As an unapologetic fan, I was very familiar with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club’s motto, Audere est Facere, from a very early age. However, thanks to the club’s much-criticised decision to replace its Latin signature with the literal English translation nearly 15 years ago, no other foolishly bullish young Spurs fan will have to reach for that Latin dictionary as I did all those years ago.

Although I never gave much thought to the significance of ‘To Dare is to Do’ when I was young, I was always very proud that my club had chosen to adopt such a motto. As a device designed to articulate your club’s fighting spirit and unwavering bravery, it doesn’t get much more inspiring.

With that in mind, I was particularly interested to listen last week to Deborah Farone, founder of Farone Advisors, and Yolanda Cartusciello, a partner with PP&C Consulting, advocating such an approach to law firm marketing and business development as part of The Legal 500’s excellent new podcast series.

In part one of what is a two-part interview with publishing director David Burgess, Deborah and Yolanda discussed how some firms who view marketing as a revenue driver are taking the opportunity, in different times, to try different things. Then there are others who continue to view marketing as an overhead expense. They are the ones cutting people and, as a result, losing the very engine that helps run marketing and retain and increase revenues.

The ability to try different things does of course depend on many variables, not least how the Marketing function – and the CMO role in particular – is viewed internally. But even where the CMO role is not part of a firm’s senior management, Deborah says today’s challenging environment could be a ‘shining moment’.

“Even the CMOs that aren’t relied upon for BD strategy have been called in for the crisis communications that has surrounded the initial portion of the pandemic. If you’re one of those CMOs, use it as the wedge. Be aggressive about explaining to senior management at every turn what they should be doing and how you and your team can help in that regard.”

There is no better time, argues Deborah, to suggest innovations and make your voice heard. But to be able to bring smart ideas to the table, CMOs must track the metrics – seeing what works and what doesn’t – and focus on developing industry knowledge.

Luckily there are some great resources out there. They include the recently released second edition of ‘Business Development: A Practical Handbook for Lawyers’, edited by Stephen Revell from Freshfields, as well as Deborah’s own book ‘Best Practices in Law Firm Business Development and Marketing’ (which we will be reviewing in the coming weeks).

As representatives of the client’s voice within your firm, Marketing must focus on BD strategies that actually relate to the firm’s client base, says Deborah. “Law firm communications for clients really shows which firms are well organised internally: who has good systems, who has a strong culture, and who has good leadership. This [pandemic] is an instance where the tide flows out and we see who’s wearing the bathing suit and who isn’t.”

Now is the time to do something different with your communications for clients … or to use Deborah’s analogy, to bare is not to do!