BLP hires advertising guru for marketing push

Ash Coleman-Smith, managing director EMEA and London at PR and advertising agency Ogilvy, will take up the board position on 1 May, reporting to managing partner Neville Eisenberg.

Coleman-Smith said of his move:“[Law] is a very interesting sector, there’s the legal Services Act, the arrival of firms from the US, recessionary pressures and all the impact on clients and charging structures, [combined with] an incredibly crowded marketplace, meaning that firms have to become more creative in how they communicate. I was particularly interested in BLP because it had the tag of ’one to watch’.

“The key thing is making sure marketing and communications are connected with the business strategy. I look round at the sector and a lot of activity [isn’t].”

During a 25-year career in marketing and communications, Coleman-Smith has worked with Latham & Watkins and Lexis Nexis, but he said that it is his experience “outside the legal sector” that led to his hire.

He added: “Firms [need to be] seen as not just a deliverer of professional services, but a clear business partner – that’s where the opportunities for cross-selling and long-term relations are. You don’t achieve this [quickly] but as part of a three-to-five year plan.”

Coleman-Smith replaces former marketing head Neil Templeton and will run a 25-strong team.