Focus on branding to stand out from the crowd
By Beverly Landais, Chief Executive Officer, Devereux Chambers
In today’s highly competitive legal services market, the need for a strong, consistent and recognisable brand is essential. It not only identifies you but also helps to communicate who you are, what you do and the way you do it.
In recent years, the Bar of England and Wales has become far more competitive. Chambers are aligning themselves through affinity marketing with solicitors. Direct access and the growth of markets both regionally and internationally has meant that many leading chambers have had to revaluate where they sit within the marketplace – what their products are and how best to sell them.
This has meant that some sets have expanded into different practice areas, whereas others have identified their areas of expertise and honed their offering to clients through imaginative branding.
In each case, this has been underpinned by strategic recruitment that has meant that each chambers has had to address just how appealing they are to prospective tenants.
The problem for most chambers is that they are indistinguishable from the direct competition: the product and offering is generally the same. Therefore, an easily identifiable brand underpinned with a consistent message about the specific offering of a set is vital. To be successful in future, chambers need to have a strong brand as well as a clear understanding of their audiences and how best to communicate with them.
Impact of branding
Branding is an expression of the values that shape chambers and affects the perceptions about the chambers not only through what is said, but how it is said. It is a distinct identity, ethos and visual language that can differentiate chambers from the competition, if done well and applied consistently.
A chambers brand serves as a group or family identity. It enables all individuals within chambers to speak with one voice, from one shared point of view. It makes possible the communication of a clear positive message to clients, potential new recruits as well as commentators on the legal market who can influence opinion.
When I asked clients, members and staff what we are like ‘at our best’, four key values emerged: being focused on what really matters; being commercially astute; possessing excellence in depth and being easy to deal with.
Having refined our key values, we created our branding to help express these characteristics, giving a visual embodiment of our ethos. The resulting new logo appears contemporary without being overly quirky or trendy. It has a gravitas that looks to a proud heritage but still speaks to a modern audience.
However, good branding is more than a logo. It is the creation and management of all of the experiences people have with chambers at every point.
We have begun the rollout of our newly defined and more polished branding; the challenge now is to live up to it.