Viveca Hess came to the United States from Sweden when she was 19 years old. She studied and obtained a BA in political science with a minor in Law and Society at UCSD. Fascinated with legal discourse after auditing several law classes she continued on to law school focusing on security regulation and transactional law. Following graduation she worked with the San Diego County Water Authority legal department where she supported general counsel in complex litigation related to water rights and policy.
Working at a public agency is quite different from the private sector, Viveca explains. A public agency does not have the pressure of billable hours because the clients are known. This difference became clear to her when she later began working for an estate planning and transactional law firm. The part she enjoyed most then, and now, is engaging clients, building long-term relationships and trust.
After nearly 30 years in business the firm where Viveca worked - along with so many others - hit a depression in a downward economy of 2008. Because this firm had no marketing materials or visibility, Viveca at this point initiated and took on the challenge of creating, implementing and managing marketing materials, online platforms and a very purpose-driven marketing map for the firm. With no formal marketing training offered in law school, Viveca hit a learning curve that was steep, while intriguing. Enamored with the new parameters of creative space, content, design and the psychology of online engagement, Viveca's shift away from law began, and a new passion entered.
In 2009, Viveca took the final step away from law when opening her own marketing agency, HessConnect. She creates and manages online campaigns and consulting specifically for attorneys, law firms, public agencies, and international businesses seeking marketing entry points in the US. A passionate transition she feels was the right one.
With over a decade of experience in both the private and public legal arena, Viveca's clients benefit from a professional with an understanding of balancing regulatory and/or political sensitivities as well as a fast-paced and constantly evolving online forum.
Having a legal background gives me the ability to discern, interpret and evaluate the online presence and channels best suited for my client while providing a unique protective layer of oversight. Ensuring my client's reputation while crafting the best possible benefits an online presence has to offer is my ultimate focus for each client. Nothing is more important than safe keeping, and elevating, your hard earned reputation.
Another area of Viveca's expertise that has consequently evolved from reputation management is that of online media policy formation and management.
Too often, when I ask an attorney if they have a robust, tailored and regularly maintained online policy, this is followed by a baffled expression and a mumbled no of some type.
Through HessConnect, Viveca now offers workshops, consulting and the creation, management of social media and online policies to ensure that everyone is operating from the same page. Policies and online marketing campaigns are all very individualistic and should reflect closely the environment, tone, and voice of the particular firm or agency it seeks to protect and elevate.
Law firms are like people, there are many variations, and each is unique. This means that you must establish a policy and campaign that precisely reflects your specific culture.
Viveca tries to keep her business rather exclusive and refers to it as a high touch agency that chooses clients carefully.
My passion is building an in-depth and long-term relationship rather than amassing a large number of clients. To align my value and passion with this intent, I work with clients on a minimum 6 month basis. If, after a purpose-driven introductory conversation, a prospective client wants to work on a month to month basis, we are not a good fit, and that is absolutely fine.
Like real life, it takes time to build trusted relationships. Viveca is all about creating and implementing nurturing campaigns that will reflect a significant and measurable return on time, money, and thoughtful investment. A meaningful online presence is not a “set it and forget it” proposition. A well thought out nurturing online campaign furthermore demands personalization. When people search for your services online, they are not looking to do business with a business, they are looking for a human being they are able to resonate with and who they have an opportunity to get to know, like and trust.
My biggest passion in this business is to dig deep to find my client’s story, their history, and the uniqueness about their past as well as future aspirations and to tell that story in a way that resonates with their target audience. Dare to tell your story, showing you are human as well as confident in the victories of your business.
Viveca predicts we will see much more effort to increase self-awareness and find what is unique about a specific business. She sees a paradigm shift in online communication where you will be working a lot more with the "pull" than the "push" factor. She explains that this is due to the new generation who, as opposed to older generations, don’t want to push to get their message out. Instead, you want to make yourself appealing enough - whatever that means to your particular audience - that people will take notice and want to connect with you. This is what we refer to as “inbound marketing.”
Many people have asked Viveca if she is interested in expanding her business with business coaching. However, this is a saturated industry and even though she sees an opportunity in her niche, this will more likely entail consulting relationships. What she really wants to invest in is speaking on the topic "How humanizing your business will initiate and retain long-term business relationships.“
Being in front of an audience, of one or many, with an opportunity to entertain, educate and inspire is one of Viveca’s main drivers and passion in accelerating her own business.
There's nothing you can teach well unless you have the ability to entertain and inspire somehow. My mantra: People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
We hope to see Viveca soon lecturing in this interesting area. And with her expertise on our advisory board she will help SACC San Diego to develop our web communication. If you want to know more about Viveca and Hess Connect, please visit her website http://hessconnect.com.