Law Firm Branding: Can you serve all markets from a single brand?


A thought occurred to me the other day: Assuming the Susskind vision of the future is true, can law firms continue to serve all their clients from a single brand? In most other sectors, companies use brands to target a specific market segment.

  • RBS have the Direct Line, Churchill and Privilige insurance brands.
  • Intercontinental hotel group have Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express.
  • In food retailing, many companies have a healthy eating brand, a ‘value’ brand, a mainstream brand and a luxury brand.

If more legal work becomes productised or commoditised and so becomes a ‘value’ based purchase, what impact does that have on your brand and your corporate and prestige clients’ expectations of cost?

It seems to me that the problem with trying to be all things to everyone, is you end up not standing for anything at all.

That’s one reason why Access Legal from Shoosmiths is so interesting: An attempt to create a brand for a specific market segment, but still keeping the parent brand to suggest quality and years of legal expertise.

Are Shoosmiths the only ones doing this? Are there any other law firms out there doing the same?

I’d be interested to know your thoughts. Let me know in the comments below…

Jon Busby - September 21, 2010


Jon Busby - September 21, 2010

I would suggest…

Before running away on the branding train the big question law firms should ask is “what do we have that people want?”

High quality intellectual value, delivered locally and in the main by a real human being. That won’t work for all, but will work for many.

I talk to a lot of law firms and they tend to run away (especially online delivery-wise), with the “we must create an online brand.” First question. Why? Have you determined that a) there is a market for that and b) that clients like that form of engagement? Because if you haven’t then what are you doing going creating something when you have determined that there is a need for it?

Next, building a brand, especially a national one, does not come cheap. It can take an awful long time to get an ROI. Are you comfortable with that capital outlay exposure?

No? Then start slowly, build gradually, listen to your clients and create what they want…it is probably not the same as what you think they want. Most important bit – get a plan.

ps don’t forget the hidden brand…”solicitor” still valued very highly. (Clue: not the same as law firm)

Mark Bower - September 21, 2010

Agree with pretty much all you say Jon.
Re.: First question. Why? Have you determined that a) there is a market for that and b) that clients like that form of engagement?

It would certainly make sense to do some market research first, but realistically how many actually do before implementing online delivery? I would suspect most see competitor X and Y doing it, and simply say “well we should do it too”.

Mark Bower - September 21, 2010

Twitter conversation with @Azrights just reminded me of BootLaw subbrand of Winston and Strawn

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