The goal of market positioning is to gain a sales advantage over your competitors by occupying a distinct and advantageous place in the minds of buyers. History has shown that well-positioned brands grow faster and have fatter profit margins than their poorly positioned competitors.
Good market positioning offers benefits to any brand, including law firms. However, getting your positioning requires considering lots of difficult questions, like which market segments to target and which ones to cede to the competition.
Answering these questions is especially difficult for law firms, many of which have a consensus-driven culture and serve a broad array of client types. However, law firms just need to use the right approach when attacking the problem. To help firms achieve proper market positioning, first, they need to know about the flavors of positioning:
Law firm market positioning comes in three flavors: hard, soft and silent positioning.
The first challenge for any law firm is to determine which of these three flavors is the best fit.
1. Hard positioning
When a firm clearly communicates what it does, whom it serves and what makes it different, it fulfilled the criteria of hard positioning.
Firms that can achieve hard positioning have the clearest message and therefore the greatest marketing advantage over their competitors.
Hard positioning offers great business advantage but it is almost unreachable for those law firms who offer lots of services to many client types.
Law firm examples of hard positioning:
Quinn Emanuel Quinn Emanuel
“A Global Force in Business Litigation”
Beveridge & Diamond Beveridge & Diamond
“The Environmental Law Firm”
2. Soft positioning
Soft positioning is about emphasizing an aspect of the firm’s spirit or culture with a tagline or descriptive headline. The firms who accomplished this type of positioning, do not speak about what the firm does or whom it serves—but rather point out the spirit of their firm.
The challenge with soft positioning is to avoid phrases and generic taglines that could be applied to any firm and satisfy the following criteria in order for it to be successful:
– Reflect factual information about the firm
– Express something that your clients care about
– Make your attorneys believe it and talk about it
– Demonstrate its authentication
Law firm examples of soft positioning:
“Small but Mighty”
“Creative. Aggressive. Relentless”
3. Silent positioning
If it’s too difficult to find a meaningful differentiator that is true across the entire firm, silent positioning is likely the best option for you. With this kind of market positioning, there are no explicit headlines or taglines but instead- the firm’s positioning is subtly expressed using design and selective content.
Law firm examples of silent positioning:
With very few words, this firm’s website uses lush imagery of global centers of commerce and power in order to reinforce the firm’s position in the marketplace.
Their website features a silent videographic that positions the firm as modern, dynamic, and elite.
Silent positioning needs to have a theme that is rooted in clearly defined business goals. This market positioning type is often the solution for firms with political issues. Even though positioned as silent, some firm’s outlook can speak loud to their audience.
Marketing efforts are much more effective when a law firm is well-positioned. In order to create a strong brand for your business, define you law firm market positioning flavor first.
Step one requires positioning the firm as a whole. Start by figuring out which “flavor” of positioning makes the most sense for your organization.
Second, clearly position each of the firm’s practices, industry groups, and attorneys as experts in a particular niche. This is vital because the sale is made at this level.
Finally, you need to substantiate those positions. This is vital because positioning inevitably falls flat without the support of reputation-enhancing content like articles, whitepapers, blog posts, and testimonials.
If you can nail these three things, your firm is on a clear path to marketing success. Take another look at these examples before you decide which market positioning suits your law practice best.