I talk a lot about the Five “P”s, what I invariably call “The Five Fortes of Marketing.” And professionals usually have no problem understanding the powers inherent to four of those superpowers, i.e. Pitch, Publish, Present, and Partner. But Profile poses a bit more of a conundrum.
Aren’t You The Person On That Bus Bench?
So I was chatting with a potential divorce client in my conference room recently. As I reviewed his replies to the queries we pose on our intake questionnaire so that I could get an idea of the issues we would face in his divorce, I came to his completion of the fill-in-the-blank, “Referred by __________________.” His reply stopped me dead and, without thinking, I blurted out, “What?”
He had completed the blank with the words “bus bench.” Because I had no clue what he meant by that, I asked him to explain.
He looked at me, tilting his head quizzically. “You know that bus bench you have up on North Dale Mabry? I think it’s up in Carrollwood? It says something like . . . ,” here he paused, thinking, looking up and to the left and squinting a bit, “. . . Divorce Without War.”
A Mediation Firm Beat Me To The Trademark
I almost laughed out loud. I remembered, years ago, when I had researched whether I could trademark that phrase, only to discover that some outfit in South Florida had beaten me to the punch. It was a mediation-only practice that works as a neutral third party (“the mediator”) with both parties in a confidential setting to reach an agreement, thereby minimizing both the costs for attorneys and also related court costs for the couple.
While my office also provides mediation services, we are also often retained for another of the various courtless divorce processes, e.g., collaboration, cooperation, documentation, etc. And although we still sometimes end up in litigation, our goal always is to help couples reach a peaceful and inexpensive resolution in whatever way works best for them and their families, whether it is mediation or some other process. So I had been disappointed to realize that I would not be able to market using the catchphrase Divorce Without War, which I had admired as quite unforgettable.
A Strong Profile Can Take Advantage Of Any Bus Bench
Little did I suspect that I could inadvertently take advantage of some other guy’s catchphrase without any targeted effort on my part! But let there be no doubt that it was my profile, both on-line and in my community, that enabled this to happen. My brand is so strong that any slogan that sounds like it advocates the merits of avoiding the courtroom divorce will evoke my profile! So this bus bench, despite that it advocates for a specific business, functioned, at least in this instance, as a marketing tool for me and for Open Palm Law.