Law firms are not just about selling legal services but the client’s experience receiving those services. To do that you need to marry good industry insight with vigorous market research and exceptional design.
Elonide Semmes is the founder and president of Right Hat, a branding agency that focuses on helping companies that have offerings that aren’t always so easy to understand. She is a founding member of the Legal Marketing Association Mid-Atlantic chapter and was inducted into the Legal Marketing Association Hall of Fame. She is passionate about brand design driven by research, not assumptions.
What is the biggest challenge in getting a firm to do brand research?
Their knee-jerk reaction is: “We don’t need it. We know our clients. We’ve got it covered. Let’s skip that and go straight to design.”
Though law firms may know their clients, it seldom tells the whole story. Most engage with their clients on a specific case or matter. They seldom sit with clients and to find out more about them and their company generally – where they’re at and where they’re going. As a result lawyers get a skewed view of what’s important to the client because they’re only getting the view of what’s important to that matter.
Market research can help identify the bigger — and softer — concerns clients and prospects have.
Three points of resistance with research:
- To reiterate, firms think they know everything. They may already know 80% of information gleaned from market research but the other 20% can make a brand resonate with the buyer.
- They don’t want to hear about some of the things they haven’t done as well.
- The research may reveal fundamental changes needed to their business.
How does a law firm marketers convince the decision makers at the firm to do brand research?
- First, mine your own data. Focus research on one particular issue or sector.
- Second, do competitor analysis.
Elonide provides examples of how brand research made a difference with clients and how it helped a firm expand.
Who can afford brand research?
Brand research comes in all shapes and sizes and you can find something affordable by thinking outside your normal parameters of market research.
A blind quantitative study with at least 1,000 general counsel in the United States, will cost a small fortune. But there are lots of affordable workarounds, including purchasing a slice of existing syndicated research.
Affordable brand research include:
- Digging into your analytics to see patterns.
- Taking a closer look at financial data.
- Doing surveys. Tip: Use a survey tool when sitting at a booth at a trade show. Meaningful insight can be gained by answers to just five questions from the targeted audience.
- Email newsletter data such as open rates, click-throughs, A/B testing, etc.