Law firms are bad at marketing because they don’t identify what makes them different. Law firms often have no understanding of their messaging, of design or the power of integrated marketing programmes.
The underlying challenge in the legal sector is you’ve got powerful, intelligent partners who are a bit like mini managing directors at an ad agency. They’ve all got their own practices and they’re all smart and egotistical.
But marketing a law firm is not difficult if you’ve got a management team that says: “This is what we are going to do. We’re not going to have partners dictate their little agendas.”
There is also an issue in that the difference is not what most lawyers do, it’s the way that they do it. Our differentiation at Mishcon comes from our point of view, our attitude.
Mishcon de Reya stands for private client and family law, but 90% of our work is business law. So, we decided to reposition the firm for the business world. The selling line was “Mishcon de Reya: It’s business, but it’s personal”. That became the calling cry for everything we do.
We decided that if we were going to really propel our positioning as a law firm for the world of business, we needed a big partner.
At the centre of our programme and my budget is an integrated marketing programme with the Financial Times. We’ve created a property called Deals and Dealmakers, which is all about celebrating the entrepreneurial nature of deals.
Every three months we come out with a [branded] supplement within the paper and every week we advertise in the FT. The FT also does email marketing for us to audiences we’ve identified that we want to be involved with. There’s also going to be an event for relevant people, such as chief financial officers, chief executives, and chief operating officers.
That £300,000 programme embodies the whole idea that we’re a law firm for the world of business. That singularity and focus is very uncommon in a law firm.
Our partners and fee earners have been indoctrinated with this new messaging. In any pitch, in any meeting they go to, at any event that they attend, they know what to say about the firm and what makes them different. If you get that right, then you’ve got advocacy, which is critical in any service business.
If you take this approach, then marketing in a law firm is actually phenomenal because suddenly you’ve got the power of 266 people going out into the market and talking about your brand in the same way. That differentiates you from any other law firm.
The partners understand that if they focus on messaging, they will get more business.