Essentially that approach simulates the species' daily and long-term struggle in the real world to respond to threats and opportunities.
The case study presented to illustrate how that works - and very successfully so - could be Mattel's Barbie brand.
Barbie was not put out there as a stand-alone product.
The phenomenon, which scaled for years before it started dying, was designed to always connect in real time to the user and the purchaser, that is, the parent.
When girly-girls were the social norm, there were the sexy outfits, pink furniture to hang out in, points of view such as math is tough, and the all-American boyfriend.
With changing times came the career meme.
As Susan Baker details in her book "New Consumer Marketing: Managing a Living Demand System," there were and still are Barbie fan clubs, Barbie conventions, lines of merchandise such as Barbie logo clothing, and animated videos such as "Barbie in the Nutcracker." Most importantly, the brand was and is licensed out, extending its reach - and profits.
Likewise, the law firm, even the small or mid-sized one, is short-sighted in being a stand-alone service.
The brand that scales creates and keeps modifying an ecosystem.
In his article "Create An Ecosystem of Products," Daniel Priestley puts it this way:
" ... your business will take off when you have achieved a mix of products and services that all work together to maximize the value exchange in every customer relationship."
How does that play out for a law firm?
There is, for example, the integrated social media messaging. No longer will there be the isolated announcement on LinkedIn Updates about a new partner.
The text explicitly states how that development provides value for clients, society, and the legal system. Each character introduced into Barbie's universe was intended to enhance the user's experience. Not just a novelty to freshen the brand.
For the law firm, there are the special events to tutor businesses about the growing peril or opportunity (depending if the firm is plaintiff or defense) of the public nuisance legal strategy. Currently, Jones Day, representing client Sherwin-Williams in the landmark California lead paint public nuisance litigation, could be doing just that.
There are the books, the TED talks, and partnerships with other professional services firms. From the latter could come a low-cost legal journey for clients through family court.
There's transparency about lobbying. And narratives created about how influencers are on the front lines of progress. Yes, it's the law firm as influencer. That can be framed as a plus, not something done in a stealth mode.
There's openness, such as accepting payment in cryptocurrencies.
That's how the ecosystem might play out currently. In 2019, there could be very different threats and opportunities.
In the legal sector, digital media outlet Abovethelaw.com has been able to flourish because founder David Lat structured it as an ecosystem. From the get-go, there was a mix of services and products which connected directly to the hearts, minds, and pocketbooks of the target markets - law students and junior lawyers.
Reflection: Is there a simple way of thinking about the ecosystem? Yes. It used to be thought of as "integrated marketing." Every tactic must fit with the strategy and create new value.
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