By Stephen Izatt, Managing Director of strategic branding and campaign agency Thinkfarm
Despite the fact that much legal-tech promises to boost efficiency, save money, reduce workload and improve turnaround, pick up among many law firms still lacks momentum. And while we can see green shoots as a result of the pandemic and new ways of working, no one should rely on that as a strategy for lasting success.
For a legal-tech business to make itself known and then become integral to a law firm’s culture, it needs a brand strategy and identity to help it achieve cut-though and position it as reliable, safe and effective. A straightforward and concise approach is essential as you have mere moments to let a prospective client know what you do and how it will benefit them.
It’s important to remember that you’re not just selling tech. As we know, there are lawyers out there who aren’t particularly interested in technological processes. But they will be interested in the increased efficiencies that you can offer. Or that it will enable them to make better use of inhouse counsel. Or that they could improve cost effectiveness and boost profits and productivity.
To communicate that in a few short moments to an industry largely distrustful of new-fangled methods, you need to make your proposition appear simple without being simplistic, innovative without being renegade, progressive without seeming dangerous.
Building trust is essential if you’re to persuade target clients to shift confidence from people to technology, especially in a sector that operates via reputation, referrals and word of mouth. Being completely explicit about your offer is a good way to start. Save money. Save time. Spell it out. Purpose made clear up front shows commitment. A straightforward approach conveys confidence and bravery. These aren’t vague promises, this is what you will deliver.
Take Mattersmith. It’s a regulated legal practice committed to improving the productivity of legal and contractual processes using digital platforms and in-real-life methods. It takes on everyday legal matters. The name Mattersmith speaks to those matters and the fact that it is an expert in its field. There’s a demonstrable level of understanding and expertise.
The most successful brands are those that don’t get mired in processes and platforms but demonstrate a knowledge of the client’s world and their place in it. And with many law firms being a collection of disparate parts, presenting an easily decipherable proposition is crucial to get all parties on board.
A strong brand is like a sharp implement. It’s clean, to the point and makes its presence felt in as concise a way as possible. The creative expression of that brand should work in tandem with the strategy, leaning away from hackneyed imagery and language in favour of something that engages and excites in a more targeted way.
Brand strategy should form the foundation of your business and convey who you are and how you deliver on your promises. As the rush to accommodate the growing interest in legal-tech gains momentum, that’s going to be more important than ever.
In the next blog in this series, Stephen Izatt discusses his branding approach to two legal practices – Mattersmith and LexisNexis – and how the work impacted on their business growth