Marketing Communications

Winner: Halleland Lewis Nilan & Johnson, Kohnstamm Communications and Foote & Co.

Campaign: The Lawyer Job Interview Translator

Recruiting new talent in today's business climate is no easy feat, especially when you are going after members of Generation Y to fill positions in a traditionally stiff corporate profession such as law.

To completely turn the usual approach of recruiting this demographic on its head, executives at Halleland Lewis Nilan & Johnson, a Minneapolis-based law firm, teamed up with agency partners Kohnstamm Communications and Foote & Co. to attract the most qualified, best-fit Gen Y-ers, whose talent could then be cultivated to become top-tier professionals.

The approach: "The Translator," a recruitment-focused online microsite featuring a talking head interviewer, who lampoons the jargon-heavy law firm messages by translating them into blunt statements that convey key points through humor.

Preparing For Lift-Off

The microsite,, was set to launch at the end of July 2008, and it aimed to cut through the inflation-heavy legal realm to address aspects of sustainable legal services that weren't solely related to money. The plan for reaching the team's target audience: Make "The Translator" a viable viral marketing vehicle via the following tactics:

  • Search engine optimization;

  • Issuing a news release upon the site's launch that tied into the larger trend of firms offering larger salaries to retain the Gen Y legal talent rather than addressing the other workplace issues important to this demographic;

  • Pitching national media trades and relevant industry blogs;

  • Creating incentives for all firm members to forward the microsite link to their contacts;

  • Loading flash drives with information about "The Translator" and giving them to potential recruits; and,

  • Teaming up with career counselors at law schools to pass the link onto their students.

Then, the team implemented phase two, which included updates to the translator site that included more information surrounding the firm's authentic culture and its differentiated views on leadership, diversity and the use of technology--all issues that are especially important to members of Gen Y.

Mission Accomplished

While the number of recruits brought in as a direct result of "The Translator" is still being calculated, the campaign's initial success can be measured by the overwhelming interest expressed by employees and law school counselors, as well as by the heavy traffic that the microsite experienced. Specially, the recruitment committee reported that most on-campus interviewees mentioned "The Translator" and its positive impact on their feelings about the firm.

Honorable Mention

Company: Marler Clark LLP

Campaign: Marler Clark Outbreak Audio News Releases

Marler Clark attorneys have a long history of representing victims of every major food borne illness in the U.S., but increased competition required them to enhance their branding as leaders in the space. To do so, they incorporated audio news releases into their marketing strategy, targeting consumers in affected outbreak areas and establishing the Marler Clark Web site as a resource for food borne illnesses. The audio news release strategy enabled Marler Clark to provide consumer information very cost-effectively, reach more than 11 million radio listeners in areas affected by various outbreaks.

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