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Watching the guys pedalled hundreds of miles each day in the Tour de France, law firm marketing consultant Sue Bramall drew lessons from their team approach and drawing a few parallels with some aspects of law firm marketing.
From my perspective, one of the few good things that has arisen from the pandemic has been that the dates for the European cycling grand tours slipped to the Autumn. The Tour de France always coincided with our summer holiday, and summer evenings are for spending outside not in front of a television. But this year, I got to follow the whole Tour and saw the Brit, Tao Geoghegan Hart, win the Giro d’Italia and am looking forward to getting into the Spanish Vuelta. Even if you are not into cycling, it is a great opportunity for sightseeing from the coast to the Alps from your armchair.
As the guys pedal away for hundreds of miles each day, it has been interesting to analyse the different roles that they play, and I couldn’t help but draw a few parallels with some aspects of law firm marketing.
First, it is a team pursuit. Even if you are a sole practitioner, you are likely to rely on other people to refer business your way and so relationships among your team and with other riders are important.
Team members play different roles. There are the time-trialists, the climbers, the main rider(s) and the domestiques (who support and protect the star rider).
The time-trialists are the sprinters who have to turn on a dime, where speed is of the essence – the conveyancer completing to a deadline, the PR or social media executive responding to the latest news or online comment.
Your mountain climbers push on up with the big projects, deals, strategic relationships and tenders that can take herculean effort to bring to fruition.
Your lead rider(s) are the rainmakers and the profile-raisers for the firm. Geraint Thomas, Alaphillipe, Peter Sagan etc, keep their sponsors’ names in front of the cameras – just as your speakers, authors, deal makers and award-winners generate publicity for your firm’s name.
Meanwhile the ‘domestiques’ clear the path for the lead rider with marketing communications, keep them safe with compliance (GDPR, SRA rules etc) and even keep them fed and watered (with knowledge, learning and development).
From time to time, you also need a few riders to make a break away from the peloton. These are the lawyers and marketing staff who have spotted a new opportunity, such as AI or LawTech, and they head off to try to steal an advance on the competition.
The trust between teammates is astounding, as they cycle at breakneck speeds within inches of each other, relying on the front rider to set the pace and take the risks.
All analogies can only be stretched so far, and this one broke when I saw what happened after Geraint Thomas injured at the beginning of stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia. It was astounding to see the race leader Philipo Ganna drop back to support team-mate Thomas up the final climb to complete the 150km stage (with what turned out to be a fractured hip).
How often is that level of sacrifice and help provided to a colleague who is struggling with their business development?
If you can add any more cycling parallels, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.