Awards case study: How Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner generated 1400% return on investment in less than 6 months through direct mail

Learn how law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner used luxury tea and fortune cookies to build its brand among hard-to-reach clients on a sensitive topic

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s (BCLP) in-house marketing team was given a tough challenge: to launch a new product, nearly 6,000 miles from home, for less than the cost of one print ad in the FT, on a topic that is as emotional and delicate as they come - and is having a profound social impact in one particular part of the world, targeting the most exclusive clientele on Earth, and requiring an overnight return.

The result? Using a simple but powerful brand promise, brought to life creatively, the marketing team met and overcame that challenge – generating a 1400% return on marketing investment.

About BCLP

BCLP is an international law firm that provides advice to help companies and company leaders to navigate risk and make their business transactions work.

Strategy

Divorce is a traumatic experience for everyone, but for certain people, living in certain countries, it brings additional challenges. ‘High net-worth’ individuals enjoy privilege but, when it comes to divorce, their wealth brings exceptional problems even impacting family security. Those problems are particularly pronounced in parts of Asia, where wealthy divorces are very public, family honour is sacred, family assets built over generations become mere pawns in the courtroom, and where - in one infamous case - a child was kidnapped as her parents’ divorce played out. Such is the pain and uncertainty associated with divorce that some people avoid marriage altogether. It is a topic with profound financial, social and familial implications.

BCLP created a new service to help people overcome those challenges and protect their most important asset – family – from the emotional impact of divorce.

With a heavy emphasis on providing fair provision for everyone involved – and on protecting those caught in the crossfire – the new service helps people to confidently enter marriage without doubt hanging over what should be a happy occasion.

Marketing challenges

The BCLP marketing team needed to launch the service, but faced considerable challenges: Divorce is such an emotional subject that marketing a divorce service is a potential minefield. The team needed to tackle this topic sensitively to avoid any notion of ‘ambulance chasing’.

High net-wealth individuals are notoriously hard to reach at any time, but BCLP had zero brand awareness among them and also a tiny budget – so faced an uphill battle.

The budgetary challenge was further amplified given the campaign team was based in London, nearly 6,000 miles away from the primary audience.

Finally, they needed to demonstrate ROI within months.

Best use of direct mail and Grand Prix winner

Objectives of the campaign

For less than the cost of a single print ad in the Financial Times, the BCLP marketing team had to:

  • 'Go live': Launch the service in the local market.
  • Lead generation: generate in-person contact with potential buyers.
  • Revenue: Generate six-figure revenue within six months.

The target audience

The campaign instead targeted people that directly influence the prospective clients - professional advisers to the high net-worth individuals in the Far East. (Hence a B2B - not a B2C - campaign.)

Media, channels or techniques used

Given the low budget, BCLP needed to reach clients via simple, creative means.

Professional advisers are resolutely focused on helping their clients to protect their fortunes, reputations and family interests. That simple truth led to the key message for the campaign: We can’t tell fortunes, but we can protect them.

That message - telling fortunes - created scope for all sorts of creative communication throughout the campaign.

Reading tea leaves, fortune cookies and ‘kau cim’ (Chinese, fortune-telling sticks) all featured, resonating with both professional advisers and their wealthy clients.

Phase 1: Brand building

To build brand awareness and trust, BCLP sponsored a magazine that was distributed at a prestigious conference for professional advisers in Asia. An unmissable ‘belly band’ on the magazine (featuring tea leaves) got the message noticed. The advert, plus a speaking slot at the same conference, and a slew of related LinkedIn articles, adverts and videos got the BCLP brand on the map.

Phase 2: Lead generation

Brand recognition established, the company identified a small group of influential professional advisers and targeted them directly using creative, personalised direct mail – sending them luxury tea (with tea leaf reading instructions) or a fortune cookie - each in a small chest.

Each DM introduced the brand promise, ‘we can’t tell fortunes, but we can protect them’, and encouraged the target audience to meet the BCLP team, which they did.

Timescales of the campaign

Planning: July 2017

Brand building: October-November 2017

Direct mail: November 2017-January 2018

In-person meetings and measurement: February-April 2018

Results

For a budget less than the cost of a single print ad in the FT, with a campaign team 6,000 miles away from the launch location, targeting a hard-to-reach audience, and tackling a delicate topic having profound impacts on families, this campaign achieved the following in less than six months:

  • From zero brand awareness and trust, the campaign generated press coverage in key local publications, and ultimately doubled the target for sales meetings.
  • Generated double-digit in-person meetings with professional advisers.
  • Sales generated six-figure revenue (1400% ROI) – double the objective.

“This targeted campaign proved that all it takes to produce results from a modest budget is an excellent product, brought to life imaginatively.”

Brian Macreadie, head of brand and campaign marketing, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

This submission won the award for Best use of direct mail and the Grand Prix at the B2B Marketing Awards 2018. 'We can't tell fortunes, but we can protect them' by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.

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