Please don’t look it up – the SNAP conundrum; I made it up.
But that is exactly what it feels like when you consider the dichotomy between Brand YOU versus the Firm brand.
Do they ever go … SNAP?
Picture the scenario: the typical networking event.
Q. “What do you do?”
A. “I am a [name] lawyer specialising in [WXY] and I work for [Big Firm, Middle-ish or Small-er] firm.”
Your prop or marketing advantage (if you have one in a sea of Ho Hum) is the Corporate Brand.
You hope, by dint of the name, that the putative client will be won over or impressed by who you work for and, somehow, that will make a difference to the conversation.
Q. “What do you do?”
A. “I am a [name] lawyer who helps small businesses save money or recover money in a cost effective and timely way. And the best bit, you pay me what you think the job is worth.”
There are two points to note (and probably others):
Scenario A focuses on features; whereas Scenario B is weighted more heavily (perhaps with a slight American accent!) on benefits.
But, more importantly, Scenario B is focused on You and not your firm?
There is no right answer to this but, as trite as it may sound, people buy from people, and even though I want, sometimes, the knowledge that what stands behind you is the support to make the service standard excellent, nevertheless I expect you to deliver on your promise and it is ultimately your U.S.P. I am buying.
And the point of this?
“Distinct of Extinct.”
In other words, it is, or should be, far easier to consider you – your Brand You – than it is to talk about the firm. I know from experience that clients could just as easily be turned off by hearing the firm name (big, expensive law firm).
Right now social media is blurring the lines even further. Twitter, in particular, is giving people a voice where they have the opportunity to build on Brand You by giving more of their persona than a website bio could ever do. Likewise with LinkedIn and blogging.
There is a time and a place to rely on the Corporate brand – tenders et al – but not to the extent that many people still continue to trot out the name as if the client is going to be WOWed. Apart from anything else they may not care who you work for, dislike the firm, have no visibility of your market and be unimpressed with the fact that you talk ad nauseam about the brand without giving anything away of who you are.
Next time you are forced to consider this issue, make sure that you have something prepared. For me, I think that Brand You is in the ascendency and this is not said from a self-serving perspective but rather because of the explosion of social media outlets that give you the opportunity to develop your story, interests and why and or what you do.
As I have said before, go to work on your career and not in it (the doing it, doing it, doing it philosophy) so that ultimately you give yourself the opportunity to stand out and be recognised in a sea of sameness.
Hold on to the firm name but don’t think that that will win the day. It won’t.