The Lawyer Marketing Leadership Summit 2020 kicked things off with a panel discussion on how to expand your recognition and establish your firms USP. The Lawyers' Matt Bryne, was joined by Alessandra Jones (Baker McKenzie), Kim Lansdown (Mischon de Reya), Barbara Koenen-Geerdink (Al Tamimi & Co) and Richard Grove (Allen & Overy).
The panel were quick to highlight the term USP is outdated, and in a time where many law firms can offer the same services as their competitor, the real differentiator is Brand.
Where do you start?
If your brand is what others say about you when you are not in the room (Jeff Bezos), then a good place to start is asking your clients what they think of you. Kim suggests "talking to clients, exploring your products and offering and seeing what you find." One challenge is that if you try to do everything you will struggle to find your USP. Alessandra drew the comparison to an Italian restaurant with 100 different things on the menu -if you've got lots of practice groups, you need to work out what is on your 'specials board' this will help define your USP.
Keeping things Consistent
One challenge that international firms face is how to roll out a brand across multiple countries and jurisdictions. On this point the Panel were unanimous in believing that your core brand needs to be kept consistent, however, they also agreed it simply isn't possible to roll out the same messaging to every location; there may be cultural and even legal conflicts. On this point, Barbara added, "you've got to stick with what you stand for. Follow the mother brand, but adjust and tweak to the market conditions". This was echoed by Alessandra when she talked about how at Baker McKenzie they "make space for local adjustments"
- Establishing a strong brand is important to set you apart from competitors.
- It offers everyone at the firm a direction to head in, shaping all core activities.
- Keep it consentient - Brand is a firms DNA, but ultimately you have got to allow for some flexibility and local adjustments.