12 November 2018

I'll be there for you

ROI is not just about the money. Legal services get devalued when firms forget that law should be about helping fellow human beings.

By Agnes Foy

Krasimira Nevenova

It’s clear that brand is important. But all work is not good work.  Ultimately, a law firm stands out for what it says NO to every bit as much as what it says say YES to. So it is important to make sure the ROI is an accurate representation of what will be premium valued by the firm as its return on investment (ROI).

Identity tag

The components of ROI include increasing profits and increasing the client base the firm actually wants. ROI also includes managing the growth of the firm alongside managing the personal growth ambitions of the owners, employees and contractors.  The big City law firms have been investing in brand build for a long time. They are good examples of what can be achieved. The term “The Magic Circle” added impressive value. This simple, snappy  - but nebulous - identity tag still enables the apparently "magic" club members to attract lawyers from around the world.

Exactly who … are you?

‘Brand’ is a reflection of culture and ethos. It conveys a way of doing things that sets the firm apart. All brands amount to value adding propositions. Successful branding ensures that the firm’s value proposition is clear. Branding is not just a matter of changing a name or a logo. A successful branding involves overhauling a company's goals, values and culture and message. 

What’s in a name?

Not all branding efforts are successful. When Andersen Consulting cut ties with Arthur Andersen, they decided that a new brand name was required too. The result was ‘Accenture’. ‘ This’ isn’t a word - it’s an amalgam. The rumour is that "accent on the future" was its inspiration source. Few have been able to spot the ‘WOW’ factor in this muse. The bigger problem is, however, that the name tells the customer nothing. In connectivity terms, the name conveys nothing at all. The brand name ‘Accenture’ cost Andersen/Accenture an estimated $100 million to execute.  It is still regarded as one of the worst rebrandings in corporate history.

Lawyers as Friends

"I'll be there for you" is a song recorded by the American duo, the Rembrandts. It is the theme tune for Friends, the American sit-com.  The song is possibly one of the most popular of all television theme songs. It's not the case that nothing else explains the meaning of friends and friendship better than this song. But the song certainly manages to strike a deep emotional chord. It is undoubtedly the simplest, most popular and most accessible explanation for friendship - worldwide.

To promote one of its employment law podcasts, Blackadders, the Scottish law firm, recently created a parody video of the opening credits of Friends. To the soundtrack 'I'll be there for you', the lawyers mimic the Friends cast frolicking in a fountain. 

In the MeToo# era, this branding message intricately expresses the culture and ethos of the employment law division of Blackadders to potential clients.  In connectivity terms, the Friends theme tune conveys a multitude. It presses all the right buttons. The Blackadder employment team now have to deliver the goods. 

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