The Anatomy of a Deal –
Explaining what lawyers actually do

This is quite an old piece of work now but I’m still really proud of it. It’s been viewed more than 20,000 times, but stats aside the fact that it is still live on both You Tube and the client’s website after more than six years is a testament to its effectiveness as a piece of communication:

Law firms all do the same things, broadly, and a lot of what they talk about sounds as if it should be done by a bank anyway – so how should potential trainee lawyers understand and differentiate between law firms when they’re thinking of applying? For years, research had shown that high-calibre students – including those studying law – engaged with or dismissed the idea of a career in commercial law without really understanding what lawyers actually do. They just knew that bright, ambitious graduates go into law. But increasingly, law firms were looking for people who weren’t just smart, but who were also commercially switched on.

Allen & Overy, as one of the largest, most successful and most popular firms was in a good position to help students make an informed decision about whether law was right for them, to enhance its reputation among potential hires by doing so, and ensure that applicants knew what they were getting in to. As part of a creative team, I pitched the idea of an animated film to the firm’s graduate recruitment team and then we made it work.

I developed a storyboard and a script, working alongside a couple partners at the firm to synthesise a case study transaction. But, it was only when, late one night, when I was still wrestling with the flow of the story that I had one of those light bulb moments and realised that the whole thing hinged on a single word – contracts. Watch the animation, you’ll see it. The film went on to win an award from SoMe and is still shown at presentations to graduates.

The State of Pay and The Millennial Influence
Research reports for Vocalink

I love working on research – either conducting it myself through focus groups and interviews, or diving into quantitative data to seek out the stories and insights. Sometimes it’s a case of discovering something completely new or a new angle on a familiar picture, and sometimes it’s a case of validating or underlining what you already thought you knew. Either way, well-written research can be a powerful tool for gaining attention and driving engagement.

The State of Pay looked at how people in the UK make and receive payments, how they feel about emerging technologies in payments and in particular, how they are adopting – and adapting to – mobile payments.

The Millennial Influence took a broader view of payments in and out among that all-important millennial generation – the people who are now coming into their economic prime and who are increasingly shaping the way the world works, both as powerful and vocal consumers and as leaders of business and government.
These landmark studies attracted a lot of press and industry attention and underlined Vocalink’s position as an authority on consumer behaviour in payments.

Clarifying what’s important

In a crowded sector where rivals are distinguished less by what they do than by how they do it, and where expertise and quality merely win you a seat at the table, getting the brand messages right – and being authentic – can make all the difference.
Fladgate LLP is a top-100 UK law firm, highly respected and growing. It was working with a leading web agency to redevelop its website and brought me on board to review the positioning of the brand and recast all of the web content. I spent a busy two days meeting and interviewing culture carriers from around the firm before presenting back to the executive board on what I felt were the key messages and differentiators. I used these to craft a set of brand statements that were both authentic and credible, and which could be used to drive the recast web site. Working closely with the firm’s web agency, I rewrote the site, carrying the messaging into every aspect of the content, building in natural SEO and implementing a consistent style and tone of voice throughout.

Changing perceptions of careers in an entire industry
Working with an agency partner, I developed key messages and direction, copy and content for an award-winning integrated marketing campaign designed to dramatically enhance opinion about careers in the UK insurance sector. The campaign featured advertising, brochure, web and film – – and leveraged the more esoteric aspects of the industry to highlight the breadth of opportunity within insurance. With SEO built in from the outset, we achieved page-one listings for all the client’s key search terms and a significant uptick in applications for graduate roles.

Award-winning award submissions

Industry awards provide a great vehicle for PR and social media activity – if you win. But nominees are often either too busy or too close to the project to be able to prepare submissions that stand out enough to engage the judging panel; I’m not.

I’ve worked with major professional services firms, fintechs and law firms to craft submissions that have secured places on award shortlists and gone on to land the big one, and I’ve done it lots of times. In almost every case, it’s about being able to use the judging criteria to shape a compelling story in accessible language that isn’t simply trying to use every industry or technical term possible. And then it’s about being able to squeeze the maximum impact into the word limit.