This article was first published in the Lex Witness June 2018 issue.
The Indian legal industry is growing and becoming highly competitive day by day. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to have a strong brand, and setting oneself apart in this rat race. Key factors like increased competition, firm mergers & acquisitions, globalization, extensive need for greater client satisfaction and changes to the regulatory landscape, make it essential to engage into branding and positioning initiatives to detail on what makes your firm distinct, relevant, and yet authentic.
However, the road to successful branding and positioning for law firms has several challenges, and it is important to keep some considerations in mind when aspiring successful outcomes.
In the first couple of articles of the six-part series, we discussed the overall need for a well thought and planned strategic branding, positioning & business development; and the importance of PR, media management for lawyers and law firms. In this article, we will discuss the role of bespoke platforms in a firm’s branding & positioning canvas.
Take the Podium
Like any business, a law firm needs to engage in at least some form of branding or business development initiatives to reach out to clients and also stay ahead in the rat race. One such initiative may include sponsoring and speaking at knowledge summits. However, there are various industry conferences that are organized on a regular basis. Key is to understand which ones fit your needs and bill, and which ones to eliminate from consideration:
1. What you want to get out of the sponsorship?
2. Which conferences are likely to have your target audience?
3. What is the expected attendee count?
4. What is the attendee breakdown (job role, organization size, etc.)?
5. What are the sponsorship deliverables?
Things to keep in mind while calculating cost to benefit ratio:
Is the conference and/or the organizers well reputed in the industry? If yes, then investing in such a conference sponsorship is worth your money, as your firm will be regarded as a reputed firm to be brought on board as a knowledge expert, and your firm’s speaker will be considered an expert in the topic he/she chooses to speak on.
How well is the conference marketed? If marketed well, then it is a sound investment for your firm, as your firm’s logo and details get marketed along with the conference promotion by the organizers. This means substantial outreach to target audience far and wide, done by professionals, at a minimal investment from your end
What is the audience size and profiling? As a sponsor you should focus on the quality of the audience attending the conference vs. the headcount. A conference with a huge number of attendees does not necessarily mean that it’s worth the buck. The profile of the audience should be of decision makers, and not mid or junior profile audience only. It is better to be seen and heard by 10 decision makers’ vs 100 people who may not be able to give you the business.
Click the Right Button
Webinars may be a great way for lawyers to position their firm as the Thought Leader. Many lawyers are already engaged in public speaking at other conferences and/or writing books and contributing in journals. Webinars can be an easy way to get the already worked upon content in front of a new, and bigger audience.
However, it is key to track and understand the data that is produced through profiling the audience who attend the webinars:
1. Frequent Attendees – people who attend your webinar more than once within a year will generally tend to trust your knowledge and skills, and will be more inclined to work with you
2. Current Clients – if your existing clients are attending your webinars, there is some disconnect between the team handling that client and the client’s expectation. Address this immediately, so as to not lose the client, as they go upon gathering knowledge from other firms as well
3. Evangelists – if any of your attendees have forwarded your event invite to other people and registrants, it is a great sign that they trust you and are willing to endorse you as a brand Make sure you take special care of them
4. Feedback Givers – pay attention to the feedback you get from attendees post the webinar. Whether they connect with the presenter privately, or over social media, or fill out feedback forms, these are great way to get deeper insight into your prospective clients and carry on conversation beyond the webinar. Whatever you do, do not miss out on engaging with them in a follow-up
Social events like, client appreciation dinners or community drives like blood donation campaigns, are great platforms to engage with your existing and prospective clients in a casual and fun manner, while still addressing the intent of client retention and business development respectively. Be sure to take advantage of such fun work events to get to know your attendees closely and connect with them on a personal level.
Activation scopes like events and conferences can be fun, but at the same time taxing. Besides monetary investment, there is a lot of time and energy that goes into planning through execution of any successful event. Outsourcing or revamping brand and business development strategies, that may have traditionally been managed internally, can save you money and a lot of unnecessary headache that comes with managing any event. Be open to reach out to specialized consultants and consider selectively outsourcing such initiatives for a higher ROI on your initiatives.
Stay tuned for the next in series!
I am the Principal Consultant at the Lex Witness Strategic Counsel Desk, an invitation based initiative, which caters to various entities who seek to create and improve their brand and undertake market activation strategies in the Indian legal market space. Much beyond the space of the magazine, the Strategic Counsel Desk aspires to provide a holistic framework for the firm’s positioning and business growth, primarily focusing on the strength in the Indian legal industry.