145. Chris Vander Kaay, Brain Trust Legal Group — Tap In to Grow: How Story Increases Brand Awareness

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To unlock your growth potential through human connection – identify and tap into the “Why” of your story. Chris Vander Kaay is an expert in branding and creative marketing who teaches law firms how to connect. The former screenwriter, author, and professor currently serves as Creative Director for The Brain Trust Legal Group.

Today, Chris shares how to make your brand memorable and the mechanics of identifying your “why”. We also address the gap of disappointment in marketing and how to get past it. And how to know when your marketing strategy should invest in quality or quantity on social media.

What’s in This Episode

  • Who is Chris Vander Kaay?
  • How did Chris go from professor and screenwriter to marketer for law firms?
  • What makes a good brand story great?
  • How can firm owners identify their “why”?
  • How can attorneys get the most awareness that translates to an emotional response?
  • What is the “gap of disappointment” and how do you avoid it?
  • When creating content, should firms go for quantity or quality?
  • What is the Brain Trust Legal Group digital community?

Transcript

Chris Vander Kaay:

The difference between a decent story and a great story is the difference between understanding something and feeling something.

Chris Dreyer:

At the core of every successful brand is a story that answers one simple question, why?

Chris Vander Kaay:

It’s very important for people to understand who you are without you spending too much time talking about yourself.

Chris Dreyer:

You’re listening to Personal Injury Mastermind, where we give you the tools you need to take your personal injury practice to the next level. Screenwriter, author and professor Chris Vander Kaay is an expert in branding and creative marketing. He teaches lawyers how to build brands, grow top of mind awareness, and create lasting and memorable impressions with marketing content inspired by storytelling and big ideas. Currently, he works with Daryl the Hammer Isaacs as the creative director at the Brain Trust Legal Group.
Chris sees the why at the center of each story as the Rosetta Stone of marketing, unlocking all of your growth potential through human connection. Today we dig into what makes a story great and how to identify your why. We also cover the gap of disappointment and how to get through it, and where to draw the line between quantity and quality on social media.
I’m your host, Chris Dreyer, founder and CEO of Rankings.io. We help elite personal injury attorneys dominate first page rankings with search engine optimization.
Being at the forefront of marketing is all about understanding people, so let’s get to know our guest. Here’s Chris Vander Kaay, creative director at Brain Trust Legal Group on his unconventional introduction to legal marketing.

Chris Vander Kaay:

So it’s interesting, because the thing that helped me the most for screenwriting and being a professor is also the thing that helped me the most with marketing, which is to realize that storytelling, which is at the base of all of those things, is actually the reason it’s so powerful and people like it so much is because storytelling reflects the way that we as human beings think and remember. And so I think seeing that reflected helps people to remember things and to appreciate things more. I’ll give you a for instance. If I was to ask you right now, and you had no time to prepare, if I said, do you remember what you were doing December 23rd, 2021? You would maybe be able to think about it for a while and you could possibly come up with something.
But if I said, hey, do you remember what you did the first Christmas of the pandemic? That completely changes your brain now, because you’re not looking to search for information that’s in your head, you’re looking for a specific memory that’s a sort of probably a story. What did you do with your family when you had to social distance? Or did you social distance? So all those things that suddenly become codified as an event in your life come flowing out. And you don’t have to remember by days because you remember by what you experienced and how you felt.

Chris Dreyer:

That’s such a great explanation of the power of storytelling. And I know we’re really going to dig into this a lot because I’m very intrigued. Immediately when you were asking the question, my kind of went off in the distance and I was thinking of books, even business books that I’ve read. Some of my favorites are from the storytelling perspective instead of just factual, do this, do this. It’s a lot easier to recall. So I got to ask you though, so from your background, how did you get in the legal space? How did you get into marketing for law firms?

Chris Vander Kaay:

Well, as they always say, it’s not about what you know, it’s about who. I was a professor at a couple of different colleges, and one of my friends had gone to college, he was teaching there, and he had gone to college with Andy Stickle, who at the time he was running Social Firestarter, this was before the merger and everything. And Andy had been telling his friend that I know, he said, “I’m having a problem. I can get a lot of people who understand the tech aspects of what I’m asking them to do. I cannot teach them how to effectively convey an idea, tell a story, or elicit an emotion. That doesn’t seem to be something that is easily teachable in the way that the technical aspects are.” So I kind of got in backwards. I got in through the creative arena and then had to learn the technical aspects that went along with it.
And in a way, I think it was incredibly beneficial both to the people I was helping because that’s not a skill set they often have, but it was also hugely helpful to me because I am now frequently one of the only people in the room that is ever looking at the equation from the philosophical and the ideological angle as opposed to just the technical angle. Now, that’s not the only thing you need, but it is a very important piece. And when that’s missing, it makes it very hard to connect with people I think through your marketing if you don’t have that.

Chris Dreyer:

I find that to be a big challenge myself trying to market my own business. I have the hard skills, the creative side is lacking. And what’s really helped me is one of my first hires had the creative side. Where I had my deficiencies, he could kind of look in the storytelling. And we could definitely do a much better job, of course. I think there’s always room to improve, but he was kind of the yin to my yang. So let’s talk about storytelling. It is a great way to convey the humanity of a brand for a firm or a solo attorney. What are the mechanics of getting to the story behind the brand?

Chris Vander Kaay:

You know how they say if someone is good enough at something, they’re not always great at teaching it? Because they never had to learn the process themselves if they’re a natural at something. And because I’m very good at coming up with ideas, it’s sometimes difficult to explain the process. But I think part of the mechanics of getting to the story behind a brand is, and this is going to sound mean and it’s not intended to, but frequently lawyers know what they want to do, but they don’t know why they want to do it the way that they want. Meaning they have an instinctive understanding of what they want to accomplish, but they haven’t necessarily interrogated why is that? Why did I choose this practice area? Why did I choose to do it the way I’m doing it and not the way that other lawyers are doing it? Because the truth is, every choice that you make says something about who you are as an individual, as a brand, as a firm.
But if you don’t, if you haven’t interrogated internally why it is that you’re doing it, it makes it super difficult to be able to communicate that to anybody else. So sometimes the level of introspection that you need to understand why you are making the decisions you’re making is actually the most difficult, but also the most important piece. And that’s the beginning of the mechanics is I know the what, I need to understand the why. If the lawyer can give me the why, then I can help them to translate it into that. But that’s the key piece. That’s the Rosetta Stone of all of your marketing is figuring out what is the why behind what I’m doing?

Chris Dreyer:

Yeah. Circling back to Simon Sinek, start with why. So you’ve written seven books on the mechanics of storytelling, and you even have a book dedicated to horror and all the sub genres of horror. So I think it’s fair to say that you understand what the mechanics are to making a compelling story. So what makes a story good? Because when we know we hear it, but it’s the structure of it, what makes a good story?

Chris Vander Kaay:

A good story can have slightly different shapes depending on what medium it’s coming to you in. Something written in an email is not necessarily going to have the exact same shape as the way you would say something in a 30 second TikTok. But I think at its heart, the one thing that makes a story good is a sense of recognizable human behavior or recognizable human emotion. If you don’t have that in there, then you’ve lost the plot, because then you’re fingers crossed that people are going to be interested in the facts or statistics that you’re presenting. And that’s always a tough sell. If you’ve ever tried to ask anybody to pay attention to you while you’re giving them numbers and schematics, there are certain kinds of people who their brains light up and they’re excited, but for the large majority of the populous, that’s distancing.
What they want is something human to hang onto, something that they can latch onto and feel. I often describe the difference between a decent story and a great story is the difference between understanding something and feeling something. If I say to you, I’m tired, then you understand. But if I say to you, my eyes are bloodshot, and I can barely keep them open, and everything is blurry and I’m having trouble focusing, you feel that I’m tired now, you don’t just understand. And so for me, that’s the difference between what makes a story passable or interesting intellectually and what makes it good because it’s grabs you.

Chris Dreyer:

So on that, and that’s an amazing example, because I could feel that. I immediately felt tired just with you explaining that. And I’m back. I’m back. We’re having a great conversation here. Back to the starting with the why and to try to create this story, I think many of the individuals listening are like, well, I want to make more money. I was doing immigration law or criminal defense and it wasn’t lucrative. So a lot of the people that shift over to personal injury, it’s, yes, we want to do good for people. But a lot of them it’s money motivated. So how do they convey? Or did they just own it and say, hey, look, we’re going to get you the most money and just own that type of story? Where does an individual like that go where maybe it was money motivated?

Chris Vander Kaay:

Well, I still think regardless of if you moved into the arena because you wanted to make more money than in another arena, when you got into it, your practice is in all likelihood not going to look exactly like everyone else’s, which means certain choices that you made, you made because of who you are, you made because of who you believe. There are some places where there are lawyers that want to be the biggest firm. They don’t want to just practice in their city or their state, they want to be a national firm. There’s a motivation underlying that. And whatever that is tells you something about yourself and your reasons for doing it. As opposed to if you are primarily sticking, let’s say just in your state, or there’s a specific kind of people that you’re appealing to, sometimes people will, I want to go for the Hispanic community in California, well there’s a reason that you chose that.
And I doubt when you really dig down, that every decision is just based on finances. Several of them are. We all work for a living, to live. But we choose the specific thing we do to live because of something about us, something that matters to us, or honestly sometimes something that we’re not concerned about or something we’re trying to avoid. So for the sake of argument, somebody might be building their firm to avoid being a certain kind of firm. And if that’s the case, then what it means is I want to be the authentic me that’s not that thing. That will help you to steer your branding or to steer your marketing, because it’s probably something that turned you off or something that you didn’t like that you saw another attorney doing. So guess what? You should lean into that, because if your instinct was you didn’t like it and you want it to be a different way, then the clients that will appreciate that would be glad to hear that that’s what you are.
So for me, that’s why the why is so important, because it also helps you to convey the why to someone else to whom it’s going to matter.

Chris Dreyer:

Yeah. And that makes sense. And it will immediately appeal to those individuals and it will completely shut you off to the others, and that’s okay. And I think so many individuals want to be liked by everyone, but you aren’t right for everyone in certain scenarios. Many trial attorneys are great at telling stories about others, convincing a jury, painting the whole picture. You’ve seen Mark Laniers a master at this. But maybe they’re not the best storytellers about themselves. So what are some of the practical exercises or prompts that someone can do to maybe get over the hump to try to create this story and try to start the process?

Chris Vander Kaay:

Yeah. Well, one thing I’ll say that you pointed out, which I think is a fantastic place to start, is if you’re objective enough to step back and see that you are a good storyteller about others, but not about yourself, that’s not necessarily problematic for you, because if you’re a good storyteller, sometimes you being able to tell someone else’s story really well is as effective as you being able to tell your own. Meaning, let’s say you decide that I don’t really like talking about myself that much, but I really have a passion for helping people. Then guess what? All the stories of the people that you’ve helped, if you’re good at telling those stories, that can become part of what your brand is, is that you’re the guy who cares about the little guy and what you do is you tell the stories of the little guys.
And let’s say you’re doing two minute videos that you put out on YouTube or on social media as ads, then you don’t necessarily have to tell your story, because by telling the stories of other people that you helped, you aren’t helping them understand who you are because you are the guy that worked with all these people. Because one of the things it’s difficult to explain is it’s very important for people to understand who you are without you spending too much time talking about yourself. It is a very delicate balance because people on social media are fairly selfish. They want to know what you can do for them. So if you spend a lot of time discussing who I am, and what my background is and how I did this and that, you will lose people because they can’t invest in what you can do for them. But if you’re telling yourself about them through what you’ve done for other people, that’s a whole other story. They’re paying attention, because now that reflects on what you can do for them as well.

Chris Dreyer:

And talks about brand, and they talk about it in this big broad context without any weight. But is this how you define brand with storytelling?

Chris Vander Kaay:

Yeah. I think the interesting thing for me at least about why it’s important to find your central story is that your story is not necessarily your brand. Your story is who you are. Your brand is how you explain who you are to other people. Which is why people can organically evolve their brand over years. Nike hasn’t been just do it forever. And sometimes they’ll revisit it in campaigns, sometimes they’ll do other things. But the ethos of just do it has always been part of Nike. So the idea is the underlying structure of who you are, what the story of your firm or your company, that can be interpreted in many ways. The great thing about a story is that a good story can be adapted into multiple different formats and still be powerful. No better example of that than a book that was turned into a play, that they then made into a movie that was also a radio broadcast.
So many good stories can just be converted to be used in different fashions. And I always say that what a brand is, is just the public perception that everyone has of what you are. So any opportunity that you have to grow that, whether it’s a website, just a dedicated landing page, a two minute video, your TikTok feed, appearing on a radio show, all of those things add up together. And the reason why I think branding is important is because if you are, it used to be you could put one commercial on on Super Bowl, everybody saw it, they knew who you were and your brand was done. Audiences now are so splinter that you have to appear in 30 or 40 different places. That’s where it gets dangerous if you don’t have a clear brand, because then some people who saw this thing think you’re a certain kind of thing, and then they heard the radio, they think you’re a different kind of thing. So the reason branding is important, honestly, is that it just helps to codify all of that stuff so you’re still the same person no matter where someone’s seeing you.

Chris Dreyer:

And talking about that continuity, one of the questions I wanted to ask is because you’ve had a different kind of trajectory, you’ve worked with firms of different sizes. So where does say a solo practitioner try to have this consistent brand? Where are they putting their messaging out in terms of an awareness perspective? Versus someone like Darryl Isaacs, The Hammer, who you work with and have a great relationship, who he’s been around much longer and has a very large budget, so how do those play together? How can attorneys, once they’ve established this brand, get the most awareness to create that emotional response?

Chris Vander Kaay:

Yeah. And haven’t talked to Darryl about this a lot, because when he started his career doing his branding, it was years before social media was really a thought. So what he was doing was through commercials, and honestly phone books. And some things he was doing that literally don’t even exist anymore. I mean, honestly, I don’t know why anybody would pay to be in a phone book anymore. That’s sort of a dead medium. But he was still doing the same principle, but he was spending a lot more for it at the time, because social media, it’s the most expensive free advertising in the world in the sense that you’re giving away your information to huge companies, but you’re not being charged for being able to put things out into the world in some ways. So in order for Darryl to make 500 commercials, he has to spend a lot of money.
In order for someone to put 500 videos onto Facebook, it costs you considerably less. It costs you the amount to create the videos sometimes is as much as it costs. And if you’re good at creating content that’s interesting, that will go viral, that people will share, you don’t even have to spend that much on actually placing it in front of people. If you, like Darryl, have people who are constantly following you and wanting to see what you’re doing, you help to build an organic presence of people that are always around so when you’re creating content. So what I would say is it’s no matter what era you were in, no matter what format you want to use, the ideal is, I think sometimes lawyers unfortunately feel like, well, I made a commercial and it didn’t work, or I made a video and it didn’t work. Well, a video or a commercial is never going to work.
One of anything is probably never going to get you what you need. Unfortunately, the truth is, even for small firms who don’t feel like they have the time, it’s the consistency of continuing to do something past the point that everybody else doesn’t that is going to set you apart. So if every lawyer would make seven videos before they gave up, that means you need to make 14 videos before you start to see any kind of a bump. There’s that, what do they call that? The gap of disappointment. That’s where people fall. They fall into the gap of disappointment. If you can make it past that, then you become part of that rarefied era of people who just kept doing it, and that’s what’s going to lead to success ultimately.

Chris Dreyer:

Yeah. That linear equation, the more input gets more output. You just got to keep doing it. We’ve talked about Grant Cardone, and he’s a little bit of polarizing with his 10 X. But there is something to be said about doing more inputs and putting more content out there. The other thing that I wanted to key in on, you talked about entertaining that virality. That’s one of the things that I wanted to get your opinion here is I see, and I’m sure you’ve seen a million attorney billboards, because we’re in this space, we’re more aware of them cognitively when we see them on the side of the road. And I’ll be in Kansas City and I’ll see Jungle Law with the attorney swinging on a vine, and it’s kind of goofy, but how many people have talked about that, even from it being a little goofy, compared to just 888, 888, call now, just these super generic that just to me all blend together? Where does that come into play in terms of the strategy and how you pull it all together?

Chris Vander Kaay:

Yeah. I mean, I think all the time about the idea that the amount of time that someone is in front of you, lawyers in front of you speaking to you, versus the amount of time in your day, week, month, years that you don’t need their help before you do need their help. There’s an enormous amount of time when a lawyer is not speaking to you. You have to be able to remain in their brain all the time that they’re not speaking to you. So the goal of a lawyer should not just be try and get the people who need your help this second when they’re driving past the billboard, or watching the commercial, or seeing the video. What you want to do is live in their brain so that at the point that they need your help, you are the thing that they think of.
And so that’s why I think people do what I sort call stunt commercials, the idea where they do something wild that they hope is going to go viral. Or Darryl did some fantastic Super Bowl commercials, the ones that had references to the Avengers, and he did one where he was riding on a dragon, and there was ones with zombies in it, and they were all during the Super Bowl. And the reason they’re brilliant is because they’re tongue in cheek poking fun at, or at least homaging something that everybody knows that’s in the zeitgeist right now. Because then what happens is everybody’s talking about Game of Thrones. Darryl makes a video about Game of Thrones. Now Darryl is in the conversation about Game of Thrones. So it becomes a thing where he’s been knitted into the conversation that everyone’s having.
And he always says, “I can’t trace back a specific case I got to a Super Bowl commercial. But what I can tell you is there are hundreds of thousands of people who know me because of a Super Bowl commercial. And the likelihood that they’re going to reach out to me is much higher because they know who I am off the top of their head, and that’s not true about other lawyers.” And so that’s why, to me, I get it. I get it when people want to swing for the fences with whatever advertising they’re doing, because you never know nowadays. There’s so much noise. Literally, there’s that joke about the reason Saturday Night Live has been on for 50 years is because it’s only competition is sleep. The exact opposite is true for us. There’s constant competition. Cat videos, friends posting things. There’s everything on social media, so what makes you louder than everything else? I drove through Miami and there’s hundreds of billboards. What makes someone remember yours over someone else’s?

Chris Dreyer:

This kind of shook me recently and on the same topic. So I was listening to the My First Million podcast, and they had Mr. Beast kind of randomly show up. And MrBeast is one of the largest YouTube stars. And he was talking about, he was completely against the quantity positioning. He was like, “If I create a video and it’s not good, I’m not going to share it.” So he only tries to do these epic things. Like he did a video for Squid Games and he’s done a video where it’s giving away tons of cars. He gave away an island. These obscene gestures of super high quality.
So it’s kind of these two, and I want to get your opinion here, conflicting views. On one hand, you got your Grant Cardone that’s saying just pump out content and Gary V’s talking about quality is subjective, and they’re telling you to pump out a ton of content. And then you’ve got MrBeast who is the largest YouTube star, and he’s saying, “Look, I only put out these epic, high quality pieces of content. That’s it. And if it’s not good, I’m not putting it out.” So where do you draw the line?

Chris Vander Kaay:

Well, I think that’s an interesting comparison, because for me, I think where Gary V is coming from is he absolutely 100% understands his brand. He knows who he is, he knows what he’s saying at all times. So the reason why it would be fine for a camera to follow Gary Vaynerchuk around all day long is because every conversation he has is going to fall under that brand. Every piece of advice he gives fits that brand. And so that makes sense to me. If you are living your life, you’re constantly going to events, doing speaking engagements, all these things where you could be creating content that does feed right directly back into what you’re telling the world about yourself, then of course why wouldn’t you create all that content?
Now, a guy like MrBeast, he has kind of painted himself into a corner with his brand. He doesn’t have any choice now, because if the last thing was the biggest thing he’s ever done, then the next thing has to be bigger. He has cornered himself in some ways. Now that is his brand, and so of course people are going to go back to whatever the next thing is, because the next thing’s going to be bigger. But he’s also trapped himself, because it means how many ideas do you have to go through? How much money and time do you have to waste to get to whatever that next biggest thing is? So I can see the appeal of what MrBeast is saying, but I think the problem with it is that’s his job. What he markets is actually the content. In the same way that when you watch a trailer for a movie, they don’t really try to sell you. They just show you the movie and you’re going to want to go see the movie.
You don’t see a commercial for a movie and then someone tries to tell you, well, here’s how much it is and here’s why you should want to see it. They just show you what’s going to be interesting about it and people go out and see it. That’s what MrBeast does. Gary is a different story, because what he’s saying is your marketing needs to sell the other thing. Your marketing can’t just sell itself, it has to sell a second thing. And I think that’s the difference between MrBeast and Gary. And that’s why I think both of them are viable depending on what you’re doing. If you are just an entertainment venue, of course, MrBeast, he’s marketing himself within the content that he’s trying to get you to watch. So the job is already done if you watched it.

Chris Dreyer:

And so how does that tie back into legal? Does that mean, hey, focus on being authentic and having your story, and maybe not these epic pieces, but when they are there, grasp them, kind of like Darryl has for the Super Bowl situations and situations like that? How do we tie it back to legal?

Chris Vander Kaay:

The great thing about what Darryl did is he knew that the Super Bowl commercials were stunts. They were just stunts that were going to do the thing that ultimately he wanted, which is he wanted his brand out there. But when he makes your average six or seven second commercial that’s going to go out during a newscast or something, he’s not aiming big. What he’s trying to do is immediately appeal to you with a value for what the viewer wants. I always say that the most effective thing that you can ever do in advertising is to begin with what someone else wants, not what you can provide for them.
Start with where they are and then meet them there, as opposed to trying to bring them to where you are. This is the opposite of this adage, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard, they used to say the safest place for your money is not a bank, it’s underneath a dirty diaper, because people want to break into a bank, but nobody wants to touch a diaper. What’s sort of the opposite? Nobody wants to watch a commercial. But if you’re already providing them value from the second that it starts, then you’ve done the heavy lifting of getting them to continue paying attention throughout.

Chris Dreyer:

Darryl Isaacs has brought together some of the biggest names in the legal space. Now any attorney can be part of the conversation and elevate their practice through The Brain Trust Legal Group Digital Community. Chris worked closely with Darryl on this project.

Chris Vander Kaay:

I was very privileged to basically join Darryl’s team as this was in its formative stages. As most people who know Darryl know, he has several in-person mastermind groups with a lot of other huge attorneys that everybody would know their names. And they get together, they do monthly calls, but they also do these in-person events where they get together and everybody shares what’s working, what’s not working. And it helps to the rising tide raising all boats. So when you have a room full of powerful people all sharing great ideas with each other, it helps everyone grow and get the best possible results. Well, as you well know, one of Darryl’s biggest ethos is he just wants to help people. He has a heart for helping people, both within his law firm, helping people who have been injured, but within the legal community.
He’s lucky to be, not lucky, he’s skilled, but he’s also lucky to be as big as he is, to have been as successful as he has been for a long time, and to be able to recover from occasional mistakes or problems that he’s run into. And what he has seen increasingly happen over the last decade, maybe even a little bit longer, is the proliferation of non-attorney law firm organizations, just lead generation companies. Or huge places that are practicing in multiple states, a lawyer whose office is located in one state but is advertising in 48 for something that they do. And so what he’s realized is that smaller lawyers are going to get shoved out of the game. And he started as a smaller lawyer and he was very proud of what he did, and he doesn’t want to see that happen to other attorneys. So we built this digital community to basically be the online version of the masterminds.
And this is for anybody, any lawyer who wants to sign up. It essentially functions as a couple of different things. The first thing it is is training courses. We do seven, eight, nine video long courses that’ll walk you through a specific thing, like best practices for effective email marketing, or how to turn legal services into an experience instead of just a service. So there’ll be courses like that. But then the other part of it that I think is great is that it’s also a social media platform, but it’s a insular one, meaning only people that are paying to be in the group can be in there, and we only let lawyers in. So there’s no vendors, there’s nobody in there selling them anything. It’s literally only attorneys networking with each other, possibly setting up referral networks if that’s what they want to do, asking questions about what’s working for other people, and then also seeing all the content that we create.
Because aside from those courses, each week Darryl premiers a new video with helpful information. I do a weekly, it’s called a Monday Motivation video that sort of gives them inspiration for the week. Weekly we’ll do a quick live video on a Tuesday or Wednesday, depends on the week, where we just sort of update them on here’s what’s new on the platform. Also update them on any interesting news that’s happening in the legal world, that if they’re the kind of people that make videos consistently, here’s something that’d be interesting to share with your audience. So basically the idea of this platform is if you took a course program and you took a social media program, and you crammed them together and you only let lawyers in on it and it was just dedicated to stuff for them, that’s what the digital community is.

Chris Dreyer:

Incredible. Incredible. So is it custom software? Is it on Slack? Is it on a private Facebook group? Where are the individuals congregating to have these conversations?

Chris Vander Kaay:

Yeah. So it is an app. You can get it in the app store. You can get it on Google. And you also can access it online, there’s a place. Not all apps have an interactivity so that you could do it from your desktop as well, but this one does. Because our goal was really to try and not only provide content that would be helpful to them, but to put it in a place that’s going to be appealing to most to them. Tons of people use their phone all the time for everything, so of course our first thought was the app, and that’s what we started with. But luckily we found a partner in Mighty Networks that also allows you to navigate in the same way that you could go onto certain platforms, like Twitter, you can also go on the desktop, you can do that there as well.

Chris Dreyer:

Consolidation’s occurring. We don’t know what the rate and the speed at which it’s going to occur. You see what’s happened in say the real estate market, where you’ve got Vanguard and you’ve got Remax, and everything’s kind of consolidated. And then it’s happened in dental. These major holding companies own most dental practices. And I know that Arizona is kind of starting there and it’s got a long ways to go, because it has to go up to the Senate before all the states could really make a big push. But it’s happening. So there needs to be this shared information to really help these new solo practitioners and small law firms grow. And can you name a few other courses just to maybe get some intrigued? So you talked about the customer experience, you talked about the legal services. What are maybe some of the other courses that they could see behind in the community?

Chris Vander Kaay:

Sure. Well, so the first thing I will say is that we actually have a new course that comes out every month. So when someone is joined, they will see whatever ones have been released to that point. But the good thing about it is those will always remain, but every month there’s going to be a new one that pops up. So even if you’ve been through all of them, if you’re watching the weekly content and getting something from that, you only have to wait another 20 days and then the next course is going to be there for you to experience. So I mentioned turning legal services into an experience, effective email marketing. Using online reviews, how to effectively get five star Google reviews and how to use those reviews to not only improve your SEO, but also use them in other ways, like testimonials, and social proof and things like that.
Video content creation to grow your firm, meaning how do you consistently create quality video content, coming up with the ideas? What’s the process? How do you schedule content creation into your day so that it doesn’t disrupt and become a burden? We have an entire course specifically focused on viral video secrets, meaning what are the five or six things, I think there’s actually, I think there’s seven, what are the seven things you can use that … There’s no guarantee anyone’s ever going to go viral, but here are seven things that frequently you find in most viral videos, and therefore if you’re leaning into these things with the content that you’re making, you’re always have the potential percentage wise to go viral more than people who don’t utilize that content.
And then Darryl and I have, like I said, weekly videos that are sometimes just, you don’t need a whole course to learn this stuff, but just a single video would be super helpful to explain something to you. For the sake of argument, does your marketing fit your market? That’s really more about understanding the personalities of each social media platform and figuring out whether what you’ve created, does it make sense to be on Twitter or is this more TikTok content? What should you create differently to go to one platform as opposed to another? So people can understand what things they like, what they gravitate towards and where they’re going to be best suited to find an audience.

Chris Dreyer:

Incredible. Incredible. Yeah, so much value. And like you said, you’re going to be coming up with new content all the time. And then you have the resources, the access to individuals that have done incredibly well for their law firms, including Darryl, including yourself. So that’s incredible. I’ve got a few final questions here. I just got to ask, this is completely random. So what’s the movie you made that premiered on the Hallmark Channel? So tell me about that.

Chris Vander Kaay:

So I have to tell you, one of the reasons that I don’t mention the name is because there’s always an explanation that has to go with the movie that premiered on the Hallmark Channel. For anybody who has no experience with the screenwriting industry frequently, the script is the most important part of the process because you can’t make a movie without it. But the screenwriter is the least important part of the process to the people involved. And what that means usually is, and what happened with me, is frequently someone will buy a screenplay, they want to make a screenplay, and that’s what happened with me. And then they hire other writers to make it more like the thing they feel like they want to make. So in my case, two other writers wrote on the film. What ended up on the screen is not very close to the thing that I wrote, but there’s enough of what I originally wrote for them to still credit me as one of the primary writers.
So it’s a double edged sword in the sense that it’s great to have gotten a movie on cable, because there’s so many screenwriters that don’t have that quote unquote cred. But at the same time, it’s like, it would’ve been really nice if the movie I wrote was the one that everyone could see, because right now I have to give the caveat of yes, I wrote this western called The Redemption of Henry Meyers that premiered on the Hallmark Channel, however, I would like you to keep in mind that the general plot is mine, but a whole lot of the rest of it is not. A lot of that dialogue has changed. A lot of the character stuff has changed. And so I always caveat that with, I’m proud of the fact that the original work I made was purchased to be turned into something, but the final product is not the thing I was hoping for.

Chris Dreyer:

Nice. Nice. Well now I got to check it out though, Chris-

Chris Vander Kaay:

Yeah. Exactly. With that caveat, I feel comfortable with you going to see it now that you know what to expect. It’s not a bad movie, it’s just I had intents for it and some of those didn’t land. But yes, I encourage everyone to go see it. If nothing, people will be like, I don’t know why everybody’s watching this western, but maybe we should hire this guy to write something else.

Chris Dreyer:

Wonderful. Hey, what’s next for yourself? And when officially is the community launching? Where can people go to get in touch with you?

Chris Vander Kaay:

Yeah, so the best place to get in touch with me would be through the Brain Trust Legal Group website, braintrustlegalgroup.com. I work with Darryl, so you could also go through the Isaacs and Isaacs Law Firm. And I work with Darryl every single day. So if you are in contact with Darryl, you’re in contact with me. That’s probably the easiest way to say it. As far as the app itself, by the time this airs, content’s already going into the group. So if you head on over to braintrustlegalgroup.com the website, you can even see on there, you could take a look at it, there will be a link. There’s an introduction video from Darryl explaining what it is. And if you’re interested, you could just click the button to join from there.

Chris Dreyer:

If your story is who you are, the brand is how you explain it to other people. To tell your brand narrative, dig into the why of your practice. Be human and use emotion to connect with your audience. Once your brand is dialed in, share it everywhere your audience may be over and over so that you remain top of mind, even when your service isn’t needed. I’d like to thank Chris Vander Kaay for sharing his story with us, and I hope you gained some valuable insights from the conversation. You’ve been listening to Personal Injury Mastermind. I’m Chris Dreyer. If you like this episode, leave us a review. We love to hear from our listeners. I’ll catch you on next week’s PIMM with another incredible guest and all the strategies you need to master personal injury marketing.

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