Morepartnerincome.com is one of my favorite blogs, for two reasons. First, because of the title. It doesn't get much more elegantly straightforwards than that. Second, because the posts tend to lean much more to the specific. Today's post is about positioning, and simply, straightforwardly lists a number of different positioning statements a law firm might want to make.
Assuming the positioning has been correctly thought through, the next step is communicating that position. How do you do that? Read on (this is a two-part series):
Principle One: At Any Cost, You Must Get Attention
Advertising that isn’t noticed is worthless. To make advertising effective, you absolutely must get the reader’s attention, however you have to. It’s much better to get attention by using questionable tactics than to play it safe, and receive no attention at all.
This is the exact opposite of law. If you file a brief, it’s part of the record, and if the other side doesn’t read it or respond to it, it’s their problem, not yours. It’s their job to notice it.
Principle Two: You Must Address What Your Clients Care About – And It Isn’t You
Ad after ad after ad goes on about topics the client could not
care less about. They don’t care how big your firm is. They don’t care how long
you’ve been in business. They don’t care about a lot of things. Just because it
matters to you doesn’t mean it matters to them.
You have to find out what they do care about, probably by asking them, and you have to address it. The very best legal ad I ever saw was from Winston & Strawn, for their litigation department, and it does a brilliant job of addressing what litigation clients really care about:
- “Will they win if we go to court?”
- “Are they easy to work with, or are they jerks?”
Principle Three: Design Matters. A Lot.
In law, the basic form of communication is black type on white 8 ½ x 11 paper. There’s only one design. In advertising, you have the complete opposite situation – you can do whatever you want.
These two images are of the same person. The first one, however, was shot by a pro, and the second was not. The difference between them isn’t slight – it’s massive. That’s what design can do. It can visually transform an ad. It changes everything.
Principle Four: You have to repeat yourself
In law, you have to say something just once. Then it’s on the record, and you can point to it as being so. Advertising (sense a theme here?) is different. You have to repeat your message, and people have to see it several times before they remember it, and it sinks in.
For this reason, one-off ads are a colossal waste of money. If your firm is sponsoring a table at some charity event, and you get ad space in the program as part of the deal, the ad should have a message that’s consistent with your firm’s positioning and the other advertising you’ve done. People need to see it and think “Oh, yeah. That’s the firm that BLANK.” This is known as being on message, or on strategy. Figure out what you want to say, and keep saying it.