Categories

Recent Posts

Proposed Legislation May Restrict Legal Advertising

2020 legislative update_featured

A bill has passed through committee in the Florida House of Representatives (PCB CJS 20-02) that would restrict the advertising of legal services. According to Florida House staff analysis, these changes prohibit legal advertisements from containing certain terminology or use of protected health information.

  • PCB CJS 20-02 passed a committee vote, now filed as H 7083.
  • Prohibits legal advertisements from using certain terminology or failing to include specified disclosures.
  • Violations subject to penalties under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Law firms advertising that there is recourse for bad prescription drugs may become more difficult in the state of Florida. The bill, H 7083, has overwhelmingly passed a critical subcommittee vote, which will add more advertising stipulations for legal advertising to the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 1288, is still in committee and doesn’t appear to have any momentum. The only difference between the House and Senate bills is language focusing on disclosure of “claim amounts.”

This legislation comes on the heels of a 2017 survey by the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR). The ILR surveyed over a thousand adults currently taking one or more prescriptions a day. The survey found that a significant amount of the participants would reduce their dosage of a drug if they saw an advertisement about a lawsuit for injury caused by a medication they were taking. Nearly half of the survey respondents said they would definitely or probably stop taking the drug immediately after seeing the advertisement.

Legal advertising focused on pharmaceuticals may have the potential to affect viewers adversely, resulting in severe consequences. The findings of the 2017 study were confirmed in September of 2019 by the Federal Trade Commission. Through the government’s Adverse Event Reporting System, consumers stopped taking their prescription drugs after seeing commercials about litigation regarding those medications.

According to a legal brief about the proposed bill, H 7083 “prohibits legal advertisements from containing certain terminology and prohibits certain use, sale, or transfer of protected health information without specified authorization for purposes of soliciting legal services.” The brief goes on to describe some of the prohibitions and requirements:

  • Prohibits a person who submits a legal advertisement for publication, broadcast, or dissemination, or who pays for or otherwise sponsors a legal advertisement from:
    • Failing to clearly and conspicuously disclose the sponsor of the advertisement;
    • Failing to clearly and conspicuously disclose the award amount the client received after paying for legal services and costs if the advertisement includes information regarding the amount of a damage award obtained on behalf of a client;
    • Displaying government agency logos in a manner implying an affiliation with that agency;
    • Including terminology implying that the product has been recalled when it has not been;
  • Requires a legal advertisement to clearly disclose the warning, “Do not stop taking a prescribed medication without first consulting your doctor,” if the advertisement solicits clients who may allege injury from a prescription drug; and
  • Prohibits a person from using, obtaining, selling, transferring, or disclosing to another person without written authorization protected health information to solicit legal services.

The proposed bill also outlines the cause of action for anyone that suffers physical injury as a result of legal advertising, as well as action taken by the Department of Legal Affairs or state attorney.

Even though these bills may not pass during the 2020 session, they certainly are not dead. There is a good chance they will get passed in 2021. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. I can also provide you with a copy of the proposed bill and the state’s legal analysis.

 

 

 

Zodiac Marketer: Aquarius

aquarius zodiac Astrology Marketing

by Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management

Our next zodiac sign is Aquarius: birthdays between January 20 – February 18.

Aquarius is an air sign with the strengths of originality, being progressive, and being a humanitarian. A couple of Aquarius’ weaknesses are that they can be temperamental, uncompromising. We’ll explore ways these positive and negative traits can be applied or avoided in marketing and business practices.

Progressiveness in Marketing

Being progressive is a useful trait in any business. A progressive person stays in tune with new technology, industry news and advancements, and keeps their finger on the pulse of current events and ideas. Progressive business people tend to be more open minded and adaptable, which is an attitude that promotes agility and flexibility, two traits necessary to survive and thrive in our ever-evolving contemporary world.

While getting stuck in a mindset or habit can be detrimental and even fatal to your business, don’t be afraid to embrace tradition where appropriate. Tradition and legacy have an important place, particularly for professional services businesses. A blend of embracing new ideas while cherishing the legacies that brought us here demonstrates a thoughtful, well-rounded depth of character.

A progressive business person is also more likely to ask for feedback from their team and be a more present, compassionate leader. These are two rising leadership qualities that will improve business performance and reputation.

Originality in Marketing

Originality may seem like a no-brainer in marketing, but at a time where it seems like everything has already been done, originality can be a challenge. However, thorough research gives us insight into the existing creative work in an industry, so we both have an idea of industry trends and what to steer clear of in order to

For example, in our design projects, creating to the highest design standards is Pinstripe’s goal. We do thorough research on both the brand we are creating for and its industry to make sure we are not overlapping with competitors. Research teaches us what to avoid so that we can get closer to an original logo concept. At the end of the day, a strong mark and color palette that speaks volumes is what we aim for, not a masterpiece work of art.

Humanitarianism in Marketing

Humanitarianism as a topic can help to boost your marketing campaigns, but it’s also important to be a humanitarian behind the scenes. What’s the difference?

Humanitarian acts are endearing, and if you portray your company in this light, you are appealing to people’s compassion, goodness and “tugging at their heartstrings,” so to speak. You see this every day in television commercials, on billboards, and on social media. An example is Johnson & Johnson’s 2019 commercial series. These commercials promote the many ways that Johnson & Johnson has products for your “whole life” and all the work they do to keep people healthy for their whole lives, not just as babies.

A humanitarian company donates money to support charities, sends their team out to volunteer on a regular basis, and gives back to their community and the world. A company that has humanitarian programs in place doesn’t just use the imagery and vocabulary to promote themselves.

A truly humanitarian company goes a step further to align its mission and vision with making the world a better place, like the company 4Ocean. This company exists to clean up our oceans while simultaneously providing jobs for coastal communities around the world. Savvy consumers will actually do the research to support companies who live their mission rather than just using heartwarming imagery to make a sale.

Avoid: Being Temperamental

Have you ever had a temperamental coworker or boss? If so, you know how unproductive this behavior can be. In fact, moody people are the antithesis of productive ones for so many reasons.

If you have a temperamental person in a position of leadership, their attitude and unpredictability deter employees from presenting new ideas or speaking up about injustices in the workplace. This fear of open communication because of a potential backlash from a boss prevents the free flow of ideas. It could also cause employees to harbor resentment and have a negative impact on their job performance. If someone resents leadership, they are more likely to resent the company and underperform, cut corners, and lose passion for the company’s mission. Employees may even be motivated to leave the company in search of a more fulfilling and positive atmosphere.

Temperamental coworkers are annoying at best, and at worst, can be downright disruptive. Their negative mood swings can weaken morale, impede teamwork, and create distrust within the team. Creativity can be stifled, and great employees may seek more fulfilling opportunities elsewhere.

Don’t be the person who stirs up this type of disharmony in the workplace!

Avoid: Being Uncompromising

At its core, compromise is an important aspect of interpersonal relationships. I’m not talking about the romantic, first date kind of relationship. I’m talking about a serious, productive working relationship.

Businesses are all about good relationships, right? So, you should expect to compromise in a variety of business situations on a regular basis. Don’t ruin your business relationships by being uncompromising. If you expect that compromise will happen and you practice it, you’ll be a much better negotiator. You’ll also be free of the stress that comes from all that conflict.

Have you ever experienced any of the above traits in your marketing campaigns or business? We’d love to hear your stories, the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Quick Tip: Brand Guidelines Begin with Internal Rollout

brand style guide_featured

by Michael Premo, Content Strategist

Graphic designers and the marketing department aren’t the only ones that need to know how to steer your brand in the right direction. If you want to maintain your brand’s integrity, you need to start from within.

 

Maintaining Brand Identity

You already know that your brand is more than just your logo and tagline. It represents your entire organization, which is why we develop guidelines to keep it coherent. Any email, billboard or radio spot that steps outside your guidelines can have a negative effect on your brand identity.

  • Consistency – Because each impression counts, your brand needs to be memorable and easy to recall. Even minor changes to your brand can mislead your audience.
  • Authenticity – Any change to your brand may alter its meaning. When this happens, even as a joke or for a funny meme, it may get you into legal trouble.
  • Professionalism –When you don’t follow the guidelines, your presentations look like student projects. We call this the “Microsoft Paint Effect” because very few good things come from MS Paint.

 

The Problem Is Internal

Employees in search of creativity should leave your brand alone. To exercise their creative muscles, they should be encouraged to join an art class or build their own brand to be showcased on their personal Wix site.

Perhaps they don’t understand why the colors and typography of your communications need to always be the same—always. It’s time you educate them, and here are some quick tips on how.

Brand Awareness Survey

This will bring your fellow employees into the process of maintaining your brand guidelines. Your survey should ask several things:

  • Brand awareness – You need to gauge what they know and don’t know.
  • Current Messaging – Are they aware of what the current messaging is?
  • Satisfaction – Does the brand work for their role in the company?
  • Workarounds – Do they ever create brand workarounds? Why?
  • Suggestions – How can our brand identity be improved?

Make It an Event

An event will get more people engaged, especially if it’s fun. You can discuss the results of your survey and have a Q & A session. Yes, this requires an investment, but think of it as an ounce of prevention. Fewer mistakes mean fewer problems and lost opportunities with clients.

Distribute the Guidelines

You can send frequent internal emails that focus on the most common mistakes people make regarding your brand. Each email should direct everyone to have a copy of the guidelines or a link with quick access to them. Brand-specific templates should also be available for anything from email signatures to PowerPoint presentations. For your initiative to be effective, it has to extend beyond the guidelines.

Departmental Brand Playbook

Because your guidelines can be a hundred pages or more, you can work with each department to have specific playbooks that are relevant to their workflow, but not specific to any individual position in the company. Only the designers need to use the technical specifications for your logo. Besides, quick reference guides take less time and energy to use, so in theory, more people will use them.

Be Available to Help

If it’s outside their playbook, you need to be available to help them. Create an FAQ section in your guidelines for quick references and have an open door policy. This will keep them from feeling like the guidelines are too strict and not allowing them to do their job.

 

Brand Integrity Can Be Fragile

Anyone that touches your brand, internally or externally, has the potential to misuse it. If you really think about it, this makes your brand fragile. So, if you want to protect it and your company’s brand identity, you need to start where it has the most touch.

“Consider the brand’s custodians by establishing the full picture for the brand in a detailed style guide that clearly states every type of media it will go on. Creating guidelines for the brand in case it gets passed on, will help protect the it from misuse by other designers and non-designers who get to work with it, keeping the brand consistent,” says Evie Larson, Pinstripe Marketing Creative Director.

Larson developed the following gorgeous visual brand style guide for MFM Legal that contains design guidance covering many elements such as logo, color, composition, photography and typography. This guide follows our recommendations for style guides.

 

Pinstripe understands how businesses manage their brand guidelines. We recently helped a multinational, multi-billion dollar business refresh their brand identity, as well as maintain their brand integrity. Contact us to learn how we can develop your brand guidelines to be more consistent—to look more professional.

Pinstripe Answers: How Do I Fix a Bad Online Review?

online reputation management_featured

by Michael Premo, Content Strategist

This is a question we get asked about a lot. Getting rid of a bad review is not easy, but there are ways to fix it, all of which depend upon where it’s at and your level of interaction.

Many of our clients are in the professional services industry. They rely on recommendations and positive online reviews through sites such as Google, Lawyers.com and the Better Business Bureau. Occasionally, they’ll get a bad review on one of these sites or other lesser-known ones that may have a long term effect on their reputation. While there’s no single easy fix for a bad review, there are many approaches to lessen the effects, and in some cases turn a negative into a positive.

 

Where It’s at Matters

In real estate, location matters. The same can be said for a bad online review. Some websites allow you to respond, while others don’t. The trick is to watch them closely, set up alerts through Google and hire a reputation watchdog.

Let’s take a look at where and what you can do about it.

  • Social Media – Respond Directly and Send a Direct Message (DM)

You have “complete” control of your social media account; therefore, you can delete anything posted directly to your wall. But, business reviews on Facebook or other social media platforms cannot be deleted. You can respond to them, and this article will tell you how to formulate a positive, non-adversarial response.

Another way to handle a bad review is to send a direct message to the reviewer and find some sort of common ground. This may require an investigation into the source of their frustration, as well as some humble pie. The point is to see if they can change or delete their rating. Be very careful about your approach and the words you use. And, be humble, because saying the wrong thing could make matters worse.

  • Google – Respond Directly if Possible and Respond to Review

The world’s #1 search engine also provides its users with business ratings and snippets of reviews. You can “Manage Reviews” in your Google My Business account. Avoid using your smartphone or another mobile device when doing this. Your laptop/desktop gives you the ability to take your time and collect your thoughts—make sure spelling, grammar, and tone are correct.

Take a moment to assess a negative review before you respond. Was this customer a good fit for your business? How were their expectations not met? Can you reach out to them directly? A response is necessary, especially when there’s nothing you can do or say to make them feel better about your business. Just make sure that you follow proper etiquette and maintain a very professional posture. At all costs avoid getting into a back and forth argument with the dissatisfied customer. This is unprofessional and will make you look worse in the eyes of your audience.

A similar approach to responding to Facebook reviews can be taken here as well. Respond directly to the client by reaching out to them personally in an attempt to mend the relationship. In turn they may remove their negative feedback or change it to a positive. Win-win situation here!

  • Lawyers.com – No Response

What do you do when you can’t respond to a bad review or several of them? You go on the offensive and reach out to as many clients as possible and solicit positive reviews. To capture their attention, offer them something in return, such as a book that’s relevant to their industry or free consultation. Be creative with this, because the more you get, the less substantive that negative review will be.

  • Yelp.com – Respond Directly and Send a Direct Message (DM)

People are paying attention to how you respond to a positive or negative review. So, you need to respond to every review, but take your time to know more about a negative review before you respond. If you don’t know the “whole” story, you may hurt your chances to change that bad review. This starts with reaching out to the reviewer. If you know their email address, send them an email. If not, you can DM them through Yelp. Find out more about the situation and how you can remedy it. If they aren’t willing to respond, then compose and post your response to their review.

 

Your Response Needs to Be Timely

You need to respond as quickly as possible for each negative review for a couple of reasons. The first is so others will see that you are committed to your clients and care about their experience with your business. The other reason is that you have a major opportunity to change a bad review into a good one. According to Yelp, you have a 33% chance to change a bad review into a good one if you respond within 24 hours.

The Pinstripe PR team are reputation management pros and can help mitigate negative comments. We have helped local and nationally-based businesses with their online reputation. Contact us to learn how we can help strengthen your reputation.

Rebranding? Let’s Talk About Your Logo

by Michael Premo, Content Strategist

Every company, from Fortune 500 to a small family-owned business, goes through a period when their brand needs a new look—a brand refresh. It’s such a major undertaking that often gets delayed until it starts hurting the bottom line. That’s how powerful your logo is. People associate your products and services with it on both conscious and subconscious levels.

Your logo does a lot of heavy lifting. It appears on everything, from letterhead to sales decks to trade show booths. Think of it as the cornerstone of your brand. So, it should be eye-catching, memorable, and work well for large formats or small print.

 

Three Major Aspects of a Logo

To bring your logo to the next level, it needs to answer the following questions:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • How?
  • Why?

It should also reflect your company’s mission and vision for the future. This takes time and energy. It’s not something that can be done overnight, plus it will take several rounds of revisions to get it right.

 

To get you started with your brand refresh, start thinking about these three major qualities of your logo:

Color Does Matter

Researchers have spent a lot of time on how people are affected by color and color theory. You don’t need to spend a lot of time on this, just know that it exists and it matters (the Pinstripe creative team knows this stuff inside and out).

Colors that are analogous or complementary will create the most impact. How they do this is through the power of communication. The right colors provide contrasts to make an object stand out, which immediately grabs our attention. A great example of this is the FedEx logo: purple and orange on a white background (Did you know that between the “Ex” is an arrow?).

There’s also the psychology of color and its significance in our everyday lives. Let’s take purple as an example. Purple is a symbol of nobility and luxury. It signifies power and ambition. The “Fed” in FedEx is purple, showing the power of the federal government.

Another color, green, is about health, wealth, growth and safety. We are seeing greens being utilized in more banking and investment firms than ever.

As you can see, color goes beyond what you like or the latest trends. To make your logo timeless, brainstorm with your creative team to come up with color combinations that speak to your mission and vision.

The Font

To be unique and clever, you’ll need to distinguish your brand from your competitors. Using a simple yet eye-catching font can achieve this. Some brands have custom made fonts, such as Coca-Cola, whereas Target uses Helvetica (a very common font). It’s all in the presentation of the name, so you’ll need to be flexible.

Like Coca-Cola, your logo can be the name of your business, also called logotype. There are strong fonts available that represent your brand personality and send the right signals to potential clients. You also want to find something that will last, while remaining open to simple changes to fit the times. Just remember that keeping it simple is the best option. Again, the creative team that works on your rebranding campaign will guide you in font selection.

Symbols, Meaning and Motion

A symbol or picture can be a representation of your brand—the who, what, how and why. This is where negative space is a big help. Negative or blank space keeps the logo clean and makes it clever. You can introduce shapes as another way to help your logo maintain a professional look. Two of the most common are squares and circles. Many law and accounting firms place their names within a rectangle to show honesty and stability.

A symbol can also provide motion, such as the Nike swoosh or the Amazon arrow that looks like a smile, too. These act as metaphors for what the brands do. Turning a circle into a sphere will give it motion. The teardrop in Cott Corporations’ logo also shows movement. All of these are important if you want to show your audience the meaning of your company.

 

A Logo That Establishes Relationships

As you can see, bringing all of these elements together into one logo is very important. And, it’s important to remember that it needs to be balanced and flexible enough to scale without any issues. The logo should have positive symmetry and appear balanced in any configuration. It should also be visible and readily identifiable in black and white.

“We can explain the “how” all day; how color, font, and form come together to create a powerful logo, but ultimately you need to leave it up to your creative professionals like Pinstripe Marketing to design and color your mark. You do not want to DIY something like this, it’s just too important and the design process is too specialized to have your niece do it for free or even have your in-house designer whip something up. Logo development is a very strategic process,” says Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management at Pinstripe Marketing.

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with their logo. We specialize in discovering their traits—their corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and the logo you envision.