Take a look at www.channelseven.com/adinsight and read Dr. Robert Passikoff’s commentaries on branding and other topics, such as accurately measuring customer loyalty. In "My Brand is Here to Stay," Passikoff, the President of Brand Keys, notes that, in spite of Wall Street’s spasms over the last year, 11 of the top 25 brands that have the most loyal customers are Internet or telecommunications brands. This is "based on assessments by 16,000 adult brand customers."
He writes about "measuring the velocity of customer values; capturing the values for which customers have the highest expectations;" and then leveraging the heck out of those values. As law firm marketers, we frequently focus on advertising, promotions, events and other things, hoping they will stimulate client loyalty. He calls these "procedures" not "ideas"—meaning, whatever combination of procedures we rely on to get close to our clients, we’d best know that we’re basing our choices on ideas they value.
In other words, we’d better know what our law firm clients value and that our clients are willing to believe that our particular firm embodies (or could embody) those values. He uses AVIS as an example. AVIS was ranked #12 in 1999 and is now ranked #1. It delivered both procedures and ideas—they DO still try harder (AVIS’ procedures prove it) and their customers believe it.
Why should you care about this? Law firms frequently go to market with procedures that deliver a message that matters to the law firm partners, but the idea/value piece is missing. Initiatives should be anchored in strategy and ideas; if they are, your chances for success are much greater.
Ideas must be present and believable for your clients to be loyal. Then build procedures (events, etc.) that deliver the differentiating idea and bring you closer to the people who are important to your firm.
Passikoff tells us something we already know, "Once delighting the customer was enough to differentiate the brand and increase chances of keeping that customer loyal. But that worked only until ‘delight’ became ‘expectation.’ Unless you can always meet or exceed expectations, you won’t keep your customers loyal."
Measure the "direction and velocity" (loyalty) of your law firm clients—not just their "satisfaction." (Remember that even satisfied clients fire their law firms.) If your law firm brand is built first on ideas that your clients value, and they believe that you can deliver on it, they should be loyal to it.
Deborah McMurray is a strategic marketing consultant to the legal industry. She can be reached at 214.351.9690 or firstname.lastname@example.org.