Marketing the Law.
It has to be faced that the providers of private legal services do not always enjoy the happiest of reputatations in the eyes of the general public.
Nor does the profession have a product or commodity that lends itself to many conventional marketing techniques.
The television and telephone book advertising apart, little time goes by without some member of the profession significantly blotting their own or their colleagues' copybook.
There are always anecdotal and apocryphal accounts of some local legal rascal who has failed to distinguish between funds belonging to the client and their personal overriding need for a new house, car, pony for daughter etc etc.
Legal services cannot be sold like double glazing or three piece suites. Such commodities tend to immediately improve quality of life, status or feel good factor.
A lawyer is needed when you are injured in hospital (with the mortgage falling into arrears), or when the P45 has suddenly and unexpectedly arrived, or when one's belongings are inexplicably in a suitcase on the doorstep or someone's died.
All good cheery stuff. Being the sort of animals that we are, we prefer not to think about disaster purchases until we absolutely have to. How many people actually buy tyres or exhausts before they need them? Or even give thought to from where they might be bought?
So, the answer to ensure that the brand is readliy and easily distinguishable from the competition. In terms of quality of service, accessibility, approachability, professional image and identity. And wherever possible, already in the mind and possession of the potential client.
The holy grail: First Notification of Loss.
The Cycle-Aid brand is already well established due to an enviable reputation, intrinsic brand qualities, media advertising and conference/event participation. The next steps involve building upon the increasing uptake, popularity and exposure which cycling is currently receiving.
A number of opportunities exist whereby this may be accomplished. Through government funding administered by Cycling England, eleven new Demonstration Towns and one Demonstration City are poised over the next three years to attempt to increase cycling numbers. The original six towns continue to receive financial and practical support.
Experience teaches that the optimum means of increasing numbers is through employers facilitating 'bike to work' schemes as part of workplace travel planning. WTPs are currently adopted by the public sector, both nationally and locally, educational establishments, Primary Care Trusts and by private enterprise.
Attendance at conferences and exhibititions organised in the main by the Association for Commuter Transport but also by the NHS and TfL has heightened awareness of the Cycle-Aid brand and product. in order to capitalise upon this it is necessary to commit resources to servicing the existing database, promoting the concept via niche media and maintaining a presence on the conference circuit.
Products and Services to facilitate the uptake of cycling by removing obstacles, barriers and apprehensions.
The core of Cycle-Aid has historically been the contact card and free-phone advice line. In the context of assisting with the cycling component of workplace travel planning this is an ideal and cost neutral device which the travel planner can deploy without outlay. Its purpose is to provide a safety net to participants that would otherwise only be available through joining a membership organisation.
The corollary to this are the Cycle-Aid care booklets which forearm cyclists with vital information upon their rights and the obligations of other road users and highway authorities. These are printed with a bespoke design reflecting the individual organisation.
There is a portfolio of 'carrots' as travel planners choose to call them, which are useful in launching or reviving a scheme. These include practical and safety gear such as hi-viz back packs, water bottles marked with a graduated scale (for checking is a highway defect is actionable) called Waterholes and slap-wraps bearing the Cycle-Aid strap-line 'give cyclists a second's chance'.
The idea is that if motorists could be persuaded to extend their journey times by as much as a whole minute, many of the scrapes caused by impatience would be avoided.