICON Board Member, Priyanka Nadkarni, wrote this article for WARC as part of their Marketing in Crisis series. Priyanka got to speak to experts in the industry on how this is really impacting their day-to-day conversations, and how they're transforming their businesses.
The article discusses the need to:
With examples, research and case studies from WARC's archives and new insights from Facebook, The Coca-Cola Company, Hotels.com, Canva and more, we hope it informs your marketing strategy in this unprecedented time.
Dr Bob Murray
It seems like everyone is giving advice on how to work and lead virtually. As a psychologist and a behavioural neurogeneticist, I specialise in showing people how to motivate people to give their best—even in circumstances which are much less than ideal.
Just when we most need structure, relational support and a sense of doing things as a tribe, you and your team are working away from the office, mostly at home. And it’s probably not clear in many cases what you and your team should be doing and prioritising, since many of your clients and customers are also dispersed and either cutting back or planning to do so. It’s tempting to simply shut down and do as little as possible—even when you know this will probably just make you more anxious and even stir-crazy. In times of crisis like this one that temptation is especially great, since almost all effort not relating to the primal reactions of flight, defensive flight or freezing can be stifled by fear
“Never let a good crisis go to waste” is a famous quote from no less than Sir Winston Churchill.
He knew quite a bit about how to keep morale going in times of despair and ensure there was sufficient activity to ensure an acceptable end result, following a period of enforced isolation.
So, what can business development professionals and fee earners in professional services firms do in these most challenging of times?
Robert "Bob" Kienzle
Three years ago, I was facilitating a virtual training session on cross-cultural communication. I was using Skype for Business since it was our client’s internal platform. I’ve always enjoyed virtual sessions and connecting with people around the globe (especially for a cross-cultural program), yet my usual enjoyment that day was hampered by tech issues, glitches, and limitations.
I thought, “There must be a smoother path forward. I mean, we’ve got virtual assistants giving us directions and switching our lights on and off with voice commands.” After testing and trying different apps, our team chose Zoom as our go-to platform and I’d like to share that approach we’ve taken to virtual training plus the good and the bad of virtual platforms.
Price is a key component of profitability, but Colin Jasper and Stuart Dodds think that we are going about price in the wrong way. They want to change the story of price- from being focused on the cost and start prioritising value. It’s not that complicated to understand pricing according to Jasper, all it takes is a change in attitude.
Jasper isn’t the only one who thinks we need to change our attitude to price. Seth Godin, author and entrepreneur agrees: “Perhaps the reason price is all your clients care about is because you haven’t given them anything else to care about.”
Or, put differently, we need to reestablish our firms as visible experts and trusted advisors.
Grant Herbert wants to change the conversation about leadership to focus on the individual’s ‘inner game’ of mental wellbeing, positive attitudes and self-preservation. Grant is promoting the Next Intelligence needed for leaders to win the inner game.
Promoting diversity and equality is becoming a priority for many organisations. Studies have found that diversity can improve a business’s image and even lift its revenue. It can also make employees feel safe and happy. Stefan Grun, Executive Manager of Marketing and Communications at VicHealth; Leilani Abels, founder and Managing Director of Thrive PR; and Christine Finnegan, Chief Commercial Officer at St Kilda Football Club, recently discussed how to promote inclusion and diversity within organisations at the ICON Melbourne Forum.
Giving and receiving feedback is never easy, but it’s essential to improve your team’s performance and productivity. Fiona Tilden, Senior HR Manager at Ashurst; Kate Potter, Head of CRM and Client Insights at Gilbert + Tobin; and Carmen Wearne, Head of Deloitte’s Strategic Clients Team recently shared insights into how they give feedback – and how to take it.
Reports can be essential tools for marketing your brand, so it’s important to differentiate yours from all the others – engaging readers while communicating all the right information. Otto Ottinger, Managing Director and co-founder of Datalabs Ventures and Datalabs Agency, specialises in creating real-time interactive dashboards and data tools, and innovative visual reports. He spoke about data digitalisation at the recent ICON Melbourne Forum 2018.
Heidi Mantis – Cisco Collaboration Business Development Manager at Telstra – is the newest member of the ICON board. Mantis has been working in business-to-business marketing for 19 years. After starting in engineering, she worked at EY, and then took on roles in business consulting before joining Telstra. She will join the other 13 members of the ICON board and has some exciting and ambitious plans to develop the ICON community.
Peer advice: how to improve your content marketing material
In our professional services industry, effective content marketing provides useful information for prospective customers who are engaging with a brand. The content is important as it gives a more detailed insight into our abilities than above-the-line advertising can, aiding customers through their purchasing journey.However, ‘content marketing’ has become something of a cliché. It joins other overused marketing terms such as ‘we need to take a holistic approach’, ‘utilising big data’ and ‘just Photoshop it’. So we need to make sure we’re doing it well to add value.
International Keynote speaker Grant Herbert spoke to ICON Singapore earlier this year about leadership in a VUCA world - a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. In his talk Herbert explains strategies that are not taught in schools or university about developing your personal and professional skills in a way that will benefit you. This advice is exceptionally important considering how in todays world the line between professional and personal life are becoming more blurred and it is more challenging to balance them. Herbert gives valuable insights into leadership and more efficient ways of working to meet your expectations within a business. Here is the full session from Grant Herbert.
Giving a presentation can be one of the most difficult and nerve-racking parts of any job, although some people seem to have a natural gift at public speaking. Vanessa Warburton – Lawyer and Senior Manager at Macquarie Group – and Thomas Hansen – Associate and Senior Architect at Warren and Mahoney – shared some tips and tricks they have learned from their own experiences as well as from experts about making a bigger splash with your presentations at the ICON Next Step Session 3.
ICON members are regularly told we need to network to build our careers, but how can we get past the boring, self-serving ‘Hi I’m Person 1, I work at X’ exchange? Networking expert Francesca Meldrum, Founder of Ideas Fight Club, presented on this issue at our recent Melbourne Forum. In a fun, interactive session she pointed out that as soon as someone starts saying who they are and where they work, we immediately start sizing them up and comparing them to ourselves. “Are they cooler than me?” we ask.
The ICON Melbourne Forum kicked off with a great talk from Joanne Gray, Managing Editor of The Australian Financial Review (AFR). She shared her insights into how the media industry has changed since the introduction of the internet and how Fairfax Media has adapted.
As marketing and business development professionals, ICON members spend a lot of time helping their organisations plan for the future. But what future should you be planning for? Sander van Amelsvoort, Director of Policy and Research at the Committee for Melbourne, raised this very question at our latest Melbourne Forum. Continue reading ...
The ICON/McLoughlinBall Accelerate Program offers a one-year post-graduate scholarship accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK. ICON’s UK affiliate, Professional Services Marketing Group (PSMG), has endorsed the programme, which is open to all people who are ICON members, or their firms are that work in a professional services firm regardless of professional background or position. This programme aims to accelerate your career, so it can be tailored to your experience and seniority. Continue reading ...
Jennifer Watt, General Manager – Commercial Operations and Partnerships at the Melbourne Cricket Club, spoke at the ICON Melbourne Forum this year, offering her insights into building a new audience. She shared three stories that have shaped her career and helped her former employer, the Melbourne Football Club, expand its audience. Continue reading ...
The second session at the ICON Melbourne Forum covered design thinking, with a talk by Juliana Proserpio, Co Founder of Echos – Innovation Lab, which works with businesses to implement design thinking strategies. She was joined by Neil Cook, Head of Legal Operations at Woolworths Group, and Libby Jarvis, Head of Legal Project Management at Herbert Smith Freehills. Libby and Neil have participated in Juliana’s design thinking courses and shared some of their insights. Continue reading ...
2018 year marks the 25th anniversary of ICON. The association has undergone many changes – including its recent change in name from APSMA – but it’s always delivered a consistent set of core benefits to members. Our content manager Jodi Rabinowitz catches up with two of our most long-term members, Julia Davenport and Sue-Ella Prodonovich, to find out more about how ICON started and what they and others have gained from being part of the association. Continue reading ...
May 2018The European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is big news, it comes into effect on 25 May 2018 and it probably affects you. Even if your firm doesn’t have an entity or office in the EU, if you’re targeting people based in the EU, then you should read this.
Digital marketing has revolutionised the way we consume products and receive information. Marketers must understand the new digital landscape and use the full capabilities it offers to make marketing more customer-centric and to maximise outreach.
Last month, ICON Singapore and Katanya hosted the Digital Decoding Series. It looked at changes taking place in digital marketing and provided valuable insights into using digital marketing to maximise product engagement and revenue. Continue reading ...
The ICON Melbourne Forum 2018 was a great success. The day provided insights and addressed important topical issues – and it was very entertaining. The format was dynamic and broke out of the traditional conference style.
ICON used the diversity of the speakers’ topics to shape the day. Participants had ample time to move around, change seats and network. In some talks, guests were able to interact with the speakers. Continue reading ...
‘How to get noticed without looking like a w@nker’ was the original working title of this ICON Queensland event. It certainly got the message across: self-promotion is important, but to be handled with care.
The event - Self Promotion is not a Dirty Word - was held on Wednesday 2 May in Queensland and featured a panel comprised of Keira Brennan, Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright; Kristie Fankhauser, Partner at Fifth-Eagle; James Rimmer, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Cooper Grace Ward; and Cassandra Vickers, Senior Associate at u&u Recruitment Partners.
The group led a fun and insightful discussion about the best methods to use for self-promotion without compromising yourself. It was a reminder that in professional services, and many broader B2B organisations, that you are selling people and relationships so you must have good interpersonal skills, maturity, emotional intelligence, self-awareness and empathy. Continue reading ...
Seldon Rosser’s top 6 tips for times of change
How you respond in times of change and uncertainty can define you. This is when people’s true colours are revealed – in both personal and professional settings. It is inevitable that every professional will experience times of change and uncertainty during their career. Especially in professional services, particularly in recent years, it seems a month can’t go by without another major announcement.
This is affecting every sector we work with: whether it’s the Big 4 scooping up consultancies and new specialisms; global engineering firms with aggressive acquisition based growth plans; or the frenetic pace of mergers, combinations and globalisation in the legal sector. Continue reading ...
The first session of ICON’s Next Step program kicked off in April with speaker Linda Murray, founder of Athena Coaching and Athena Leadership Academy, a professional development hub for high performing and high potential professionals. The Next Step events are designed to support the development of up-and-coming professionals. The first session focused on how to design your career around the things that you genuinely enjoy and make you happy.
Linda started the seminar by saying “my days are full of everything I love and nothing I don’t”. This set the tone for the entire talk, about how ICON members can shape their careers around things they genuinely enjoy. She reminded the audience that luck isn’t what changes your career but rather, design. Continue reading ...
Timothy Corcoran, one of America’s top law firm business development experts, discusses changes in the market; how they can affect law firms, business professionals, lawyers and the public; and the best ways to navigate them.
As the founder of Corcoran’s Business of Law, Tim has more than two decades of corporate experience advising legal departments and law firms how to make profits during times of great change. Continue reading...
On March 22, ICON’s Western Australian chapter hosted a panel to discuss what innovators look like and how they’re disrupting the market. Chaired by Charlotte Chapman, the Communications and Business Development Executive at RPS, the discussion centred around the changes that disrupters are making and how best to utilise change.
They also focused on how to be proactive and responsive when it comes to change and strategies for self-improvement when adjustments are introduced. Continue reading…
ICON partnered with the research firm beaton to host an interactive webinar about innovation. beaton founder Dr George Beaton and Partner Paul Hugh-Jones delivered their firms latest research on innovation in law and consulting engineering, and discussed how to use innovation to benefit both clients and firms. Continue reading...
ICON would like to say a big thank you to John van der Luit-Drummond, the Legal 500 Asia Pacific Editor, for taking time this week to tell our Singapore chapter how law firms can maximise their coverage in his highly influential guide. Here Annabel Bowen, BD Manager with Pinsent Masons MPillay and ICON Singapore Committee member, asks John for his key points. You can also find his detailed advice in writing, which includes his contacts if you have any more queries. Continue reading...
January is traditionally a month for making New Year's resolutions, so it seems fitting that ICON Singapore kicked off its 'Lunchtime Learning' sessions for 2018 with a talk on practical ways for marketers to jump start their career development in the months ahead.
The CEO of HR consulting firm 4D Performance, Dr Indigo Triplett, gave a candid presentation to ICON on the difficulties of "moving from the middle to the top" in the workplace. Continue reading...
The ICON community pulled off another great event, with more than 200 members and friends coming together for the annual Australia & New Zealand conference at the Sheraton on the Park hotel in Sydney on 18–20 October. The theme was i+U+WE Connect.
This article captures key takeaways and offers links for further reading. Continue reading...
"The future belongs to those who can form lasting relationships, not technocrats." That was the provocative opening line from psychologist and neurobiologist Dr Bob Murray to a thought-provoking day at ICON's inaugural full-day Melbourne Forum on 15 June 2017.
Organised by ICON's Victorian committee and hosted by Herbert Smith Freehills, the conference attracted about 60 members, featured more than 10 speakers and traversed themes ranging from digital disruption and storytelling to innovation, crisis communications, design thinking and professional motivation.
But why did we all really take a day out of our busy schedules to attend the forum? Was it the facts, figures and lessons on best practice? The chance to meet up with peers? The superb freshly cooked doughnuts at Herbert Smith Freehills or the even better drinks at Mon Bijou in Melbourne’s iconic Flinders Lane?
We'd all like to think it was the education, of course. And the day did deliver many insights. Continue reading...
You’ve heard about the impending new brand and new name for APSMA. And you’ve read about the strategic imperatives for doing it. Well, the suspense is over. All of the member feedback, the focus group workshops, the stakeholder consultations, the strategy discussions and the creative process have all led us to today. On behalf of the APSMA Board, I am delighted to present to you - ICON - your network for B2B Professionals.
This post follows beaton’s joint webinar with APSMA on 22 November 2016. During this webinar, Paul Hugh-Jones (Partner, beaton) and George Beaton (Executive Chairman, beaton) discussed trends in client buying behaviour, best practice in client centricity and why becoming more client centric will improve your firm’s financial performance. Continue reading...
Collaboration is infamously difficult to foster in professional services firms. People are doggedly competitive and want to reap the full financial reward of their own intellectual and origination efforts. Unfortunately, this works against the ambitions of the firms they are a part of. Today, individual expertise is effectively a commodity that clients can easily replace if they find another firm offering it at a better price. Getting people to collaborate, on the other hand, means firms can offer multi-disciplinary teams that are able to tackle a client’s most complex problems. And that joint expertise is both more valuable to the client and much more difficult to replicate or seek out in a rival firm.
But how do you get a group of individuals who have been trained since the beginning of their career to compete (and win) to share work and build collaborative teams? Read here.
Cultural tendencies have a profound impact on the interaction of individuals and groups from different societies. Cultural Intelligence (CQ) refers to the ability to recognize these unique characteristics as a means of evaluating and improving effectiveness in inter-cultural situations.
The world has moved from IQ to EQ to CQ, but how does CQ differ from IQ and EQ? Read it here.
Please click here to access summary of the APSMA Asia Annual Conference: Navigate - 2016 APSMA Asia Annual Conference Takeaways
Sue-Ella Prodonovich recently ran a valuable session for APSMA's New Zealand Chapter covering BD ideas and philosophies to help fee-earners to build a book of business. It got me thinking, have we got our BD approach all wrong? Read Kirsten Hogdson's full feedback here.
Law firms need to start looking for smarter ways to engage with their clients. These days, people are bombarded by marketing emails. Despite this, effective email marketing that delivers tailored and interesting content remains one of the best ways of engaging and retaining clients. A recent report shows 70% of consumers expect email to be in use 10 years from now and 72.1% of 25-34 years olds are bullish about it. Read here the Tikit guide for law firms and legal practitioners.
One of the big trends we have seen across the professions over recent years has been for firms changing their 'go to market strategy' from an internal product focus (expertise/ service line/ practice group) to a client centric view of the world (industry sector/ market).
And the benefit is clear, as the 2016 beatonbenchmarksTM research shows that firms with the strongest industry reputations are winning more work, because this is a key driver of choice across law, accounting, engineering and management consulting professions.
In this article, former APSMA Board Member and beaton Partner Paul Hugh-Jones looks at why industry experience and reputation wins work and what this means for developing and executing your firm’s industry strategy.
Simon Holliday, a 10-year L&D veteran for firms including Herbert Smith Freehills and Norton Rose Fulbright, was guest speaker at our “Sink or swim - building personal resilience at work and beyond” lunch seminar in Hong Kong on 12th May 2016.
Simon has designed and delivered courses for a demanding community of lawyers, accountants, bankers, insurers and marketing specialists and this experience, together with his personal experience of swimming the English Channel and the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong to Macau, renders Simon an authority on the subject of resilience.
Defined as "moving forward in the face of difficulty", Simon explored the facets of resilience. His key takeaways and message are defined in his presentation, and you can also watch this short video of his epic journey across the Pearl River Delta here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzbZ6zHnq58
Legal services may seem an unlikely candidate for digital disruption, but the industry is not immune from disruption generated by cloud, data analytics and e-commerce technologies. In this traditional industry, digital is enabling previously unthinkable practices such as offshoring and 'dial a lawyer' style models, where specialists are joining in‐house teams on secondment for short‐term contracts. Read more about how should law firms respond to digital disruption in this article from Campbell Jackson, National Professional Services Leader, EY written for APSMA members.
Inbound marketing and marketing automation are two of the latest buzzwords in the marketing community and for good reason. Done effectively, and used together, they can help you get on the radars of more of your ideal prospects and ensure you stay there until they are ready to buy your services and keep your existing clients engaged via segmented client-only content. Continue reading APSMA Board Member Kirsten Hodgson's guide...
Five years ago, I can still remember the meeting well. I’d been asked to represent a firm in its negotiations with a client to settle a new pricing deal. The meeting started off pleasantly enough with the senior Partner from the firm and the General Counsel waxing lyrical about the value of relationships and the importance of trust. Acolytes on both sides of the table nodded enthusiastically as if to reinforce the merits of each statement their leaders made.
In this article, sales expert and Monte Rosa Director Wayne Stewart compares past and present procurement strategies and how the current pricing evolution affects you.
Client listening is the “new black” in sales as tight markets force the re-evaluation of approaches. When it comes to listening, most of us need to learn how to stop talking. Dale Bryce is the immediate past President of APSMA and the Director, Customer Strategy and Market Development at consulting engineering firm Entura. In his time he has helped a number of professional services firms win more of the work they want to win. In doing so, he has introduced client listening programs, and been amazed what clients will tell you if the context is right. Read his full story here.
Did you know that in Mainland China, doing business is as much about the friendship and personal relationship you establish as it is about the business relationship? The Chinese coin the term for this "Guanxi", and it is a fundamental dynamic in what is described as "personalized networks of influence". Guanxi is founded on "implicit mutual obligations, reciprocity and trust", requiring salespeople to be personal, patient, tenacious and connected.
In his first thought leadership article as President, Alex Grell takes this opportunity to share insights from our members across the Region. Continue reading...
Take the time to consider your firm’s mobile strategy a little broader than just a conversation about “responsiveness.” In working with law firms both nationally and internationally, I can announce that the profession and the industry at large has now conceded that they need to be online. No, really! Click here to read the full article from Dan Toombs.
If we are in the professional services industry, what are we in business to do? It seems like such a simple question. If we happen to be a partner in a law firm, we are in the business of law. If we are an auditor in an accountancy firm we are, of course, you might say, in the business of providing audits. If we are a doctor, we are in the business of medicine. And so on. It all seems so obvious. Click here to read the full article of Dr. Bob Murray, PhD.
How to position your firm for the next big thing Major initiatives such as city-wide infrastructure projects and regulatory reforms can be a big source of high-value work for professionals. But how can you ensure your firm has a seat at the table well before you read the headlines? Grant Butler from Editor Group explains. Click here to download the full article by Grant Butler.
Linking Business Development to Compensation In recent years, as client fee pressure has increased and client loyalty has decreased, law firms are investing significant time and money in business development programs. Some partners receive training to dust off selling skills that were largely unnecessary during a time of plenty. Other partners receive training, then individualised coaching, then more training, then more coaching, in an often-futile attempt to turn everyone into a capable rainmaker. Click here to read the full article.
Video is consistently ranked as one of the most powerful forms of marketing communication, with 8 out of 10 B2B marketers planning to increase their use of video content in the coming year. However, cost and know-how are regularly cited as the biggest barriers to using video more widely – despite the tools and technology becoming more accessible and less expensive. Click here to download the full article.
This piece is designed to help you assist the professionals you work with to harness the power of LinkedIn to grow their practices. In order to benefit from the platform professionals need to recognise that it's about more than simply setting up a profile – it's about using this tool purposefully and integrating it with your existing BD and marketing initiatives, to achieve superior results.
One of the greatest challenges professional services marketers will face during coming years is how they respond to the consolidation of the market. However, it is this shifting industry dynamic that could ironically bring with it the greatest opportunities for those marketers working outside the global elite. Click here to read the full article.
In today's constantly evolving market landscape, one thing remains constant: the need for professional service firms to have a practical framework for account management to position them for future success. Click here to read the full article.
Why firms need a lifestyle change, not a crash diet! Some firms will soar in these challenging times, some will just get by and some may well disappear. Those that fly will be the ones that lead, and don’t just manage their way through this dynamic period. Firms with real leaders actively embrace the strategic changes that are needed and take the rest of the firm along with them for the ride. Click here to read the full article.