Quiet Towns, Loud Marketing – New Zealand, Part 2

Kia Ora* again! Two weeks ago I wrote about my experiences in New Zealand and some takeaways I returned with. While I focused on the country’s natural wonders and physical activities in my first blog, I wanted to highlight some of the towns we drove through in this blog. These small towns do an amazing job marketing themselves, so here are some lessons from them that you should consider for your firm.

Bulls – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade

Bulls, located in the Rangitikei District on the southwest of the North Island, was originally named Bull Town after English settler James Bull. However, the citizens decided to honor the animal themed name and the town was reverted to Bulls. Some people may shy away from such a name, but the Bulls citizens did the opposite – they embraced it and went all out!

It’s referred to as “the punniest place on Earth” and the puns are un-bull-ievable. The town’s slogan is “a town like no udder” and its sister city is Cowes, England. The Const-A-Bull Police Station has a mural of bulls in uniforms. Nearby, you’ll see the Read-A-Bull Library, the Social-A-Bull Town Hall, the Reliev-A-Bull Toilets, and the Anglican Church of Bulls. The church promises that your sins are forgive-a-bull, the medical center promotes that your pain is cure-a-bull, and the Plunket Society kindly reminds you that your kids are nonreturn-a-bull. If you’re hungry, stop by the Mothered Goose Cafe Delect-A-Bull, and if you are running low on supplies, the Platts Pharmacy Indispense-A-Bull has got you covered. Should I keep going or is this understand-a-bull for now?

By embracing its unique name, Bulls is the epitome of the commonly heard phrase, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” You can do the same with your firm – make the best out of your situation and use what you have to your advantage. If you’re stressed because you have too many cases and you’re overflowing with work, a) remember that this is a good problem to have and b) figure out how to streamline your practice and how to prioritize your work. On the other hand, if your caseload is low, work on getting your firm prepared to handle more cases, then try new marketing avenues, like eGen.

Most importantly, if you have a name that stands out, whatever it may be, incorporate it into your firm name. That will make you remark-a-bull and claimants will have an easier time finding you. Bulls is a town of under 1.8K residents. However, I’m still thinking about it in Boston, more than 9,000 miles away, because its marketing is unforgett-a-bull.

Paeroa and Tirau – show off your accomplishments

Speaking of lemons and lemonade, let’s discuss L&P. L&P, also known as Lemon & Paeroa, is a New Zealand soft drink. It combines lemon juice with carbonated mineral water from Paeroa and is currently manufactured by Coca Cola. In Paeroa, located in Waikato of the North Island, stands a seven meter tall L&P bottle. The Big Bottle, as it’s commonly referred to, proudly stands in Ohinemuri Park and pays tribute to the iconic kiwi drink.

About an hour away is Tirau, dubbed as the Corrugated Capital of the World. A corrugated building meant to look like a giant dog was constructed in 1998, and afterwards, many corrugated creations followed. This includes a giant sheep, ram, and Jesus. Additionally, many of the town’s businesses got into this, and have corrugated structures on their roofs. For instance, the honey shop has a bee and the toy store has a Jack-In-the-Box, both very colorful and corrugated.

With these larger than life structures, Paeroa and Tirau successfully show off their accomplishments and stand out from their competition. A tourist driving by Paeroa quickly learns about the origins of L&P. Meanwhile, a tourist driving through Tirau not only remembers that the town has lots of corrugated steel, but he/she also remembers each business specifically, since many of the business have very unique corrugated steel structures.

You too can show off your accomplishments by editing your biography on your website. To make the biography more engaging, explain why you practice law, share something personal about yourself, and include a headshot. Establish credibility by mentioning the degree(s) you've received and from what universities, honors that you’ve won, or other firms that you've worked at. The latter could be especially helpful if you used to work for a large firm and then decided to start a solo practice. Advertise yourself boldly so that you’re not lost among the competition.

Tarras and Opononi – highlight the heroes

Shrek was a Merino sheep that belonged to Bendigo Station near Tarras, a small farming settlement in the Otago region of the South Island. To avoid being shorn, Shrek hid in caves for six years. After he was found, he had about 60 pounds of wool, which is enough to produce 20 men’s suits. Shrek the renegade quickly became a national icon. He was shorn on live TV, his wool was auctioned off, and the money was donated to children’s medical charities. He even met Helen Clark, New Zealand’s Prime Minister in 2004, to celebrate his tenth birthday. Although Shrek died in 2011, there are books about him, statues immortalize him, and a Shrek-themed park is set to open in Tarras.

Another local hero is Opo, a bottlenose dolphin. After Opo’s mother died in 1955, she started swimming in the harbor of Opononi. Opononi is located in Hokianga Harbour in the northern part of the North Island. Opo swam with the children, performed stunts for all to watch, and played with objects like balls and bottles. In 1956, she became legally protected. Unfortunately, the day after, Opo was found dead. She was buried with Maori honors and her death was reported across all of New Zealand. Today, her legacy lives on through songs, books, and statues. More impressively, the town of Opononi is named after Opo.

Opononi and Tarras gained tourists by highlighting their heroes. Not only does this draw attention to both towns, but it also allows Shrek and Opo to continue receiving recognition and having their memories live on. Likewise, I would encourage you to highlight successful cases you won. Many law firms just list their statistics, so write a story that’s emotionally captivating. Focus on specific claimants in your story and how you were able to help them. This will humanize you and your former cases. You want potential clients to see how you were able to help someone in a dire situation so that they can imagine you providing that sort of help to them as well.

These are just a few towns that we stopped in, but quite frankly, each New Zealand town is definitely “world famous” for something. In fact, “World Famous in New Zealand,” a phrase that was L&P’s comical ad slogan, is now a popular, humorous saying used throughout the country. These towns excel at their marketing, and by using some of their tactics, your marketing will definitely be sweet as**!

*Kia ora – a Maori greeting, used informally as “hi" or "hello."
**Sweet as - a kiwi term meaning “awesome.”