What can legal marketing and PR experts learn from Miley Cyrus? No, not that the giant foam hand used at sporting events has crossed over to the pop world and has some newly suggested usage … you saw the footage. It's not that being nude on a swinging wrecking ball is a good look for attorneys or that Miley has a tongue as big as Kiss’s Gene Simmons. And it’s not that your attorneys should be twerking at their next social event. Hold on; let me clear that vision out of my head.

It’s the calculated strategy that went into launching Miley’s new album.

Debuting at #1

Setting the goal of hitting #1 on the music charts starts before you begin recording your new album. It begins with writing the songs, telling stories that relate to your audience, and then collaborating with other talent to bring them to life in a way that will resonate and lead to sales and success. Debuting at #1 on the Billboard charts mirrors law firm rankings or being the preferred go-to resource for legal advice. This doesn’t happen due to luck; it results from a well-thought-through strategy.

This applies to everything we do as communication experts – blogs, social media, websites, biographies, articles. For any form of connecting and engaging your attorneys or your law firm with others, you need to set the goal and develop the strategy necessary to reach or exceed that goal.

A 10,000-foot view of the Cyrus strategy

What seemed like mayhem to everyone else watching Miley’s performance at the VMAs, including Will Smith and his family, was in my mind a brilliant marketing strategy leading up to her new album release. At first I was shocked and a little appalled at the performance, but, as the weeks went by, I realized that she was on every magazine cover and every news program – everyone wanted an interview because they thought she was breaking down like Lindsay Lohan or Brittney Spears.

The goal: Produce a new best-selling album.

  • How do we compete with other young female pop artists?
  • How do we debut in the #1 slot, and get airtime and break record sales?

The strategy: Create new material that is edgier, upbeat and more mature.

  • The timing: single release, public events, personal events, new album debut
  • The message/story: “I am Miley Cyrus, not Hanna Montana, and I am in control of my life – take it or leave it”
  • The creative concept: new image, new attitude, and some shock and awe at the right place at the right time

The creative direction: Here’s the slam-dunk.

There is a really smart twist in the creative plan: Once the audience thinks Miley Cyrus is out of control and, of course, her new music is being well-received, let’s put her on a grown-up late-night comedy show, “SNL,” and blow everyone away with a mature, funny and talented young artist who just pulled off the best album launch in years.

The results: Payday – her new album enters the charts in the #1 spot.

Legal marketers: Don’t fear strategic mayhem; control it.

Shock and awe (technically known as rapid dominance) was the strategic mayhem that set the stage for the slam-dunk and the success of Cyrus’s album launch. A lot goes into creating a strategic campaign, especially if you want to hit as big a goal as debuting at #1. Too many times, we want big results, but we aren’t willing to put in the time, the creative thinking or the money.

As legal marketers, we are challenged with creating news and positioning the law firm or attorney activities that aren’t always newsworthy, such as office moves, new hires, rankings, or launching a new website or a blog. But they can be newsworthy if there is a creative strategy involved from the beginning.

Here is an example.

  • Set a goal: Become the go-to national resource for healthcare law.
  • Develop a strategy: Use digital marketing, including a website, social media and a direct e-mail campaign, to position us as the leading experts on the new healthcare laws.
  • Creative direction: Create a series of humorous PSAs in a setting like Weekend Update on “SNL” that simplifies the new laws, and then leverage the PSAs through social media and on the law firm’s website and YouTube channel

Congratulations to Miley and her PR and management team. They reached their goals (and exceeded them, I’m sure), by being creative, strategic and taking risks while maintaining control and following a well-thought-out and brilliantly executed communication plan.

Want to discuss your next creative slam-dunk? Contact me at tisner@jaffepr.com.