Is your firm “Committed to Mediocrity ™”?
Tag lines are hard – a few strategically selected words that encapsulate everything you stand for and want your target audience to know about you. It’s the slogan that tells your own people how to act, what makes them different, and help them bring in business. Does your firm have one? Does it stand out? Is it unique and memorable? [This is a 2014 update to a prior blog post.]
Consider FedEx’s brilliant “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” Nine simple words that tell FedEx buyers precisely what they’re going to get, while simultaneously informing all of its employees what their mission is, and its vital importance.
Law firms tend toward weak platitudes like “Committed to clients” or “Results Matter!” or “When Success Matters!”
These vague “we’re totally awesome” statements makes a firm feel good about itself but aren’t specific enough for your lawyers or employees, or differentiating for your target market.
They apply equally to nearly every firm in the market (when don’t results matter…?). They’re easy for a committee to agree on (“Good idea; let’s tell people we’re smart!”), but they don’t set you apart in a strategic way that generates revenue.
Imagine if FedEx’s slogan was “We mail things.”
Would Nike be as successful if a committee red-penciled “Just do it” into “When you need great shoes”?
How would BMW’s vision change if “The Ultimate Driving Machine” became “Your Car Matters!”
Here are some examples of brand-related messages we’ve created that are simple, clear, and catchy. They help define the firm internally and externally. They set the tone and help the firm stand out in a meaningful way. They give the lawyers something to say in new-business meetings when the prospects ask, “How is your firm different?”
They act as the platform for a larger campaign that helps the lawyers sell new business. They aid recruiting by defining the personality type and skill set of the laterals they should seek to hire.
Below are 20 law firm tag lines that support a range of firms, practices, industries, and strategies.
They are, of course, just a small part of larger campaigns, but their role can be significant in setting the tone, breaking the ice, and helping create a dialogue. OK, maybe they’re not the nation’s 20 absolute best law firm tag lines, there are some pretty good ones out there, but these are a pretty good start.
Two hours. Period.™
Laner Muchin, Chicago. The world’s most-responsive law firm. A labor and employment boutique where every client phone call is returned within two hours, even less in emergencies.
Seriously Unbelievable Client Service.™
Sandberg Phoenix, St Louis. The nation’s first firm to offer clients a written service guarantee. Their clients rate them an A+ in objective surveys.
Small but mighty.™
Novack and Macey, Chicago. A small litigation powerhouse with an amazing record of success at trial. The campaign is supported by a variety of small things from nature that are disproportionately powerful for their diminutive size — poison dart frogs, Tepin peppers, rhino beetles, blue-ringed octopus, etc. I wouldn’t mess with them.
The Art of Law.™
Williams Parker, Sarasota, FL. High-quality full-service lawyers targeting a conservative tax and estate-planning audience in arts-oriented Sarasota, FL.
A law firm that really moves.™
Goldberg Simpson, Louisville. A dynamic, entrepreneurial, full-service firm.
Bigger is good. Smarter is better.™
Schopf & Weiss, Chicago. High-powered litigation boutique that beats larger firms by finding the uniquely creative, winning strategy.
Our name is easy to remember. Our work is hard to forget.™
Bryant Miller Olive, Florida. A finance-oriented firm using an “Olive”-themed campaign to generate name recognition (See www.bmolaw.com). They had great awareness in their home market of Florida, but when opening their first office in a new market, they needed a simple marketing campaign that would help them build awareness quickly and cost-effectively. No one can forget the giant Olive.
Putting Imagination to Work.™
Shefsky & Froelich, Chicago. An innovative full-service law firm whose culture teaches its lawyers to find the unique solution to its clients’ problems. (We started with “Imagination at Work,” but just before we launched, General Electric started using it, and we didn’t want to look like we’d copied GE.)
Carlton Fields, Florida. National products liability-specific practice campaign for prominent Florida-based firm.
Ready for Trial.™
Murphy & Hourihane, Chicago. Trial-oriented litigation boutique that declares that they are “Ready for trial” in nearly the first court status call.
We don’t blink.™
Hedrick Gardner, South Carolina. One of the toughest litigation firms in the Carolinas. They bring outstanding trial experience to insurance and commercial clients. For big white-shoe firms that prefer pushing paper to going to trial, you don’t want to be up against these guys.
Crosslin Slaten & O’Connor, Alabama. A full-service law firm that targeted and dominated the nation’s pest control industry.
Large, yet Agile. ™
Hawley Troxell, Idaho. One of Boise’s largest law firms is still fast, agile, and nimble.
Lawyers You Want to Know.™
Gordon Arata, Louisiana/Texas. Full-service firm with a friendly, client-oriented culture. They handle tough litigation cases, but their clients love them.
Gray Robinson, Florida. Full-service firm with statewide coverage, and a unique understanding of Florida.
For Litigation Results. Come to our House.™
Hinkhouse Williams Walsh, Chicago. Experienced litigation boutique, building awareness and visibility around its unique name.
Built for Speed.™
Levenfeld Pearlstein, Chicago. Aggressive, full-service firm with especially dynamic leadership.
As powerful as our name.™
Waterfall Economidis, Tucson. One of Arizona’s leading full-service law firms focuses its marketing on its unique name, particularly during this tragic drought.
The Lettuce Lawyers.™
Noland Hamerly, California. Full-service firm’s targeted agricultural industry campaign.
We make the complex simple.™
Segal McCambridge, Chicago. National class action defense firm that emphasizes winning at trial by simplifying the issues for the juries in complicated cases.
Contrast those above to the typical law firm slogans. Below are law firm tag lines from the Feb-April 2011 issues of Inside Counsel magazine, a publication where many large firms advertise:
National Firm. Midwest Value.
Driving Business Advantage.
The confidence to proceed.
Deep relationships. Forward thinking. And not just one lawyer. A team.
Top of Mind.
Singular focus. Outstanding results.
Intellectual property law by the numbers.
Driving Business Advantage.
Do you know which law firm is “More together?” Which firm gives you “the confidence to proceed” or “drives business advantage”? How does “Top of Mind” benefit a client?
Consider whether your tag line is equally applicable to your competitors. If it is, your marketing is wasting an opportunity. Take a step back, rethink your strategy, and focus on a message that helps you stand out and achieve measurable ROI for your marketing investment.