5. Michael Mogill, Crisp Video Group Building Your Brand & The Importance Of Storytelling

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Michael Mogill is a branding and marketing heavyweight. He is the founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group, which helps lawyers all over the country to build their brand, using a mix of: highly-produced, story-led video; comprehensive social media services; and expert coaching.

In this episode, Michael tells us all about Crisp Video Group and how its bringing law firm ads into the 21st century. He explains why its importance to think about branding and why calculating your ROI isnt always helpful.

Transcript

Chris Dreyer

Modern technology has brought us many wonderful things that we can’t imagine living without. Where would we be without affordable high quality video tools? Coupled with social media, it has never been easier to get in front of an audience. However, law firm ads, aren’t always the most exciting videos on the internet. Thankfully, my guest today has built a career on fixing that very problem.

Michael Mogill

Yeah. So if someone has not seen one of the videos that I think the first thing that comes to mind when you mentioned legal video is when someone sees like a legal ad of somebody on a TV, commercial, somebody standing on top of a semi-truck and screaming. Um, traditionally they’re very like. Uh, they can be a bit outlandish at times, or it’s, it’s one of those like mesothelioma type commercials where it’s all texts. It’s like if you’ve been injured, whatever that might be and our videos, the best way I can describe it would be almost like movie trailers. So all of our content is heavily story focused. So we’re always looking to connect emotionally to engage people, um, also to build authenticity and trust around our attorneys. Like, so traditionally, you know, there’s not that much trust in the legal space or from consumers towards attorneys. And much of that has probably been perpetuated by a lot of bad actors. So to that extent, we like to really give, you know, give our attorneys a clear differentiator. And one of the ways to do that is like not only the video is high quality, but I don’t know. That’s the biggest factor. I think more than anything, it just, it drives emotion and an emotion drives action.

Chris Dreyer

On today’s show, I’ll be talking with Michael Mogilll, founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group. Michael has helped countless firms achieve growth and meet their goals through video marketing, brand development and leadership coaching. Join us today, as we talk about how to use video marketing, why it’s important to invest in your brand, what you can achieve through setting big goals and much more. That’s coming up on The Rankings Podcast. The show where founders, entrepreneurs, and elite personal injury attorneys share their inspiring stories about what they did to get to the top and what keeps them there. I’m Chris Dreyer stay with us. Crisp Video Group has been going since 2012 and the company has been recognized by Inc 5,000 as one of the fastest growing companies every year, since 2017, thanks in part to the expertise Michael provides a producing excellent video content. With his knowledge and experience, I wanted to know how law firms could best utilize their videos. Once they had been produced.

Michael Mogill

There’s obviously a lot of ways which you can get the most out of your videos. You know, when law firm owners are investing in any marketing, particularly, you know, let’s say video, it’s not just to have a nice video to play at cocktail parties. It’s really the goal of, we want to drive new business. We want to attract more to starting clients and better clients in cases, you know, those types of things. The simplest way of putting it is, is getting your content out to the people like your ideal clients and where they spend their time. So of course your website, without a doubt, that’s home base, then you probably want to put the video up on the site, but then also considering other platforms like YouTube and Facebook and social media. Um, we have many clients that run our videos as TV commercials, you know, we’ll do shorter cuts and that still works well too. But I think that the way to get the most reach right now with video to be able to reach the most people for the lowest cost is probably by far social media. I mean, when you think about how we’re consuming content and the amount of videos that you’re now watching on a Facebook feed, or even on YouTube or even LinkedIn and Instagram, um, it’s is tremendous. And the fact of the matter is like the cost of that compared to other things that you can do, like compared to a TV commercial, for example – your cost to get a thousand people to see your video on a platform like Facebook is still like tiny. I mean, we’re talking like 1 cent per view. So that’s always been something that we’ve pushed heavily because so much of like video is also in terms of like remaining top of mind and building a brand and getting people to remember you. A lot of attorney marketing, if let’s say you’re a personal injury lawyer, in most of the time that people see your content, they don’t need you yet. They haven’t been injured yet. There’s just not that need. So you have to consider that you’re not that necessary or relevant to them at that point. Now the day that they are injured, you’re extremely relevant, but there’s a very, very, very small percentage of people that need you on any given day. Meaning that if you’re looking at like Google pay-per-click, someone’s typing in a specific keyword, they’re looking for an injury attorney. That person needs that lawyer today. However, there’s also a much larger base of people, millions and millions, like 97%, that are consuming content and will need an attorney at a point in their life, whether it’s next week or next year or five years from now. And if they remember you, when they’re in that accident, who they’re generally going to call the person, they remember.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah, totally. And you know, you’ve heard the saying that 50% of your marketing is working, you just don’t know which half. And you know, it’s frustrating because a lot of businesses only look at the bottom of the funnel and they tried to relate something to just a specific action and in cost per acquisition. What I’m hearing is, like, investing in the brand. Would you say that’s kind of fair?

Michael Mogill

So we could do an entire podcast on this topic because this is something that I’m especially passionate about. I mean, literally, if you look at our business and, and how we grew, and we grew over a thousand percent in the last three years, and we’re like, well, how did you guys do that? And so much of that was once we started heavily investing in the brand, like brand drivers, like the book, the conference, the ambassador programs, all these different things, the amount we were investing on social. Um, and those are things that in the short-term we didn’t really see. A huge response from it. It wasn’t like we launched an ad and then we started getting phone calls or leads or anything like that. But over the long term, built up so much credibility, so much trust that was like the most impactful stuff we could have done. And the reason why brand is so important is for a lot of short-term drivers, I do believe those are important to them. Not saying don’t do the stuff that you know is direct response. It gets the phone to ring today. It’s just that if you are heavily relying on that, and that’s the only thing that you were doing. What happens when the PPC costs continue to rise as they are. And, you know, the cost of acquisition becomes too high. Like it just, it doesn’t make sense anymore. Um, at that point, let’s say you shut them off. You vanished from the face of the internet. Like that’s the only way that people are finding you. Um, and because of that, when you build a brand, you build a lot of brand equity. That’s how you build that brand trust. And that’s how you build that credibility. I do believe that, like, law firms have a brand – whether they like it or not – it’s either by default or by design. So like the brand there’s something there. It may not be a positive association, but there is some sort of association. And when you look at the most dominant firms across the entire nation, you look at the market leaders in every single market. Those firms also have the strongest brands. It’s not just coincidence. Um, also when you look at this stuff, it’s like, uh, the ones that have been heavily brand focused and building that brand trust. Now it used to be really expensive and you have to do like tons of TV and billboards and radio. So that was – that kept a lot of of people – unless you were the top market leader. Yeah. Even getting into those mediums was very expensive. They were already heavily saturated, but now when you’ve got the internet and social, now you can see like small and mid-sized firms build much larger brands over time because they’re putting out great content, great marketing. They’re getting it in front of the right audiences. I mean, I really do think that is the single biggest factor and attracting the best clients in cases you want trucking cases. You gotta become the trucking lawyer, right? And the only way that you do that is to brand yourself as such and be remembered as such. So this is one of those things that – if people have one takeaway from all of this – is that investing heavily in the brand, doing the things when you’re playing the long game are reaping the highest rewards and are ultimately driving the highest returns for the fastest growing firms that we work with. In working with a thousand law firms in every market of every practice area, big and small, like we see clear trends like success leaves clues, and the ones that are heavily investing in their brand and their brand marketing are the ones that are getting the best clients. Getting the best cases, have the greatest credibility, have the greatest trust. When you’re the best kept secret, people can’t hire you.

Chris Dreyer

I love that. You’re just, you’re talking about building an asset and you know, I’ve heard you speak at the game-changer summit. You talked about, you know, attention and awareness and you know, that’s how people find you. That’s how they know you. That’s how they like you. That’s how they trust you. And Gary V was talking about traffic arbitrage and talking about Facebook, talking about LinkedIn and multichannel approach. But, you know, it’s all essentially building the brand. But when you look at your social stacks, service, getting granular, getting, getting to the numbers, what do you see driving the most awareness for the lowest cost? It is traffic arbitrage.

Michael Mogill

Yeah. So there’s a couple of things and I guess to give people who are listening clarity. Social stack. So we offer like a multi-channel. Social marketing campaign, where we basically distribute the content that we create for a law firm on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and just hit them at a, you know, almost like an unreasonable frequency where your audience is seeing your content nonstop. And I guess the biggest drivers that we see, if you look at probably the best platforms, uh, out of all the platforms, Facebook still the best. I think Facebook is still the best for video YouTube. There are certain versions, like there’s like six, second YouTube bumper ads. The videos that play before video starts almost like the ad that’s un-skippable. So those are some low costs that you can get a very high frequency on them right now. Now that said, it’s unlikely that someone’s going to be wanting to watch the new, Fast and the Furious trailer. It’s unlikely. They’re going to. Stop everything call you book a consult, become a client, you know, and you’ve got, you know, traumatic brain injury case. It’s possible, but probably unlikely. Now you say that and you say, okay, well, why would I do six second YouTube bumper ads? Because you can display your content a hundred thousand times every hour. And they don’t have to convert on the YouTube ad. One of the biggest things we see is that you actually see very few conversions directly from social media. So from Facebook or from YouTube or from whatever, like somebody sees your ad clicks, your ad becomes a client, but then we see actual, a high uplift in branded search. So meaning that they saw this stuff, but then they Googled your firm name and then they knew to reach out to you. But then if you’re like looking at this and you’re tracking, you’re like, well, how do they hear about us? In your attribution, whether your intake staff is doing it with the intake software, it’ll probably say Google search, but they had to find out about your law firm somewhere.

Chris Dreyer

We spoke a lot about videos and brand investment, but they’re just to have a few areas that Michael and Crisp Video Group really specialize in. Another big part of Michael’s business. And indeed something he personally believes in is the importance of setting goals. But where some coaches might tell you to set small manageable targets. Michael seems to follow a philosophy that’s more akin to the world of extreme sports. Go big or go home.

Michael Mogill

So when it comes to goal setting, to give people the context on this, we become known for either being, it’s probably a mix between insane and, I don’t know, maybe there’s some sort of like brilliance in that. But like we’re setting these huge targets year over year, and that’s like 200% year over year for the last eight years. And when you start to double bigger numbers, those become monumental goals like that does the thousand-person legal conference. That’s a big goal. But, you know, I guess my process with that is if it doesn’t change your life, then why would you do it? Meaning that if you set an incremental goal, let’s say it’s five or 10% growth. If that’s not exciting enough to you, meaning that nothing changes. You just do a little better. Then what would be the reason behind simply doing it? Like, I actually think you’re more likely to achieve a big goal that is life-changing and transformational than a small goal that makes no impact because you’re simply not excited about it. So I do think you have to be excited about your goals and they have to be purposeful. So it’s not just like let’s pick a big number for the sake of it. Um, it’s something where you look at w what kind of impact can we make and not just in our communities and with our clients, but what about for our teams, for our families, for ourselves? That to me is really exciting. And then. It’s it’s really looking at it from the standpoint that if you already know how to get there, it’s not a big enough goal. Like this goal should have unknowns. Like, meaning that you set a target and you’re like, I have no idea how we’re going to do it. Like you’re going to have to innovate in some way. You’re going to have to figure things out. It can’t simply be, we’re just going to work harder. That would be like a 5% goal. And I also think that if you already know how to get there at the time of setting your goal, That’s really a task. I don’t know. That’s a goal. That’s generally my thought process. But what I can say is like, oftentimes when we start these things, we generally have no idea how we’re going to achieve a goal like that. And the case of the conference, we’ve never hosted an event before. And it was really one of those things where we like picked a date and started selling tickets. At that point, all these things have to come together. Like we hired an events manager and logistics manager, cause we didn’t know anything about event logistics, but this person had a tremendous amount of experience that could really support us there. Also in creating the content and actually marketing the event – you know, those types of things cause you to almost increase your capabilities and problem solve and innovate and grow that by the time you get there and you actually pull it off and you know, the benefit of all this is he gained the confidence to set bigger goals. But if you rob yourself of that type of opportunity simply by saying, well, I don’t know how to get there yet. I’ve found with large goals, there’s never a right time for them. And generally there’s always going to be some sort of information or capability that you don’t have at the time setting that goal.

Chris Dreyer

In a world of caution and risk management, Michael’s ideas on setting goals were refreshing. And with his encouraging personality and infectious enthusiasm, I’m sure anyone who takes him on as a leadership coach would smash their targets. But one of the consequences of reaching your goals is growth. And growth is great! But to grow, you need to accommodate for the extra work and clients you take on. This leads us to another big challenge law firms face. Hiring. So I wanted to find out what advice Michael had for lawyers that needed to scale up and bring in new staff.

Michael Mogill

There’s a great book out there. I think this has probably been one of the best things that we ever did. And we ever learned as a company, the book is called No Ego by Cy Wakeman. Um, she is somebody who is not only a leadership expert, but also an expert in workplace drama. Because there’s a lot of, so the challenge around HR is that there’s a lot of studies out there. Um, that are based on like workplace happiness and like workplace engagement. And unfortunately, a lot of those studies are based on interviewing people and employees, that organizations based on “what, you know, what would make you happy if, if that was in place?” But it’s not actually based upon like, what did make them happy. It’s what they believe, what, would make them happy. So it’s like a flawed study, right? You really have to look at like the actual outcomes versus looking at what someone would say would bring them happiness and enjoyment. Because I found that you generally cannot buy someone’s love. Um, so, you know, HR and people are very complicated just in nature, but it really comes down to, I think the biggest factor, it comes down to just the standards that you set. So meaning that, this goes both ways, if you see something in your organization that’s the most standard and do nothing, that becomes the new standard. And if you see anything that’s off culture and do nothing. Then that becomes the new culture. So I feel like as, as leaders, oftentimes if there’s a cultural issue or a team issue, it’s because we’ve enabled it. So meaning that has become acceptable in the organization. So meaning like, why are all my people showing up late? Maybe it’s, there’s no downside to them showing up late. They can still exist there. Um, you know, month over month, year, over year, and it’s making those tough decisions and having those difficult conversations. The other thing is, is having clear alignment. Um, you know, the biggest thing that I realized years ago with culture was that, you know, many organizations are trying to get best places to work and we got it, you know. But what I found was over time was that, uh, if you were trying to be the best place to work for all of America, well, you’re going to be a very mediocre company. You’re going to be probably a very low output mediocre organization. However, if you’re instead focusing on being the best place to work for high accountable people that align with your values, that like that essentially are a good fit for your work style. How you guys do things. Let’s say you’re at the top of your game and world-class you, you know, it takes workaholics. They don’t see their families for weeks at a time. But if you attract people like that, it’s going to be the best place to work for them. It may not be for somebody else, but that’s how you can ensure value alignment. So we’re not necessarily here to change people or to change someone’s lifelong values, but it’s ensuring that the people that we’re hiring align with our organizational values for it to be the best place to work for them.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. I love that. And even, you know, your company changes so much too. So, you know, you couldn’t put a catcher in center field, right. So they may be the best the right person at one point in time, but they may not be in the future. So. You know, one of the challenges that we’ve had personally, I know other attorneys face too is forecasting though, right? Because it can be a big cost, right? If you over hire, you know, are there any, are there any leading indicators or anything that you look you’re looking at to try to gauge that growth?

Michael Mogill

It’s a good question you ask. I’d say that how I’ve approached it now is that, you know, the, the right person that a player that all-star that you know, that person, you would find. One, I don’t think you can ever overpay for them. Cause there’s never going to, if you look back at your best team members ever in the history of your organization and you look at the absolute best one, would you ever feel that you would ever overpaid for that person? Probably not. Like, so they’re worth it. Number one, but two, when they’re like that good. It’s always in my experience has been worth it, bringing them on board because you can always find like what you can do and where you can place a really great person. Um, many businesses struggle actually on the opposite side of like not being able to scale up capacity fast enough, because they’re going to wait until let’s say until we get more business until we get more cases or whatever it might be. But the challenge is that when that happens, because marketing will typically outpace hiring, now you’re looking for somebody. And let’s say it takes you, I don’t know, a month or two to find them, then you hire them. But they got to put in a two-week notice where they were at. Then you got to train them. It takes another two to three months. So you’re looking at like three to four months sometimes to ramp up somebody from like the time you decide to hire to the time that they actually get in place and they’re operating at their capacity. Um, so that’s a very long runway. So we, when looking at forecasting, it’s, you know, you’ve got to have confidence in, you know, when you’re investing in your marketing competence in the future, essentially is what it is. Like, do you believe that, uh, you are going to get to where you’re going? Do you believe you’re going to achieve those targets? If you’re doubtful at, from the onset – I would say solve that problem first. So like, if you’re, if you set goals, uh, you don’t think you’re going to achieve, then I would, I would argue maybe, you know, look at your commitment and perhaps you’ve set the wrong goals. Cause this is, would be something where you’re like, we’re going to do it. And you’re so committed to it that you’re going to invest in hiring people, investing in your marketing, investing in your infrastructure, whatever it might be. So my answer to this coming full circle is, you know, you can ever have… I think having too many great people is a wonderful problem to have.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. And when you over-hire too, it gives you a little extra motivation hit that build.

Michael Mogill

Yeah, if you build it, they will come.

Chris Dreyer

So you mentioned Cy and, uh, you know, what are some other of your favorite business books or conferences maybe that you can recommend?

Michael Mogill

Yeah. I mean, in terms of like business books, there’s like Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. I think that’s a great business book. Uh, there’s several, like when you look at like Verne Harnish and Scaling Up and the Rockefeller Habits, those are excellent books as well. Um, as I think about conferences, there’s, there’s several great ones. I think traffic and conversion is a great conference. Uh, from Digital Marketer. That’s been one that we’ve attended in recent years. Drift has a conference called Hypergrowth. I think that’s a great one too. Um, and you know, there’s another one that’s, you know, that we never get to attend because we’re behind the scenes. But, uh, the Game Changer Summit, which is kind of ironic because we wanted to create the type of conference that we’d want to attend and we never get to attend it.

Chris Dreyer

That’s awesome, Mike. So you know, what other questions and stories have we not talked about? You think it’d be important?

Michael Mogill

What something has always fascinated me has been about, like, why do, like, let’s say the most successful law firms in America or business owners, let’s say, why are they succeeding? Whereas, you know, some people may not be as successful in like, what are the differentiators between that? And, you know, not only is it their mindset, I mean, it’s always, it’s always mindset, right. But it’s also in the way in which they make decisions. So meaning that are you looking at from the standpoint of I’m going to invest in something, but how do I invest the least and make the most, I think that is a very selfish mindset. Like when I see people doing that kind of stuff, I think. Okay. So you’re looking at, how do you give them least amount of value to get a desired outcome and a desired result. So you can extract the most profit? And it, again, if you do that, that’s, it’s all about you. It’s not about your, your team or your clients and anything like that. Whereas if you flip that and say, well, how do we go out and just create the most value? So like, without even considering oftentimes like, well, um, like I want to make sure I get every dollar, every penny out of this. So there’s all those investments that we make. For example, where we decided, let’s say at the conference, we’re going to serve like, like warm lunch and a breakfast. What would it be if we took away the breakfast? Like, you know, okay. I can’t quantify that. Let’s say we get rid of the, uh, the, uh, you know, the open bar that we always do on the Friday evening. We’d probably save like a quarter of a million dollars at this point. But like, and I don’t know the ROI of the open bar. I don’t, you know, but it’s a good experience for our attendees. So we, we always look at that and say, okay, well, that’s probably the right thing to do. And when you have a set of mindset from the standpoint of like, how do we invest and deliver the most value from our clients? It always comes back. Like I find like when you are investing, like in your business and when you are investing in other companies and other vendors and your team. It always comes back to you. But if you’re one of those people that’s trying to hold on to their pennies, that’s saying like, look, I just want the guarantees like Chris, can you just do the thing that you can guarantee will get me all the trucking cases? And those people are never successful in the long-term because, and it’s not because we’re just cheap, but it’s also because you are looking at it from the standpoint that like, you want to control everything and you want to be able to have guarantees around things. But is your mindset about how do I make the most money? Or more about how do I make the greatest impact and provide the most value? Because when it’s the latter, that’s when you actually do see that return. And then from my experience, that’s what it’s been. Um, the biggest thing, I think that stops people is just that sometimes there’s unknowns around like, well, what’s my ROI going to be? But the best things require, like playing the long game. So a lot of times you have to just have that confidence in not only like your team, because you’re not going to miss any money if you don’t have confidence in your team. Like why would you want to drive more phone calls and more business if you don’t feel confident your intake team can answer the phones properly? So you gotta have confidence there too. And the more confidence you have there, the more that you will invest. Um, but it’s also from the standpoint of what say you do make all these investments, like if you were leading with okay, “This is going to be beneficial for our clients. We’re going to have a better experience at our office when clients come in, we’re going to make sure that that’s world-class for them.” That’s what’s going to drive that, that client experience referrals, all those different things that are the sources of the very best clients in cases. So those things have the highest ROI, but many firms are so reluctant to do it because it’s not guaranteed a dollar and a dollar 50 back.

Chris Dreyer

Michael truly is an expert in law firm growth. His principles of value ambition overcaution and dreaming big will definitely resonate with a lot of law firm owners out there. If you want to expand your practice and find out how to navigate the world of legal marketing, check out Crisp Video Group at crispvideo.com. Or listen to his podcast – The Game Changing Attorney. You’ve been listening to The Rankings Podcast. I’m Chris Dreyer, a huge thank you to today’s guest Michael Mogill for joining us. You can find all of the links from today’s conversation in the show notes. And we want to hear from you! Do you use video to help market your law firm? And what are some big goals you’ve set yourself up for this year? Drop us a review and let us know and share your thoughts. Thanks for joining us. We’ll see you next time.

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