Law Firm Branding
The Quest for Market Leadership
To become a market leader in a competitive marketplace—to be top-of-mind in a way that resonates with prospective clients and colleagues—law firms must be able to communicate, authentically and memorably, what makes them distinctive. Positioning and branding are the strategic marketing tools we use to achieve that goal.
Zeughauser Group is a recognized leader in positioning and branding for law firms. We work with law firm leaders to ascertain what distinguishes their firms from the competition, and then we develop positioning strategies that ultimately are used to inform distinctive messaging and marketing. Our principals have led the teams responsible for developing many of our industry's best-known and most successful law firm and consumer products branding campaigns.
At Zeughauser Group we believe that whether the ultimate focus is brand enhancement, business development, or recruiting, articulating a distinctive positioning strategy always precedes developing branding tools. Once firm leadership has ratified the positioning strategy, it becomes the foundation for all branding initiatives and materials, including Web sites, printed marketing collateral, and advertising, that the firm targets to clients, prospects, potential recruits, and other audiences.
We also believe that in a fiercely competitive environment, the right positioning and a distinctive and well-integrated brand can make the difference between average performance and market leadership. By communicating the leadership role the firm plays or aspires to play in the marketplace, branding provides a backdrop for and supports individual lawyer's actions in developing contacts, winning business, and recruiting colleagues. Appropriate messaging encourages buyers' perceptions that the firm is a safe and suitable choice, and reassures recruits that the firm provides a distinctive platform.
Everyone at the firm—through word and behavior—influences how the firm is perceived in the marketplace. Accordingly, we work with firms to develop a comprehensive internal program to raise awareness about the brand and the positioning strategy on which it is based, to specify how each person at the firm is expected to embody it, and to preview how the firm plans to communicate its brand to prospective clients and recruits. We note from our work helping firms align their brands with individual lawyer's business-development and recruiting efforts that they experience an additional benefit-the renewed pride in the firm and the revitalized camaraderie that a successful branding initiative generates among its workforce.
Our positioning and branding process includes the following steps:
Establishing the team. We work with the firm to identify a small internal group—ideally opinion leaders—that will serve as a resource to us and to the firm marketers during the positioning and branding process.
Learning about the firm. We review background information about the firm, its practices, its lawyers, its clients, its strategies, and its performance history to learn what differentiates it from its competitors.
Conducting internal interviews. We interview firm partners, associates, and senior business professionals to uncover common themes that characterize the firm in the minds of its own professionals.
Conducting external interviews. We interview clients to determine how they perceive the firm. We are looking for their understanding of the firm's strengths, how they distinguish it from other firms, and whether what they report implies perceptions about the firm in the marketplace that need to be overcome.
Evaluating market research options. We encourage firms to seek more extensive data than representative discussions with individual clients can provide, and when they choose to do so, we help design the research and manage outsourced research providers.
Defining competitor positioning. We identify key competitors during our interviews. We study how these key competitors communicate their brands to clients, recruits, and other target audiences. We assess what positions are occupied in the marketplace, and the tools that competitors are using to communicate their positions.
Articulating distinctive positioning strategy. When we complete our research, we recommend positioning strategy tailored to the firm and its objectives, and work with the firm to build consensus and buy-in for the position.
Devising a branding plan. Once the position is adopted, we recommend a plan for communicating that position to the marketplace and specific marketing tools to achieve maximum brand awareness.
Providing branding guidance and project management. We provide strategic guidance and project management for implementation of the recommended branding initiatives. We work collaboratively with outsourced and in-house design and technology resource providers and we are happy to recommend options if the firm does not have existing relationships with such vendors.
Aligning the brand with client- and business-development. We help firms develop integrated marketing solutions that align their positioning strategy with their business-development and communications initiatives, and we work with each client to ensure that its service ethic and approach to delivering work product supports its brand messaging.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.