At the Kent Digital Awards, we are very proud to be working with the law firm Cripps, our Headline Sponsor.
It may be fair to say that overall the legal professional has not enjoyed the easiest transition to digital, but Cripps is among those bucking the trend.
Indeed the team at Cripps is rolling out a digital strategy, a move that it sees as “fundamental” to maintaining its long history of success as one of the region’s leading law firms.
We spoke to Pete Kenyon, the head of the Advertising, Technology and Media team at Cripps, about the firm and its emphasis on embracing digital technology.
Could you describe your organisation and its services?
Cripps is a key regional firm and is also ranked as a Top 100 UK law firm. We have around 350 people offering a combination of expertise to corporates and to individuals advising them on the full range of legal issues which face them.
We advise on a broad range of matters including corporate transactions, commercial contracts, employment law, IT, IP and dispute resolution. Families and individuals come to us for assistance in relation to property, inheritance issues, estate planning, matrimonial and family law matters.
The firm adopts a sector focus, with one of our key sectors being Advertising, Technology and Media.
What made you want to become involved with the Digital Awards?
For us, getting involved with the Kent Digital Awards presents a great opportunity to support local businesses that, like us, have a keen interest in digital technology.
As head of the Advertising, Technology and Media team at Cripps, I get to work with businesses that place digital innovation at the very heart of what they do. So, we understand that for many organisations, utilising digital media effectively is essential if they are to remain competitive.
I believe it’s important that these businesses are recognised and rewarded for the way in which they are using digital technology to drive growth and revenue; the Digital Awards do this.
Cripps has always been a great supporter and active member of the Kent business community. Supporting the KDAs provides us with an opportunity to underline our commitment to Kent business and help create a platform for celebrating success and sharing ideas and best practice.
How would you describe your organisation’s relationship with digital technology?
The legal profession is undergoing a massive transformation – we know that to remain a key player our digital strategy is fundamental to that.
As a business, we always put our clients first. We rely heavily on digital technology to help us do this. It allows us to deliver services to our clients more efficiently and cost effectively.
Investing in technology to improve our client service is a critical component of our strategy, enabling agile working and the ability to serve clients wherever we or they are. In late 2016 we moved to cloud based technology, virtual desktops and cloud telephony. Earlier in 2016, we introduced an e-learning platform to complement our award winning intranet.
Our client first approach is also reflected in the structure of our website, which has been designed to echo how people want to access legal advice, rather than how we structure ourselves internally.
How has your relationship with your customers/clients changed with the dawn of digital technology?
Advances in digital technology have provided us with a wide variety of ways to interact with our clients and of course this can only be a good thing. We are able to engage with different audiences through our focused social media campaigns and the potential reach of these campaigns is far larger than through the use of traditional communication tools. However, as a business that strives to treat everyone as an individual and to deliver a bespoke service, we know that even the best digital communications can never replace a face to face meeting.
Our aim is to constantly keep an eye on tomorrow in order to ensure that we embrace all of the technological changes which can benefit the clients’ Cripps experience. This will often mean providing a multi faceted user experience which we embrace. Our philosophy is that through a great understanding of the tech on offer, the opportunities for us are endless – this is a very exciting time to be offering legal services.
Which social media campaigns or accounts have really caught your eye recently?
The “live there” campaign from Airbnb was really interesting – a great way to bring to life the power of their offering to access real life experiences was very clever – whilst maintaining clarity and simplicity, something not always characteristic of campaigns…
What have you found to be the most positive and negative aspects of using social media for your business?
We always look to engage with our clients and contacts in the easiest way possible for them. Social media channels offer another way for people to get in touch and start a conversation. Social media also allows us to share information and comment on topical issues faster than ever, allowing us to demonstrate that we are on top of the important issues impacting our audience. We share regular updates, insight and links on Twitter through @CrippsLaw, LinkedIn and host a number of blogs. Having Twitter accounts and blogs dedicated to key sectors and areas of law (technology, employment, food and drink, healthcare etc) allows us to deliver more targeted and meaningful messages.
But of course, there are downsides – as lawyers – we are always acutely aware of these.
Once something is shared on social media, it is out there for all to see. Any control of how that information is managed and disseminated is lost. This can be challenging if you want to control how information is shared, so we always have to be mindful of this when we interact with social media.
The other challenge is that, in allowing freedom to speak, we need to consider the wider implications to our brand. We are of course a law firm, but we also believe strongly in individual thought and creativity. It is so important to strike the right balance, as failure to do so can cut the life blood of social media which is the energy and passion of individuals to communicate.
What advice would you give to businesses looking to improve their online activity?
As a technology lawyer, I spend much of my time working with clients whose business models rely on the use of technology. So often, when a business wants to increase online activity, they launch into it without too much thought. What can possibly go wrong? Like any other big investment, proper planning is required and having a meaningful and structured digital strategy in place is essential. This can help to get a handle on costs from the start, identify required expertise and reduce inherent risks. It is far easier to destroy a brand now than ever before because the reach of campaigns is so vast. Equally, when handled properly and with the right planning, a campaign can revolutionise your business. For me, the biggest mistake that is made is businesses thinking they can do it all themselves. My advice is to stick to what you know and get the experts in to help you with what you don’t.