There has and will always be a discussion on the pros and cons of global firm structures, but one thing stays consistent throughout, and that is that there will always be a place for a strong reputable, above par independent firm. Therefore, participation in a non-exclusive, well vetted, quality controlled network like WSG continues to be a smart choice.
A quick comparison of key points:
Quality and Consistency
While one-brand global structures tend to try to use quality and consistency as a positive, the reality is that when you do not really know the professional to whom you are referring work, whether they are under the same brand or not, you do not know what kind of service your client will receive.
As a member of WSG, making an effort to meet and get to know your counterpart is expected and necessary, not just an option. When a referral is made, awareness of service and quality is expected without fear of losing the client through business development or compensation nuances that can be discouraging instead of encouraging. Additionally, WSG’s high standards of entry and monitoring of member firms through one corporate source ensures the highest level of quality and consistency.
Long standing brands have stood the test of time and success, no question. This is also true for independent firms, which confirms that leading independent firms and professionals are not necessarily the ones willing to join global firm structures. The most successful independent firms are usually comfortable staying that way and associating astutely with their global counterparts. This association is only successful globally through a highly ranked, recognized and non-exclusive network like WSG that has successfully maintained a stable and reputable membership.
Many times the definition of stability with one-brand global firms is referring only to the brand while within the WSG network, stability most often refers to each long standing firm and its long standing professionals individually.
WSG harnesses innovation with the strength of a network and the power of technology to ensure infinitely more opportunities for quality work from quality partners. Each of the over 19,000 professionals (and growing) in the member firms have individual accounts and complete access to the network. This number alone offers increased opportunities. However, also unique to WSG is our visionary notion that as the world shrank so to would limitations from industry to industry, thereby integrating the legal network concept with accounting and investment banking services. While one-brand firms offer centralized operations in many senses, the limitations created by these operations affects the effectiveness of opportunity making network association for independent firms more opportunistic with less financial commitment.
The independent firm is always going to be important to the industry, but there is no getting away from the fact that independent firms can no longer expect to meet a global client’s needs alone. Similarly, a one brand firm cannot possibly build a footprint equal to that of a premier network across jurisdictions.
What is good for one may not be good for all, however, participation in WSG over the independent firm offers gains in size, strength, access and stability and secures its place among reputable go-to firms. It’s about leveraging the network to better understand changing landscapes, capitalize on business opportunities and deliver solutions and value to clients.
Your Firm’s Online Reputation and WSG
In the professional services industry, having a good reputation is critical to ensuring trust from clients and referral sources and to building your firm’s business. This includes your online reputation. Many decision makers, including in-house counsel, research firms online before deciding to do business with them. Do you know what they’ll find when they search for your firm and professionals?
The bottom line: The Internet gives everyone a voice and there are steps you can take to actively manage your online reputation and help ensure that your firm is portrayed in the most favorable light. We’ve provided some top tips on how to build a more positive and resilient online presence – and best leverage WSG resources to support your efforts.
Monitor Your Online Reputation
If you’re not already monitoring your online presence, start by ensuring that all the information on your firm’s site, social media platforms, industry directories and review sites is up-to-date, accurate, consistent and professional. Next, implement a plan to regularly monitor your firm name through searches (e.g., Google Alerts and Twitter Advanced Search) and sites that provide reviews within your industry. Remember that the names and reputations of firm leadership and professionals should be monitored too.
Feed the Machine
When a client, referral source or member of the media conducts a search on you and your firm, you want to be sure that what they see is accurate and reflects your knowledge, expertise and experience. The best ways to ensure this are to leverage the following tactics:
Content Marketing: Develop and publish a regular stream of relevant and targeted content across platforms such as websites, blogs, digital publications and other online forums including the WSG site.
Social Media: Social platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ provide opportunities for your firm to engage with key audiences and drive discussion on topics and issues most important to you.
Press: News and articles published by respected sources and on the WSG site can provide a big boost to your online presence and help to fortify your reputation.
SEO: A successful SEO strategy ensures that your firm’s website is visible earlier in search engine results and that you are providing the most relevant information for the client.
Industry Directories and Review Websites: Listings in prominent industry directories establish credibility for your firm and aid in search results by associating your firm with a respected and trusted source.
Request feedback: We know there are many barriers to gaining and sharing client feedback, but if you are able to garner testimonials (and they are within ethical conduct) they can go a long way to boost your online reputation.
Leverage what you already have. WSG provides members with many opportunities to enhance their online presence. WSG has over 500,000 indexed website pages which include in-depth profiles, information and content from top-ranking firms and highly respected professionals across over 140 jurisdictions. Together WSG’s online presence and the strength and quality of the network can provide a boost to your firm’s search results and online reputation. Consider further utilizing the Network with the following:
- WSG’s Import Module automatically updates your professional profiles on the WSG site with the latest information from your site, providing another source of consistent and accurate online information.
- By posting firm news, articles and blogs to the WSG site, you’re further fueling search results and getting positive information about your firm in front of a larger audience.
- When firm professionals join practice and industry groups and actively contribute through discussion forums and posting blogs, they’re helping to build their own online presence.
- Contributing success stories to the WSG website provides additional opportunities to exhibit firm successes and collaborations.
- WSG Alliance Partner, Interact Marketing, provides in-depth expertise and services to help firms better leverage the latest digital marketing techniques and WSG.
In summary, when it comes to online reputation management the “best defense is a good offense” and WSG will continue to look for ways to best support your online reputation management efforts. Even by implementing some of the recommendations included in this article, you can impact how your firm is positioned online.
To learn more about how WSG and Alliance Partner Interact Marketing can help you to manage your online reputation, contact WSG Marketing at 713.650.0333 or [email protected]
This year’s WSG IBA Networking Luncheon is experiencing record registration with 120 members expected to attend and a 12% increase over last year’s participation. With international professionals coming together from across the WSG network, it’s a good time to ensure that your membership is optimized to make the most out of your attendance. From networking functions and luncheons to regional meetings, here are a few tips to make the most of your time – and membership:
1. Do your research
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a networking event is to study the people who are attending. Take advantage of WSG’s event pages to see who’s attending and use key search functions to make connections with individuals by firm, region, areas of practice and industries. Also, don’t forget to make sure your own profile is up to date.
2. Join groups
By joining a WSG association, practice or industry group you’ll automatically receive invitations to events, be notified when articles and news are published and have more opportunities to build relationships with professionals across the network.
3. Utilize the WSG mobile site
When traveling, it remains important to stay in touch. Considering the responsive abilities of the WSG website across tablets and smart phones, access to professionals and expertise can be done on the go. Visit m.worldservicesgroup.com to get familiar with the WSG’s mobile capabilities.
4. Strike early and introduce yourself to someone new
The IBA Luncheon will offer a strategic networking opportunity before lunch is served. Consider reviewing the attendee list in advance to determine if there are professionals you want to connect with.
Make a point to branch out and put the depth and breadth of the membership to work for you.
5. Follow Up
Aside from utilizing email and social media, the WSG website is a great place to stay in touch with people you meet, and reinforce your network connections. With practice groups, industry groups and association groups, like the IBA, WSG provides the resources to support your valuable connections.
We look forward to welcoming over 120 international delegates to the IBA Luncheon with the goal of building relationships and increasing referrals and collaborations throughout the network.
In the age of technology, there are more than 1.5 million smart phone applications that exist with upwards of 300 apps created every day. As discussed at the WSG 2015 Annual Meeting by keynote speaker, Rick Klau of Google Ventures, startups and the new generation of
evolving clients are not taking baby steps, but rather large leaps when it comes to technology. WSG recognized this early on and developed a mobile member-to-member app and a responsive, mobile-friendly website, further allowing members to access WSG and the member base on the go.
WSG is constantly looking to innovate and use technology to benefit our members. How is your firm leveraging technology to improve client services and solutions? If you’re thinking about furthering your mobile accessibility, here are five things you should consider:
How are clients using mobile devices? Take time to understand how a mobile app or site could most benefit your clients and your relationship with them. This is great way to gain insight into changing client needs and how a mobile offering could help meet them.
Get to know your competitors. Find out how your competitors are utilizing mobile devices and how you can improve upon their offering while differentiating your firm. This can help you to understand what it will take to achieve success in making your mobile presence unique.
The difference between mobile websites and mobile apps. While a mobile site is easy to use on a phone or tablet, an app is even easier. Once a user downloads an app they can access information at the touch of a button and the information tends to be more select and streamlined. This native app development does not require internet and allows information such as contact, member details, profile information, resources and knowledge tools to be quickly viewed.
The mobile experience is not the same as a desktop experience. People visit an app or mobile site because they want quick information and you must design with this in mind. If an app just transfers the same content and information from a desktop website, you’ll most likely have information overload and navigation too cumbersome for a smart phone.
Create mobile offerings for a specific campaign or event. Apps and mobile sites can serve many functions including unique campaigns, search features, user accounts, news feeds, and more. Consider this when designing apps and mobile sites.
While mobile apps and sites are still not the norm across professional services firms, it is precisely for this reason that they provide you with a unique opportunity to get a step ahead of your competitors and demonstrate to clients that your firm is forward-thinking. Either way, mobile apps and technology will continue to evolve and become a more significant part of business and business communications. If you decide to be at the forefront of these changes, we have a WSG alliance partner in place to help. Contact us at [email protected] or 713.650.0333 to learn more.
It is only fitting that with increased cross border activity and major changes impacting networks and global law firms alike, this year’s WSG Annual Meeting be held in New York City. With over 140 firm leaders representing over 70 worldwide jurisdictions, our host, Lowenstein Sandler LLP, has pulled out all the stops in developing the program and demonstrating their global reach. The agenda includes accomplished presenters from corporate giants including Google Ventures, Deloitte and Estee Lauder, as well as expert panelists covering relevant topics such as technology, cyber security, and regulatory changes. There will be ample opportunities to drive robust discussion and highlight market trends and issues.
This program represents the true depth and breadth that a network like WSG has in the global world.
Fundamental changes in the regulation of legal services are gaining momentum across the globe. From alternative legal structures to measures to open the legal market to outside capital investments, keeping up with these changes in itself is one of the most important issues firms are facing. The independent firm is always going to be important to the industry, and a firm with recognized history, contacts and stability in the market will always have an advantage in navigating market changes. By actively participating with WSG the independent firm gains size, strength, access and stability and secures its place among reputable go-to firms. It’s about leveraging the network to better understand and adapt to changing landscapes.
Programs like the WSG 2015 Annual Meeting – and numerous other meetings and initiatives that the network offers – demonstrate the unique opportunities and value that WSG provides to its members: bringing together leaders and experts from across industries and the world to address trends and issues impacting businesses, and then determining how to utilize the strengths of the network along with innovation and technology to differentiate ourselves and stay ahead of the competition. In a rapidly changing industry, firms must be able to meet changing client needs and find new and innovative ways to provide value and differentiate themselves. While these may be viewed as challenges for some firms, for members of a network like WSG, they can be viewed as opportunities. I applaud the efforts that host firm Lowenstein Sandler has put forth in creating an exceptional program and look forward to record participation.
WSG offers countless opportunities for firms and professionals to continually leverage the network. Over the next few months, WSG will feature blog posts on “How to Leverage the WSG Network” through marketing, news and articles and networking.
Part 1: Marketing
Whether your firm has a specialized person or a whole team in charge of marketing, it is a critical component of being part of WSG, and there are numerous opportunities to better leverage the WSG network from a brand standpoint.
1. Keep your WSG firm profile up to date to improve visibility and search engine optimization
Updating your firm’s information on the WSG website is as simple as it sounds, yet it has an invaluable impact on your presence and influence across the network. Take a look at your Firm’s Overview on the WSG website. Does your profile mirror the most important information and updates on your own site? What additional content and key words can you include to drive more traffic, improve search engine optimization and increase profile views? Finally, make sure your firm’s most recent logo, contacts and areas of practice are reflected on the WSG website. These are easy changes and updates to ensure your firm’s messaging is consistent, relevant and engaging.
2. Ensure all firm professionals maintain their individual WSG profiles
In addition to updating your firm’s information, it is equally important for professionals to maintain their individual WSG profiles. Each updated professional profile provides additional content that can enhance your firm’s visibility, leadership and search results from viewers within and outside of the network. Are your professionals, their headshots and descriptions up-to-date and congruent with your firm’s current website? Are their Areas of Practice, affiliations and successes highlighted? Each professional has a unique profile that can easily be updated and maintained to gain the most value for your firm. Take a few minutes right now to log in to the WSG site and review your own profile.
3. Showcase your WSG membership on your firm’s website – it’s a significant point of distinction
Your firm is a member of a premier global network. When clients are looking to hire a firm, they want to know that they are working with an industry leader who can offer comprehensive services and resources as their business needs change and grow. Showcase your WSG membership and industry influence by adding the WSG logo and description to your firm’s website. Do you have an affiliations page? Make sure WSG is featured there and on your company’s homepage. As a member of a premier global network, this is an easy way for your firm to increase your credibility and influence globally. Find WSG’s logo and messaging in the Knowledge Center, and be sure to feature your prestigious membership in WSG.
4. Utilize the resources and information found in WSG’s Knowledge Center to promote your membership and the value it brings
WSG’s Knowledge Center is a valuable resource for professionals, marketers and partners alike. The information and materials provided on this page have been designed to help firms best leverage their network affiliation across business development opportunities, presentations and communication channels such as websites, ranking authority listings, social media, marketing materials and press. The WSG Knowledge Center offers numerous resources including webinars,presentations to include in your next RFP, brochures, WSG handbook, brand guidelines and WSG messaging. With this recent page launch, it has never been easier for your firm to leverage the network with marketing materials right at your fingertips.
Be sure to watch out for Part 2 of our How to Leverage the WSG Network blog series. If you have questions or ideas in the meantime, contact WSG Marketing at +1 713 650 0333 or [email protected]
It’s obvious that awards season is here. Many World Services Group members can be seen front and center, acknowledged for their exceptional work through prestigious industry awards, professional rankings and other notable achievements. This is always an exciting time for the network as these deals and successes further affirm the quality and leadership of WSG members and provide ample opportunities to promote the strength and premier status of the network.
As noted by one of our member firms, “Industry awards and rankings are of significant value and constitute an important marketing tool. We ensure that any awards and leading rankings are promoted to our clients, via our website and social media channels for example, as a means of affirmation of the level and quality of our services from internationally-recognised third party sources”.
Whether you are looking to further establish expertise in a specific industry, gain new clients or increase traffic to your website – making sure you leverage awards, rankings and recognition can provide a big boost to marketing efforts. If you need further proof, consider the following:
Awards and rankings become part of and contribute to your online presence.
Clients searching for firms to hire or firms looking to make a referral will compare your online search results, including accolades, ultimately influencing decisions.
Awards attract and retain top professionals.
Industry recognition can help a firm stand out as an employer of choice.
Awards automatically brand your firm as successful and as an industry leader.
WSG stands behind our strong and distinguished membership base as we only accept the top providers of professional business services. Seeing the many awards received by member firms further supports such objectives. We look forward to continued successes by our member firms, and will continue to promote yours and our brand collectively.
Be sure to contact WSG Marketing at 713.650.0333 or [email protected] if you have any questions or suggestions on how to promote awards and recognition.
It used to be that your brand was what others said it was, today your brand should be defined by you. In an increasingly competitive business environment most certainly shaped by what is searched and found on the Internet, it is more important than ever for a firm to distinguish its brand online. Blogging is an important tool being used to demonstrate expertise, improve search engine results, build brand awareness and ultimately, increase business opportunities.
Because blogging and content development are so important, WSG has continued to define and refine tools and technologies with members in mind. Consider the following helpful list of tips to enhance your blogging efforts – and build brand identity:
1. Establish objectives. What are your goals for your blog? Don’t start a blog because “everyone is doing it” or “just to do it.” If your firm does not have a goal for your blog, chances are your audience will not understand its direction either. Figure out what areas of your firm you want to strengthen and focus your blog on those.
2. Be consistent. Your blog posts should be consistent in both timeframe and formatting. Determine how often you want to post – daily, weekly, or monthly. Once readers recognize a pattern in your postings, they are more likely to return to check on new posts. Formatting should also be consistent. This means fonts, layouts, colors, etc. that correlate with your brand and image. Remember, your blog is an extension of you and your brand.
3. Content is king. This is where you demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. Content is what builds trust and gets your audience to return. Keep in mind that search engines will also read your content, which could lead more individuals to find your blog and you. Keep your content interesting by using a collection of media in your postings such as images, infographs, links, videos, or audios.
4. Give your firm a voice and a personality. Your website is static and conveys content in the third person. Let your blog be more dynamic. Determine what writing style and personality your blog will have. Express opinions and share current news. Remember that while sharing your opinions you must be accurate professional, and that every post should be aligned with your firm’s goals and mission statement. Another way of being more dynamic is to show your audience the faces of your firm. Who runs it? Did anyone get recognized for their accomplishments? Highlight those around you.
5. Follow other individuals in your industry and do your research. Following others in the industry will help discover trending topics, assist in establishing an opinion, and determine ways to separate you from the pack. Mingle. Interacting with others can help you drive more traffic to your blog. Find individuals in your company who are blogging and comment on their blogs. Be insightful and respectful. Share blog posts that you find interesting. Chances are they may return the favor and share your content as well.
Don’t have a blog? By contributing to your chosen WSG Practice Group Blog, WSG will automatically distribute that content to the targeted audience. This improves your chances of reaching decision makers and leaders in the industry with one click. Contribute today and find your space in the industry!
If you do have a blog, view the WSG Blog homepage today to ensure your blog appears on the WSG site with other member firm blogs. Be sure to view other blogs, comment, share insights, and contribute today.
WSG Quick Links:
View WSG Member Blog Roll: http://worldservicesgroup.com/blog/
View WSG Blog: http://worldservicesgroup.com/blog/default.aspx
View WSG Practice Group Blogs: http://worldservicesgroup.com/blog/practice/default.aspx
Clients are relying more and more on the content they find across the Internet and social media to vet and select who they work with. Over 69% of in-house counsel listed attorney-authored blogs as somewhat or very important in selecting outside firms for hire, and a majority of in-house counsel reported following lawyer-authored blogs as closely as those written by professional journalists. (Greentarget 2014 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey)
The Big Picture: How we communicate and make decisions in the business world is changing rapidly – and the Internet and social media play a growing part in both. By harnessing the power of content, you can engage clients in conversations and topics that are most important to you, demonstrate your expertise, build trust in your brand, and grow traffic to your firm’s website. But, with the vast amount of content being produced every day, how can firms break through the clutter? WSG’s Join the Conversation webinar, Content is King, discusses the key steps and tips to best leverage the Internet and WSG to improve your firm’s online visibility and ultimately help meet your business goals.
Consider the following:
Have a plan. In order to produce a consistent stream of high quality, relevant content, you’ve got to have a plan. Start by creating an integrated strategy that aligns with your overall business goals. Next, determine what information and news are the most important to your existing and potential clients. Your plan should include an editorial calendar with specific tactics, suggested topics and headlines, content deadlines and allocated responsibilities. While it’s a major undertaking, you’ll be thankful for your hard work in the end.
Create meaningful content. Your clients are searching for information, answers and validation, and they trust sources that consistently provide all three. Be relevant and engaging – demonstrate your expertise and how you solve client problems. Include a mix of content types including original (by firm experts), curated (3rd party content with commentary from a firm professional) and syndicated (3rd party content republished on your site).
Distribute and promote across distribution channels. You took the time to create great content – now make sure it is received, read and shared. Repurpose and optimize content across multiple firm, WSG and other available channels and tools (yes, plural) – and make sure content is easy to share. Give people the best chance to see your content.
Measure & refine. In order for content marketing to be successful, you must have analytics to regularly track user behavior and be committed to refining your approach as necessary. Content effectiveness can be measured through web analytics, social media activity, downloads, comments and more.
Are you harnessing the power of your content? For a more in-depth look at how to leverage content marketing for your firm, view a replay of WSG’s recent webinar “Content is King”.
Content is King is the third webinar in WSG’s Join the Conversation Webinars series. Presenters include guest speaker and WSG Alliance Partner, Joe Beccalori, Co-Founder and President of Interact Marketing, as well as WSG’s own Maricarmen Trujillo, VP, Jess Ferdinand, Marketing Director, and Kendall Repka, Senior Marketing Coordinator. The Join the Conversation webinars are a critical part of bringing additional expertise, resources and value to the network and ensuring that we are doing everything we can to make sure your content – and your firm – get noticed. If you would like to discuss how to best leverage WSG’s web-based marketing initiatives and opportunities for your firm, please email [email protected] to schedule a time.
WSG is proud to announce the addition of 2 new practice groups in the European region: Intellectual Property and Insurance/Re-Insurance. Both groups offer a new platform for WSG members to connect and leverage their skills and expertise throughout the region and on a global scale.
Mr. Gary Assim of Shoosmiths will be leading the IP practice group. With over 20 years of experience, Mr. Assim has built up a strong reputation on both a national and international basis. He specialises in resolving disputes dealing with anti-counterfeiting and parallel importing.
Mr. Mark Helyar of Bedell Cristin will be leading the Insurance/Re-Insurance practice group. Mr. Helyar specializes in the use of protected cell companies (PCCs) for investment funds and insurance purposes and assisted in drafting the 2006 Guernsey law relating to incorporated cell companies. He has substantial expertise in corporate, commercial and investment fund practices as well.
These new groups are sure to garner much interest from the network as they both impact business leaders and clients alike. To see the full list of WSG practice groups for all members, please click here.
And let us know what you think! If you have any ideas for a new WSG Practice Group or blog, feel free to comment below of contact WSG's Practice Group Administrator Mrs. Gaby Saldaña at [email protected].