The Branding Tripod for Law Firms in 2015

Law Firm Branding

This article was first published in Lex Witness – India’s 1st Magazine on Legal & Corporate Affairs January 2015 issue.

2015 happens to be the first business year with a fresh start for India Inc. post recent changes in the governance fabric of the nation. With FDI opening up in various industry sectors and similar policy making changes in the pipeline, the legal industry is bound to grow in times to come.

But before we discuss the resolution, let’s take a brief look on what a law firm strategic positioning and business development plan should entail. A good strategic plan encompasses theentire firm’s best interests, andis both top-down (stating top-levelfirm goals) and bottom-up (incorporatingstrategic practice area goalsand individual capabilities). It addressesimmediate opportunities andpractice strengths along with the overalldevelopment of the firm and its clients.A strategic plan does not necessarily haveto be bold or transformational to bemeaningful and effective. Theplan should still describe the firm’sphilosophy, ambitions and desiredbehaviors.

Once the plan has been prepared on the paper, the firm has to start monitoring performanceagainst the plan on an ongoing basisand reevaluate the plan every year. Viewing the plan as a fluid managementtool can help make thefirm more willing to take chances and risk making some mistakes. Learningfrom mistakes is an importantelement of getting better and improvingthe firm’s competitiveness.


Focus on Internal Practice and Resource Management

Your employees are your assets. In a service based industry, your talent is your product and your capital, andit is crucial to value and develop your in-house talents. Investing in the development of your talent is a guaranteed approach to not onlynew client acquisition, but also ensuring your existing clients are satisfied. In this highly competitive industry, clients have too many choices for legal service providers.

Also, in-house talent development sends a strong message to your clients: “We have a commitment to provide you with the best.” You also send an important message to your team: “We value your contribution and want to ensure that you have a fulfilling and successful career with us.”

Create and Strengthen Your Brand Value

Once you have developed and made your firm’s logo, firm name and brand promise have become sufficiently recognized, and when your firm has acted on targeted positioning and branding opportunities, it is time to start thinking out of the box.

Take advantage of the new age platforms available, like social media, to your own advantage to enhance your brand value and message. However, before posting countless updates across your social media networks, make sure you have defined the social media objectives in place which fit your firm’s needs. It is important to ensure that your social media objectives are in line with your law firm’s overall strategic positioning plan.

The crux of any branding and business development initiative is that every law firm wants to expand its client base. So, it is imperative that one of your objectives would be to send updates geared towards expanding your client base. Those updates may contain links to your website where clients can directly connect with you.

Measure Return on Investments

It’s the little things that count. Seemingly small but important details can make all the difference. Get the entire team focused on business development for just a few hours a week. Focused investments and thoughtful efforts like getting the right people to the right events can make a big impact on the outcome of your initiatives. Focus on modest but achievable goals, such as a four hour time investment per week in terms of branding and increasing visibility initiatives for the firm can help you achieve your yearly goals altogether!

Measure and reward based on business objectives. At the end of the day, it is important to remember that ROI is relative. Return on Investment (or ROI), is by definition the gain from the investment minus the cost of that investment and then divided by the cost of that investment. It is a credible argument to be made that ROI in law firm branding and positioning is not always so absolute, rather a firm should look at all of the expenses and compare to what else can they be doing new or better.

In conclusion, for an effective growth strategy it is always important to recognize that a law firm should be run like a business that needs to plan forthe future. Most law firms are known forwhat they do, but unknown for whothey are.Resolve to make this year yours – Happy 2015!

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