Why the Leeds legal community are becoming brand owners


If you work in the Leeds legal community you will appreciate just how competitive the industry has become. Nowadays legal clients have access to so much information and are approached from so many directions that they are very well-informed, and often listen to those firms who shout the loudest.

But when it comes to being competitive there are a number of business rules that law firms are adopting. These include:

  • A clear and sustained brand strategy
  • A clear and sustained communications programme
  • A flexibility to adjust to market changes as and when needed
  • A regular brand review and monthly campaign analysis
The last one is as important as the first.

Statistics:

  • There are over 180 law firms based in and around Leeds
  • Over 8,000 people are employed in the Leeds legal sector
  • Over 2,500 undergraduate and postgraduate law students in Leeds graduate each year

Leeds is home to three legal educational institutions:

  1. University of Leeds
  2. Leeds Metropolitan University
  3. BPP Law School

Today, legal practices have to think more like commercial businesses to survive and grow, with more and more firms merging in order to remain competitive. Of course, word of mouth is great, but it’s how and where you promote that word of mouth that now really counts.

A little while ago I was commissioned by a small graphic design company who were doing some work for a legal client who have offices in Leeds, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Halifax, Dewsbury, Bradford and Pontefract, to develop and manage a media relations programme to promote the merger between their firm and another locally based legal practice. The brief was to generate local and regionally awareness to inform both existing clients and new clients living and working in these areas about the merger.

The brief was straight forward, as was the approach and the coverage needed was easily achieved. The overall messages was also maximised by a strategy that I put in place to reach key audience types via online and offline channels, using a mix of traditional media and social media relations activity.

Coverage samples:

Before this campaign, the same design company was also developing a website for another law firm who specialise in sport law. I remember this well, because my client emailed me on a Thursday afternoon asking me to create and manage a press conference for an announcement that was going to take place on the Friday at 10am.

The reason I remember this media campaign was because on the Friday I was travelling to the Lake District for a long-weekend family holiday, so I had to pack up the kids and travel two-half hours to Hawkshead while also arranging for key regional media to attend the press conference. By the time I reached Hawkshead, BBC Look North, ITV Yorkshire, YP and the YEP had all confirmed they would attend and knew who they were interviewing.

Now that the embargo has passed I can confirm that the story related to the outcome following the court case involving Ken Bates, former Chairman of Leeds United.

The fact is, nowadays law firms, just like any other business, have to become aware of the power of brand perception and equally important, how to create, manage and communicate brand propositions in order to attract and retain client business.

For further information on how you can create a ‘legal brand ID’ and how you can develop and communicate your brand’s proposition …talktojason

Many thanks for BBC Look North / ITV Yorkshire / Yorkshire Post / Yorkshire Evening Post / Wakefield Express / Dewsbury Reporter / Telegraph & Argus / Halifax Courier / Pontefract and Castleford Express