Marketing Your Firm With An iPhone App?


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Showing that creativity (or relentless marketing) knows no bounds, Morrison & Foerster recently unveiled an iPhone app as part of a new marketing campaign. The firm clearly has put some major money behind the new campaign, and made the edgy choice to rename their website “” Based on what I have seen, I think the marketing campaign will be an enormous success.

The App

The concept of using an app as a marketing tool seemed ridiculous when I first saw the headline. Ridiculous enough to make me read about it. Score one for the marketing campaign. The screenshots of the app looked appealing enough, so I downloaded it to play around with it. Score two for the marketing campaign.

The app is well designed, although most of its features are not very utilitarian (unless the free game counts). The most useful feature I found was being able to view employees by law school. If you are looking to network with alums from your school, this is an amazingly easy to find them in one firm.

Marketing Tool

Sure, I am a tech geek who blogs about the iPhone. But I also was intrigued enough to read the article, download the app, and play around with it. I would call that an unqualified marketing success.

Practically speaking, I would guess only large firms can pull off this kind of marketing strategy. Importantly, the content and the design of the app make it appealing. Most solos and small firms do not have advertising backgrounds. But that is not an excuse to generate a lame website that could be outdone by an eight-year-old.

You do not need an iPhone app to have a successful marketing campaign. Making a bold statement, like calling your firm “MoFo,” is one way to do it. Making a visually appealing website is another way. Spend the extra time to make something dynamic, or different, and you will see results.


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  • MoFo’s new marketing campaign is expensive and creative, but effective? Count me in the highly dubious camp. I would be shocked if it generated anything more than buzz.

  • Randall Ryder

    Any publicity is good publicity and any buzz is good buzz.

  • Only if it converts into clients.

  • RE Ramcharan

    I’m with Mr. Glover on this one. Basing your business identity on a vulgar term for an objectionable person may show how edgy your firm is, just as spending a (reported) $million on a mediocre-looking web site shows that you’ve got tons of dough. Unfortunately, it also says, “We’re so big and powerful that the rules don’t apply to us, so we can do whatever we want and nothing bad can happen to us.” Maybe it’s just me, but I just don’t see this attitude as being very helpful.
    That said, my own efforts at creative marketing have yet to produce results, although I expect to cash in on either the pop culture phenomenon or the coming apocalypse.

  • I think the name is clever. They have done a marvelous job of generating traffic. The problem is that the traffic has no idea what to do. Can you figure out what you are supposed to do on their website? I can’t. I had a hard time just finding contact information.

  • michael

    The name isn’t new – it’s what people have been calling their firm for years. Probably helps that no one can remember how to spell “Foerster”.

  • Wade

    Dovetailing on michael’s comment, MoFo is not a creation of the firm simply for branding purposes. Indeed, about five years ago Morrison & Foerster attempted to deemphasize the nickname, but that campaign clearly never gained traction. Why not embrace something catchy when it is already a “brand” that is already widely known, at least among the professional community?

  • Randall Ryder

    Given the lively discussion we are having about the name and new website, I have a very hard time believing this will not create more business for them.

  • Do you know if they do this in house or have an agency running the campaign?

  • I am fairly sure they have hired an outside marketing firm. Word is it is also the most expensive law firm marketing campaign in history. Not difficult to believe.

  • Jon

    The name is the name. I was familiar with “MOFO” back in 1996. Anyway, their website is horrible and has zero optimization. After the 10 of us are done talking about this then I doubt there will be many mentions and they aren’t going to show up on any search engine results pages. If they really paid a million dollars for this site then are not very smart. It looks like a goDaddy site for 10 bucks a month.

  • RE Ramcharan

    GoDaddy would give you better graphics.

  • Full disclosure: I build iPhone apps and was searching for discussion on branding and iphone apps which lead me to here :)

    Most of the comments are discussing whether or not Morrison and Foerester should have changed their website to MOFO. I want to discuss how an iphone app makes a good marketing tool. The bottom line is iPhones and smartphones sales are continually growing, and people are going to their phones for information. I think it is definitely a lead generation tool, it gives potential clients easy access to your contact and business information and the ability to call you while they are still “hot”. The app could contain: directory of lawyers, publications on legal issues, office location, videos, etc.

  • Randall Ryder

    ‘Bout time somebody agreed with me!

  • Raymond

    We found a very helpful marketing App we use all the time in the iTunes app store called “Action-Packed Marketing”. It’s helped us in several areas of our business and well worth the 2 or 3 bucks we paid for it. Covers a wider variety of marketing methods than mofo and genuinely a lot of good information. Some very clever marketing stuff that we put to good use.

    Ray D.