When Your Law Firm Has a Brand Malfunction

I’m an ideas guy and nothing excites me more than being with a partner group when one or more lawyers have big hairy audacious goals (BHAG according to Jim Collins).

But as excited as I am, there’s a side of me that sinks a little!

You’ve got to be kidding?

No, deadly serious! BHAG if they’re a tug away from the current brand positioning of the firm can be a disaster and you risk all the brand equity that has built up over many years to the new shiny thing (not to mention it has to prove itself, a topic for another day)

Think of it this way!  A brand is what people think, feel about your law firm. It’s not your logo!

Now, a majority of law firms just evolve without any consideration whatsoever to brand, but oblivious to them, they have a brand, they just don’t know what it is, but everyone else looking in, do!

A great way to consider brand is through what we call brand archetypes.  The whole methodology is predicated on the work of Carl Jung. We do brand workshops for law firms based on Jung’s work!

But, in the context of your firm’s BHAG, if your commercial law firm has established a brand that is synergistic with high-end business clients, then your BHAG of setting up a cheap and cheerful conveyancing division or a cut-price legal service for disgruntled employees within your firm will be a disconnect. The term “disconnect” is an understatement, maybe catastrophic is better.

Now your law firm’s BHAG might not be as obvious as this, but if it even slightly signals a disconnect with your firm’s brand positioning, re-think it very carefully.

How Do You Get Around It?

Firstly, do some brand work!  Understand what your firm’s brand (brand essence) is, how its positioned (brand positioning) how it carries itself (brand personality) and how it communicates (brand voice).

Then, do the same work with your BHAG.

If there is a disconnect that doesn’t necessarily mean that the BHAG is dead in the water, but rather what it may mean is it lives outside your firm!

Think Jetstar/Qantas and plenty of other businesses that realise growing market share is about targeting other demographic verticles of which your current brand may struggle to reach!

Not to mention the fact that marketing on every front, a one-dimensional practice is far easier than a multi-dimensional practice.

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