The Brief

Simon Gibson is a leading lawyer turned lawyer-leader. That’s a description we coined (more on that later), to describe a career trajectory that has been exponential. By the age of 25, he was a senior partner to an independent law firm where he transformed profits from £200,000 to £7 million. It might have been where his success settled had it not been for personal circumstances propelling him in a new direction. Today Simon is the CEO and founder of Spirant Group – a global group of five legal and tech businesses, offering independent law firms tools for growth, by enabling them to outsource their business needs to experienced professionals.

Having been at the helm of Spirant Group for more than a decade now, Simon sought out ways to impart some of his leadership experience and knowledge to other like-minded professionals. Keen to keep the format engaging and personable, Simon established his podcast ‘Success Won’t Come Calling’. It proved to be a popular listen, however what was becoming increasingly difficult to disseminate – was how many of those listeners were the right kind of listeners. And because a lot of resource was being poured into creating the podcast, we felt that Simon and his team needed to ensure that the return on that investment was contributing to raising his profile as a legal leader – rather than just growing listenership.

Simon looked to us then to refresh, strengthen and market his personal brand. This would mean consolidating many facets under one cohesive and compelling creative, as well as setting out brand guidelines for multichannel touch points, including the podcast, and an effective and highly targeted B2B marketing strategy.

Pinpointing the perfect persona

To fulfil such a complex and multidimensional brief, we first needed to properly understand who it is that our creative outputs would be talking to and how to position Simon amongst this audience. 

Through our research, and an in depth immersion with Simon and his team, we identified six different audience personas tailored to the high-growth business sectors of the UK and NW England, and then after further research and discussion with the client, honed in on one – those who ‘want to become a better leader.’ To these people, Simon is a more relatable and credible figure because he is a high-performing leader of a similar demographic, who speaks the same executive language, dealing with the same challenges and hurdles they face.

An in-depth look at the characteristics and behaviours of those who fall within this group of people – where they spend their time online, what content they digest and how they network with other like-minded professionals – helped build a clear picture of a potentially highly targetable and highly engaged audience. 

Developing the creative concept

Next, we presented Simon with two creative concepts to be rolled out across everything from the website to his social channels. Appreciating that Simon’s indisputable USP was not his many business accolades, but rather, him. A charismatic, engaging, and down-to-earth Northerner, we understood that the brief here was to balance personality with professionalism – and address the best way to fulfil the intended proposition; to be the senior mentor for senior leaders.

The second, and chosen, creative concept put forward hinged on the repetition of ‘on’ found in both Simon’s first and second names. The idea related to the ‘always on’ mentality that Simon encapsulated – always absorbing, learning, listening and being an active part of conversations across the sector.

As a tagline too, it was incredibly versatile. Put forward any subject, and it’d work as an effective and simple way of conveying Simon’s knowledge on a topic. Simon Gibson ON tech; Simon Gibson ON culture; ON growth; ON networking; ON talent; and so on. In a distinctive purple hue, this creative concept would add to a unique set of brand guidelines that could be rolled out cohesively across all of the touch points targeted as part of the marketing strategy. 

Armed with this focus, we set about transforming the existing content and the visual identity of Simon’s existing portfolio. On the website, this meant creating more succinct copywriting with an authoritative Tone of Voice injected with personality. For Simon’s bio, for example, we condensed his interesting story into a compelling narrative that asserted him as a leading authority on business and legal leadership. As well as new upbeat, and fresh photography to better reflect the energy of the new brand, and Simon’s personality. 

Delivering the chosen creative concept

A new podcast

Over on his podcast, then named ‘Success Won’t Come Calling,’ we used all of the insight gathered to fine-tune this audible output into one more tailored to the intended listeners. Keen to position the podcast as relevant to high-performing legal leaders, whilst at the same conveying Simon’s gravitas as a lawyer turned leader – we created a new name: ‘From the Courtroom to the Boardroom’. The blurb now reads ‘an upbeat podcast exploring a fresh take on everything from The Courtroom to The Boardroom and the thought-provoking intersection between law and business’ – effectively capturing the essence of Simon’s own career trajectory and the value his experience can add to relevant listeners.

It still retained its own logo, but in a way that felt much more cohesive with the overall personal brand developed for Simon. And unlike its first iteration ‘Success Won’t Come Calling’ the new direction meant both the podcast and Simon’s legal leadership profile now addressed the same more focused target audience: senior legal leaders rather than just anyone with intrigue for broader business.

The marketing strategy

All the above was delivered alongside a cohesive and KPI-driven annual marketing strategy, which focused on activities mapped across Simon’s full funnel. This included new podcast guests and themes, social content pillars and planning, paid social, speaking opportunities, thought-leadership articles and video content – effectively tied together with a creative direction that encapsulated all Simon Gibson had done and can do, for those seeking to learn about more effective exec-level leadership.

As part of the marketing outputs, we also redesigned and developed a new website optimised for onsite conversion. We launched a mailing list form submission on the site, as well as a gated content functionality to encourage web traffic to become leads. Tying into that, we gave Simon content ideas that could be used to drum up that subscriber readership, including a blog article series titled 10 Rules for Leaders Navigating Opportunity and Risk. This content would provide a framework from which we could begin to hang some of Simon’s legal leadership prowess allowing us to package up his own internal philosophy and how it relates to his unique leadership style. Released in sequence once per month for 12 months, and delivered alongside more niche business and legal topics, we knew this would engage his audience and raise Simon’s personal profile.

To help with the delivery of organic social media content, we supplied a bank of social media templates in Canva and developed a bespoke project management platform to be used by Simon’s internal team to manage content ideation, creation, and multi-channel delivery.

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