Any financial services marketer knows that legal and compliance review is just part of the process. Any smart financial services marketer knows that building a strong working relationship with legal and compliance (L&C if you’re tight) can make life a whole lot easier—and content a whole lot better.
Here are a few words to the wise, based on an amalgamation of real-life scenarios I myself have lived through.
Before anything else, meet your L&C team
This is helpful whether they’re internal or you are working with a client. If you’re new to your organization or in a new role where you’ll interact with L&C regularly, invite them for an afternoon coffee. First, you won’t be just another faceless name in their inbox. More important, they can tell you a lot of helpful info upfront about what they are looking for during review—before you get a big fat "rejected" document on your desk. (Side note: Many lawyers are very funny. You might even become friends.)
Know their triggers
Many organizations have a list of “bad” words. It may be the use of guarantee (can anyone guarantee anything these days?), or perhaps the term expert is reserved only for expert witnesses in your organization. Either way, it’s helpful to know upfront what words and phrases to avoid. You can either edit them out before a document gets to L&C, or you can share the list with your team of writers, who will avoid them altogether.
For new ideas, bring L&C on board
If you’re developing something new and potentially risky, talk to L&C first. When my team was preparing to launch a new Twitter handle, having L&C at the table when we were discussing the pros and cons was a huge asset. They felt their voice was heard, and we were able to generate some excitement from them when we assured (another word that’s sometimes on the “bad” word list, but not here) them we would not be sharing anything that would cause their blood pressure to spike.
Bottom line: Bring L&C into the conversation early, and let them share their concerns as to how new ideas might put the organization at risk. Some you may be able to quell through thoughtful discussion, and others may be things you hadn’t considered. And that, my friends, is what L&C is there for: not to thwart you from achieving greatness, but to protect you.