I wrote recently that in-house lawyers are looking for law firms that are innovative and efficient. It reminded me of a speaker at a law firm retreat I attended many years ago
Barry J. Gibbons, the former Chairman, and CEO of Burger King spoke at our firm’s partner retreat. He spoke to us on Saturday morning just after a speaker from Fidelity showed us at least 100 PowerPoint slides while explaining our 401K program.
Gibbons used no PowerPoint slides, so the focus was on him rather than the screen. He also told vivid stories to make his points stick with the audience. He made them in a way that I could easily remember them.
For example, the way he presented innovation was to say that he had always been fascinated by what happened when a man for the very, very first time got milk from a cow.
“Just what was that guy thinking? What kind of mind says to itself: ‘I’m going over there to that beast, and I am gonna pull on those things, and drink what comes out.’”
He said that kind of mind changes the world’s diet. When I think of innovators, I think back to that description of an innovator.
After hearing Mr. Gibbons speak, I had to buy his books. I especially enjoyed his book: “If you want to make God really laugh, show him your business plan: The 101 Universal Laws of Business.” I found that Mr. Gibbons universal laws apply to law firms and lawyers, but many of us do not realize it.
One of his laws focuses on branding. He suggests that branding has moved away from supply-side (as lawyers what we do) thinking to a demand-led (as lawyers what our clients need) approach.
Gibbons says we are moving from an era of mass marketing to an era of mass-customization. He describes this as
“an era in which winning companies will know as much about their customers (clients) as they would if they were dating agencies.”
That means your law firm’s webpage and your own website bio should be less focused on what you do and more focused on your clients. The idea is to have a potential client look at your webpage and conclude: “That lawyer really understands my issues.”
How much time are you and your firm spending on what you do compared to how much time you are spending on understanding your clients’ individual and unique needs and figuring out how you can add value?
Even clients in the same industry will be unique and have needs differing from other companies in the same industry.
Over many years I spoke often about the “targeted differentiators.”
It is how you differentiate yourself and your services in the eyes of your clients and potential clients. Just suppose one of your targeted differentiators was that you know each of your clients’ industries, their unique and individual needs and you provide value based on those needs far better than any other lawyer or law firm.
My guess is that your firm would be more innovative and more efficient….what in-house lawyers are demanding.