Eight years ago, the South Carolina Bar Association was feeling bruised and battered. Nikki Haley had just been elected South Carolina’s first female governor. Her winning campaign included bashing trial lawyers, which didn’t sit well with the Bar’s membership. A brand-building image campaign was in order.
My recommendation to the Bar was to produce a series of branded videos using the theme “Proud to be a South Carolina Lawyer,” featuring attorneys from across the state. The attorneys would share personal stories of why they chose the profession and their roles in their communities. The Bar could use the videos on their website, Youtube, social media, email marketing, and in presentations. Bar members would also have access to the videos.
Bar leadership liked the idea so much that the original scope of work, 10 videos, ultimately grew to 20 videos to reflect the diversity of the Bar’s members and their practice areas.
By any measure, that was a lot of videos and with a limited budget and aggressive schedule, we – my videographer Bobby Rettew and I – had to be smart about production. We decided on a branded template with these ground rules to ensure a consistent, high-impact message and for ease of filming/editing:
- Uniform open and close
- Single music bed
- The attorneys would speak to the same points
- Pre-interviews with the attorneys to set the storyline
- Limited location shooting
With client approval of this approach, the Bar brand re-building video adventure began. I have to admit it is one of the favorite projects of my career. Why? Because the people we met totally changed my perception of the legal profession. Not that I had a negative perception. It’s just that having the opportunity to see inside another person’s life, hear their stories, and translate those stories to video had a profound impact on me. Here are a few of my favorite Proud to be a South Carolina Lawyer videos:
Zandra Johnson grew up in public housing in Greenville, SC. She was the first person in her family to go to college, but it took her seven years to graduate as she had two children while in school. Only with her mother’s help did she make it through. After graduation, Zandra received scholarship offers from several law schools. Her mother agreed to continue helping her on one condition: three years in, three years out. See Zandra’s story here>
James Thompson is an adoption attorney in Spartanburg, SC. He loves having a positive impact on the lives of families desperate to adopt a child. There’s a flip side to James’ story; he also works with young women with unplanned pregnancies, guiding them through the legal and emotional process of giving up their baby. His motivation for being a lawyer is the people making courageous decisions for their children. See James’ story here>
Tommy Pope was the solicitor in Rock Hill, SC, when Susan Smith murdered her two small children and the story made national headlines. This experience would have rattled most, but Tommy handled the pressure on the local and national stages with sensitivity and clarity. See Tommy’s story here>
Ernest A. Finney, Jr. was the first African-American chief justice of South Carolina’s Supreme Court. When he graduated law school in 1954, he was one of only five African-American lawyers in South Carolina and the state bar was segregated. Undeterred, Ernest opened a law firm and gained a reputation as an outstanding defense lawyer and civil rights advocate. He and his partner defended more than 6,000 clients who had been arrested for taking part in freedom rides and demonstrations. He served in the SC State Legislature and became a judge. When the “gig came up” – his words – for chief justice on the state’s Supreme Court, he pursued it and won! Telling this man’s story was an incredible honor. I as sorry we didn’t have a hour to do so. See Ernest’s story here>
I don’t have to tell you how effective video is. Just look at Youtube and other social media platforms. Done right, it’s the ticket for building or re-building your brand. If you have questions about the Proud to be a South Carolina Lawyer video series, want to know how to produce an effective branded video series or want to share feedback, please contact me. With hundreds of videos, television and radio ads to my credit, I have insight to share.