The awards ceremony of the Managing Partners' Forum was a spectacular and elegant event held last night in London. More than 200 managing partners, all decked out in tuxedos and evening gowns, turned out to see honors bestowed in the 2004 European Practice Management Awards.
The partners came from accounting, law, consulting and property management firms worldwide. The venue was elegant Gibson Hall in the central City of London. It was an awesome hall of marble, gilt and Corinthian columns, plus a high-tech sound and light show.
The third annual event is the brainchild of Richard Chaplin, Executive Director of the MPF. It's purpose was to honor the "unsung heroes" at professional firms: the marketers, finance directors, human resource directors and IT directors. Here are the winners in the marketing categories:
BEST MARKETING CAMPAIGN -- sponsored by Martindale-Hubbell
The Pinsents law firm won the award for the most innovative, best articulated campaign with the clearest aims -- for their Reaching Solutions dispute resolution and litigation campaign. The firm took its ADR practice and promoted it as a product. With 3 billion pounds worth of disputes under management last year, there were only two trials and many happy clients. The product was subsequently tailored for a public sector client, and Pinsents solved more than 35 million pounds worth of contract problems in 12 months. Clients included Vodafone, Logica, Pace Micro Technology and Defra -- each of which sent in strong testimonials.
The law firm pursued a textbook marketing process -- from diligent research, investment in new product development and focused B2B direct communications. "They generated spectacular results and very high satisfaction for its clients and outstanding commercial benefits for itself," said the MPF judges.
BEST BRAND IN PRACTICE -- sponsored by Legal Week.
The Smith Partnership law firm won for a brand with distinct value that was relevant to clients and delivered results consistently. This regional law firm successfully migrated from a primarily criminal practice to a civil practice -- using a butterfly as its logo. "We wanted to appear approachable and friendly," said partner Graham Dean of the firm.
The firm succeeded in creating a brand that drastically changed client perception in addition to repositioning itself as a key player in the commercial marketplace. The branding campaign began with a picture of a caterpillar with the caption "We're moving on!" They continued with a butterfly -- appearing by itself and in groups, each emphasizing the new position of the firm.
"The success of the new identity and the repositioning of the brand have increased the profile and the scope of the firm. The initial success in local business forums is highly impressive and certainly a strong indicator of future successes," said the MPF judges.
The evening was led by sparkling and hilarious comments from the M.C. Nick Davies, a barrister from Scotland and director of a speech training company cleverly called Kissing With Confidence. The event included videos from the professional firms topped off by the screams of delight from the audience as the winners were announced. It was an electric event. Other winners included:
BEST BUSINESS CASE FOR DIVERSITY -- sponsored by the Commission for Racial Equality
BEST MANAGED FIRM -- sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland
BEST MANAGEMENT OF KNOWLEDGE - sponsored by Financial Times Corporate Solutions
BEST H.R. INITIATIVE -- sponsored by First Counsel lawyer and management recruiting
BEST MANAGEMENT OF WORKING CAPITAL -- sponsored by Barclays Banks
BEST USE OF TECHNOLOGY -- sponsored by Satsuma Solutions
Berwin Leighton Paisner law firm
BEST CRM STRATEGY -- sponsored by Jaffe Associates
Eversheds law firm
MOLD-BREAKING FIRM -- sponsored by Words & Pictures design agency
DLA law firm (soon to merge with a major US firm!)
BEST MANAGEMENT OF FACILITIES - sponsored by OCS facilities management services
Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker
For more details, see upcoming issues of Professional Marketing magazineand the PM Forum NA Web site at www.PMForumNA.org.