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Smart & Biggar

Case Study

Smart & Biggar is Canada's preeminent IP strategic advisory firm. The firm provides the highest quality IP advisory services and has filed more patent and trademark applications than any other firm in Canada. Their decades of experience in intellectual property, combined with deep knowledge and expertise across a wide range of technologies and industries, allows them to deliver clarity on opportunities and solutions that leverage a client’s IP to maximize value.

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The Challenge

Smart & Biggar Fetherstonhaugh had an extremely distinct, yet difficult to spell name. Commonly known as Smart & Biggar to most of their clients, the firm was considering whether to truncate the name but were concerned about abandoning the legacy of the Fetherstonhaugh name. Having already embarked on a rebranding experience seven years prior, the firm already had a strong sense of who they were and why clients continued to choose them. Cubicle Fugitive was engaged to review current research, strategy, and brand materials, and to refresh the visual representation of the firm.

One of the main objectives of this exercise was to redesign and revamp the corporate website. As advisors to some of the most technologically sophisticated clients in the world, Smart & Biggar wanted a new website platform that allowed for a highly functional and targeted user experience, possibly allowing for custom journeys for visitors thereby aligning content to the audience's needs. The new website was going to be the primary platform used to launch the new brand and needed to embody the clean, modern, innovative design that the firm was seeking. Cubicle Fugitive was retained to help with the transition of the brand and develop an online presence that was more reflective of its leading market position.

The Engagement

We started the process by understanding what enabled Smart & Biggar to become the leading firm in intellectual property in Canada over the past 125+ years. We performed an exhaustive review of the firm’s public and private strategies and materials, as well as, performed interviews with leaders across the country.

As part of the engagement, we worked with the firm to articulate their brand position, as well as translate the new identity into a consistent visual brand which included logo development, campaign messaging, and the design and development of a new firm website. We also art directed images, designed business cards, letterhead and envelopes for all the offices, notecards and pads, labels, information sheets, human resource templates, name tags, mail inserts, pocket folders, PowerPoint templates, and other client collateral. With each piece, we designed for the end-users needs and created a cohesive package of stationery and business collateral.

For the firm’s website, we created a unique and dynamic digital experience that puts the client at the center of all design, content, and development decisions. Reimagined from the ground-up, the new website differentiates Smart & Biggar from its competitors and reinforces their position as a world-class market leader for IP. The new site leverages data and technology to enable a 360-degree view of each client’s online journey.

The Strategy

From the outset, Cubicle Fugitive sought to understand what enabled Smart & Biggar to become a leading firm in intellectual property in Canada for over 125+ years. Our process included interviews with the firm’s key stakeholders and partners across the country and covering all their areas of expertise.

We analyzed market intelligence about the firm as well as client and external lawyer feedback. Cubicle Fugitive performed a thorough competitive audit of Canadian and International IP firms to gain market intelligence and ensure the firm’s new brand was relevant, meaningful, and differentiated from other firms. With a comprehensive understanding of the firm’s current and desired brand position, we got to work defining, articulating, and visualizing Smart & Biggar’s new visual identity. We developed a brand and advertising campaign that built upon the firm’s strong international reputation and reaffirmed their leadership position in the minds of primary and legacy audiences while building profile and awareness among entrepreneurs and business leaders in Canada.

With an extremely unique, memorable, and apt firm name, the campaign wrote itself. While at first resistant to capitalizing on the wordplay of their founding partner’s names, with the right client-focused concept, we were able to leverage these to build name recognition across Canada. The words “Smart” and “Biggar” evoke a sense of expertise and influence. And, there was no better way to articulate the firm’s strength and leadership than by coupling the names “Smart” and “Biggar” with a series of impactful and descriptive client and employee value-based “B” words, to create a brand campaign that is both effective and meaningful. Each headline pairs its name “Smart. Biggar.” with a client-centered adjective that highlights how the headline relates both to the client and the firm, e.g. “Smart. Biggar. Boundless.”, where “Boundless” refers to their client’s innovation and strategic IP portfolios.

Cubicle Fugitive designed an entirely new brand system for the firm that included updated fonts, colours, logos, copy, and the inclusion of the red dot which represents an idea, specifically the visualization of “the idea”. They are the firm that will take that glimmer of an idea and help clients find value and leverage through IP strategies. As part of the campaign, we also worked with Smart & Biggar’s marketing team to create a new tagline reflecting the brand’s leading position “The smart choice for IP protection, enforcement and strategy.”

As part of our brand and website projects, we developed all-new messaging for the firm’s website including who we are, students, and careers sections, as well as, professional bios, service and industry content, landing page headlines and copy. With the firm’s copywriting, we carefully crafted messaging to appeal to the firm’s professional and sophisticated audiences without making it inaccessible to those outside of the legal, STEM, or academic fields.

Working closely with the firm, we completely reimagined the website from the bottom up and created unique journeys for innovators who want to protect, enforce, or grow through IP. The new Smart & Biggar website creates a unique user experience using clean navigation, sophisticated search and sorting tools, and dynamic interlinking of substantive content based upon relevance, solution-focused user-journeys, and better use of headlines, titles, images, and highlights to entice visitors to deepen their exploration of the firm.

During the development portion of the project, we implemented complex functionality that enables Smart & Biggar administrators to have full control over the new website, including ease of updates and workflow, bio versioning, dynamically generated custom PDF bios, interactive publications and newsletter module with a unique court proceeding database, and a database to house and dynamically display accolades and client success throughout the site.

Reimagined from the ground-up, the new site differentiates Smart & Biggar from its competitors and reinforces their position as a world-class market leader for IP.

The Results

Cubicle Fugitive and Smart & Biggar collaboratively pushed the boundaries of legal brands and advertising to develop something that is as visually appealing as it is impactful and memorable. With the client at the heart of the firm’s success, we celebrated the value of intellectual property in helping real businesses safeguard creativity, exploit innovations, and dominate in their markets. The campaign highlight’s the firm’s core value propositions (both to internal and external stakeholders) and ensures that everyone will remember the name “Smart & Biggar.”

We were also honoured to win the Your Honour Awards from the Legal Marketing Association in the categories of Communications: Technology award for the firm’s new website, Internal Marketing for the launch of the brand internally, and Communications: Content Marketing for the firm’s new brand and advertising campaigns.

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