MD Communications Partner, Linsay Leslie, recently spoke at the IBA Law Firm Management Committee’s ‘Going for Growth’ summit for small and medium-sized law firms.
Chaired by Eric Baijal, BBM Solicitors, and sharing the panel with Rasha Laswi, Tilleke & Gibbins‘ Tiziana Sucharitkul, and Zeina Obeid, we covered a range of themes, from determining your brand, refining your market, internal and external communications, and the importance of a focused and regularly refreshed strategy for growth.
The general consensus throughout the event was that while large international firms have much bigger marketing budgets and in-house marketing teams, smaller firms can level the playing field and compete successfully against the giants by having a strategy and fully utilising key tools and external specialists.
Firms that don’t have a branding strategy are faltering reputationally – even the biggest and most well established. It’s not that they have dropped in quality or service, but they are simply being overtaken by more aggressive practices that have been smart enough to identify the need for strong and focused branding.
The key thing to remember is that people buy people, so make sure you support your partners and help them build their own personal brands, which will in turn amplify the firm’s brand
Embrace the digital age – digital marketing is a great leveller for the industry. It’s already possible to reach an audience of billions with a lot less marketing spend than you would have required five years ago. For those firms looking to get the most out of a tight marketing budget, digital is a godsend.
Digital marketing can include anything from having a strong social media presence through to running ads, optimising your website to using email marketing to support your campaigns, to jumping on the content bandwagon.
Content, content, content
Content is such a simple and effective way to profile raise and reinforce your brand. Every independent firm should be doing it. By content, I mean white papers and blogs, opinion pieces and articles.
The levels of expertise within professional service firms make them the perfect resource to plunder for facts, opinions, innovations, and ideas. Knowledge is your currency. Not only is this a simple method for making clients feel that you’re really adding value to the service they get, but it’s also it’s a fantastic way to start building a specialist reputation.
Content is very easily shared online and if it’s your thought leadership, reporting, news and opinions that are being liked, commented on, shared and distributed, that instantly creates brand reputation for your firm.
Awards and submissions
Rankings in legal directories, as well as receiving recognition from awards such as The Law Society or The Lawyer Awards, all contribute to creating profile and reinforcing reputation. Don’t dismiss these as industry-only reputation builders because they can have a very positive impact beyond the legal sector too.
Not only will your firm name appear as a shortlisted or award winner or ranked firm alongside other exceptional practices, but the marketing benefit from being able to quote wins and rankings on your website, on lawyers’ profiles, and in pitches is huge.
Building and developing relationships with your clients and targets is key and investing in this is important for smaller firms. Whether you have a sophisticated CRM system or a simple excel spreadsheet, take steps to enhance and segment your data so that you can personalise and target your communications.
Your CRM should be at the heart of your marketing and BD activities, as it will help you understand where your opportunities are, as well as enabling you to plan regular touch points with your key target markets.
If you are looking for reputation management advice on profile building or digital marketing, get in touch.
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