Awards case study: BLP achieves stand-out through content storytelling 'heist' series
Discover how BLP took on the UK's largest law firms with a unique approach to content marketing storytelling, smashing ROMI and generating more leads than the original campaign target
An estimated £3 billion in fines has been levied for breaches of UK financial regulations in the past three years. Personal salaries are forfeitable and prison sentences beckon. Now imagine, just for a second, that you're personally responsible for protecting your bank or insurer, and your board of directors, from those crippling fines and career ruin. Feeling the pressure? It’s a stressful burden made heavier by the fact that those regulations are both rocket science complex and constantly evolving.
BLP’s integrated content marketing and event campaign helped those people to cope, and it was unlike anything ever seen before in either financial regulation or the legal sector. How did it cut through? In a first for a law firm, BLP used a bank robbery-inspired film genre to target banks: centring content marketing on classic ‘heist’ movies.
The Ocean’s 11-inspired approach was a huge success, generating 515% more leads than the campaign target, 1108% ROMI, international press coverage and a robust future pipeline.
BLP is a law firm that offers advice to help well-known financial institutions and other companies to navigate risk and make business transactions work.
BLP is an expert at helping risk officers to plan for and manage regulatory risk – keeping their companies, their boards and their colleagues safe. But there's been a long-standing problem for BLP’s experts in this area: competing head to head with the so-called ‘Magic Circle’ law firms – the UK’s four largest and most prestigious firms.
...there was a huge market opportunity for BLP, but the firm faced a huge, uphill task to outshine far larger rivals and tap into that opportunity
To provide a sense of scale, the smallest of those firms is more than five times BLP’s size, with comparable resources. Leading, independent legal directory, ‘Chambers’, also ranks each of those firms ahead of BLP for financial regulation.
In other words, there was a huge market opportunity for BLP, but it faced a huge, uphill task to outshine far larger rivals and tap into that opportunity. That uphill task was the starting point for the marketing campaign.
In the law, you need to be top of mind when future legal issues arise. BLP’s marketing team was consequently tasked to generate new leads that could develop into future business relationships.
Specifically, the team was asked to generate in-person meetings with 20 highly-qualified potential buyers of the firm’s regulatory services. This campaign focused on quality, not quantity.
Risk and compliance officers, plus senior lawyers, within financial institutions - they are accountable for keeping their companies and their boards safe. BLP research revealed over 20 different regulatory issues keeping that community awake at night.
Media, channels or techniques used
Having developed empathy into the issues keeping BLP's target audience awake at night, a content marketing approach – providing helpful insights on how to tackle those issues – made perfect sense for the campaign. But, given the company's uphill battle to win share-of-voice versus far larger competitors, it needed to bring that content to life in a very different, stand-out way.
Legal thought leadership and content marketing often revolve around long-winded reports and tedious technical detail. The format is both tired and tiring, and BLP knew it wouldn’t achieve the stand-out effect it desired. So, given the company was targeting banks, its idea was to theme content based upon classic bank heist movies.
Hollywood movie Ocean's 11 provided inspiration for a series of videos that told helpful ‘cautionary tales’, each inspired by real-life regulatory nightmares. (To keep budgets low, all roles were acted by members of BLP’s marketing team). No one else in the legal sector (or in financial regulation at all, for that matter) has used storytelling in that way.
BLP amplified the reach of those videos - plus accompanying quizzes, checklists, infographics and a bank-note themed report - via LinkedIn sponsored updates, Twitter ads, Google PPC and legal content aggregator site ‘Lexology’. In total, 59 pieces of content were promoted.
‘Converting attention into contact’
Given the campaign objective to convert attention into face-to-face contact, every piece of content had a clear call-to-action and follow-up email programme, encouraging attendance at one of five BLP regulatory seminars or an in-person meeting with one of BLP's lawyers. Hubspot was used throughout to help score and qualify leads, prioritising who was invited to exclusive, in-person events.
This campaign was about an active approach to content marketing, rather than passive inbound marketing – an approach BLP fully integrated with events and email marketing.
Timescales of the campaign
- Research and planning: July – September 2016
- First content development: September – December 2016
- Campaign execution: January 2017 – May 2017
Daring to be different worked. Despite the campaign's objective of generating meetings with 20 qualified leads, it quickly achieved more, generating immediate revenue and media interest.
“This was a progressive content marketing campaign that embraced active promotion and clear calls to action. But what delighted me more than anything was that being brave with content, even in risk-averse environments, once again reaped rewards. Daring to be different, for example via the use of Ocean’s 11-inspired videos, earned the attention and trust of a high-calibre clientele.” - Ash Coleman-Smith, marketing director, BLP
B2B Marketing Awards 2017 – winners
This submission won the award for 'Best use of content marketing' at the B2B Marketing Awards 2017: 'The heist – cautionary tales' by Berwin Leighton Paisner.