The definition of a Brand is "a claim of distinction." Without distinction, your brand would be generic, or in the worst-case scenario, simply a commodity. Without a point of distinction in your advertising and other external marketing initiatives, the message will more than likely be about features and benefits. When this occurs, you're competing with other law firm's features and benefits, not with your brand.
We define branding as being the constant and consistent use of color, graphics, type and brand message. In other words branding is making sure the logo is always in the lower right hand corner, the typeface is always Helvetica, the correct corporate colors are used, the photo takes up 3/4 of the ad's size and that the brand positioning line is always supported by advertisements, seminar invitations, the website, etc.
Brand development, on the other hand, is the discovery of a firm's distinction - what makes it different from all other law firms-and the communication of that distinction. Both Branding and brand development are mutually exclusive functions, branding being tactical and brand development more strategic. But both are essential in professional communications.Our Brand Development Service
A formal brand discovery process uncovers a firm's true distinction, or what we call a "brand franchise"- those unique selling points that no other brand in a category has. After that discovery, the next step is communicating that differentiation. Many times the outcome is a positioning line such as: "We'll leave the light on for you." Other times it's an icon like "Intel Inside" or sometimes a character like the Maytag Repairman. They all serve as immutable reminders of the brand's uniqueness.Turning the TelescopeSM Positioning Session
Our Turning the TelescopeSM positioning session is a four-hour process of distilling information. We "turn the telescope" to look inwards into the firm rather than looking out at the marketplace perceptions of the firm. After gathering facts which lead to creating the firms' unique essence, we will eliminate those that are not possibly unique. And, working together, we ultimately find those facts that are absolutely unique to each client.Brand Book Presentation and Applications
Within several weeks after the session, we will formally present the firm's brand options.
Our presentation includes a book offering a minimum of two brand recommendations and specific creative applications for those recommendations such as advertisements and collateral materials (as examples of marketing applications of the brand) for its' internalization in the firm and externalization to your marketplace.The Brand Development Team
The team of Anne Gallagher and Merry Neitlich knows that every firm/company has an essence. Our skill is in knowing how to find it and brand it. We bring together a unique combination of law firm and corporate marketing expertise with an understanding of the communication and training applications that make a brand work in the legal marketplace. In fact, we authored the industry's definitive study of brand trends among AmLaw 200 law firms in conjunction with American Lawyer Media LP: the AmLaw/Extreme Marketing Brand Survey.
Extreme Marketing partners Anne Gallagher and Merry Neitlich have each been providing marketing consulting services for over 15 years to law firms and professional services clients. A lawyer by training, Anne is one of the most experienced marketing consultants in the legal field today. Similarly, Merry has established a reputation for her work in interviewing in-house legal counsel about their service preferences from law firms and is widely regarded as an expert in the legal consulting field.
Anne and Merry have received numerous national awards and recognition for their branding and marketing programs, including two awards in the recent "Your Honor" awards program sponsored by the Legal Marketing Association. In addition, both Anne and Merry are frequent speakers and presenters at industry conferences and retreats and are internationally published authors.Brand Concept Testing
Once a positioning line is selected, many of our clients decide to test the brand with existing clients of the firm and/or non-clients in two separate sessions. This process has several significant benefits:
1. Clients tend to provide very honest and in-depth feedback on how accurately positioning lines reflect the unique essence of a firm. Not only will we test the positioning line(s) with the clients, but we will also get feedback as to which graphic and verbal representations most closely reflect the brand message. Clients generally are honored to be a part of this process and their honest and direct input can greatly enhance your branding efforts in the future.
2. Once your client concept-testing panel has provided this in-depth and provocative feedback, this information will be passed on to the committee. The committee's job will be to give their final stamp of approval to the selected positioning line. We will then finalize a strategy to rollout the new identity to the partnership.
3. Some firms also cull the opinions of non-clients (such as bar association executives, marketing directors, business contacts, etc.) in evaluating their brand. While this is not as common as concept testing by clients, it is worth considering.