Over the years I have ended up in lots of conversations with Brand and Marketing people at large companies about what is important when it comes to Brand. Often, in my opinion, they seem a bit too focused on telling me exactly how their logo should appear, how their firm's tone of voice should be presented, the importance of how much white space sits around their strap-line and how pretty their website is.
In fact, I have on occasion got into heated discussions with the 'Brand Police'. This is usually because I have argued that, although logos and all that stuff is a really important part of brand, it should not get in the way of how clients interact positively with their firm and their experts. In business-to-business in particular, the 'Brand' is very much about how experts showcase their knowledge, skills, relationships and the way they demonstrate the firm's culture on a one-to-one basis.
I really like this LinkedIn post by Ed FitzGerald, Director of Brand, Marketing & Sales at law firm RPC. He talks about People to People rather than Business to Business. This is very much like Annabel Rake CMO of Deloitte did back in 2015 (See this post Deloitte CMO - B2B Marketing Is Becoming (P2P) Person to Person).
As Ed FitzGerald says, if you are a law firm for example and relying on stating you have niche expertise, global coverage and commercial understanding with no proof, then you are simply stating you do the basics. Brand is all about the people. Be sure to show you are special and if you are in charge of the brand, make sure you empower your experts so they can properly represent the firm.
For law firms and law firm partners who want to continue riding the wave of 30%, 40% and 50% margins, where all else is equal you have to give your clients a reason to buy on something other than price. Now, in a market which delivers its services by people to people, and where significant value is embedded in long-term relationships – on the part of both clients and advisers – the way that your people represent the brand is fundamental. Every firm will have its own particular culture, its own personality, its own feel and, more often than not, clients will buy a firm based on the human experience of working within that environment. In that context, building a brand from the inside out, with a people-first approach, represents a huge opportunity