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Case Study: Matthews & Hawkins

Matthews & Hawkins, a highly regarded and well-known law firm based in Destin, wanted a new brochure to show potential clients its depth of knowledge about the region and the breadth of its legal experience.

Hoping for a fast turnaround, the firm approached a traditional advertising agency but was put off by a time-consuming intake process and the fact they couldn’t get a face-to-face meeting with a high-level agency executive.

At his first meeting with the principals of Matthews & Hawkins, President Brian Rowland told them, “I’m here and I’m all ears.” After that, our staff carefully listened to what they wanted and we were convinced that Rowland Publishing was uniquely positioned to give the lawyers exactly what they were seeking.

In the traditional model, an ad agency tells clients what they ought to be doing. But we think one of the biggest attributes we have is the innate art to listen, understand and then produce what the client wants.

While clients might not always be able to articulate exactly what they’re looking for, our method is to ask questions and then provide them with some examples. They tell us what they like — and especially what they don’t like — and it helps us zero in on what they really want. After all, this is their business and their brand and we want them to have ownership from the outset.

In the case of Matthews & Hawkins, the firm’s principals knew they wanted a “nontraditional” digest-sized brochure featuring an animal species that could be considered symbolic of the firm and the region.

When we were kicking ideas around, everything pointed to the Florida Panther — its strength, its intelligence and the fact that it’s both rare and beautiful. For Northwest Florida, it was the only choice.

The making of the brochure was the first step in what would become a total re-branding process for the firm.

We looked at their logo and suggested they consider redesigning it. That meant new letterhead, business cards, envelopes … everything to go with a new look. It also meant redesigning the firm’s website and signage and an extensive photography shoot to update photos of the firm’s personnel.

It started as a need for a brochure and it evolved into a complete rebranding of the entire law firm ­— a process that would take about a year to complete. During that time, the lawyers and other employees of the firm were “hands-on involved” in the decision-making process, right down to picking the color of the logo design. They wanted to exercise their creativity, and we supported them wholeheartedly.

We engaged them, we earned their trust and we enjoyed the creative back-and-forth. It was a great experience for all involved and resulted in a first-class product.

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