Simon Barwick | September 1, 2016

The Secret Ingredient in Every Powerful Brand

Perhaps more than any other profession, lawyers are fixated by rankings. Firms devour the annual lists of rankings put out by the legal industry media. Visit any law firm’s website and you’ll invariably find, right there on the home page, where the firm places in this this or that publication’s recent ranking.

It will have been ranked on metrics to do with the number of lawyers, or global offices, or types of completed deals.

Recently, however, we wanted to look beyond the metrics and understand how firms are perceived and what factors are important to forming that perception.

This in turn would give us keen insights into law firm brands and the role they play in determining rankings.

We approached a carefully selected group of ‘knowledgable business introducers’ – that is, senior advisors and decision makers (none of them associated with any law firm) in the wider financial industry who regularly engaged law firms – and asked them to rank the field of major offshore law firms that have a presence in Cayman. 

We asked the KBIs to rank each firm based on a range of factors that typically feature in law firm marketing. We wanted them to combine both objective and subjective evaluation to decide where a firm should place.

When the results came in we noticed a remarkable pattern which contained a wider lesson on the power of brand for every sector.

The audience agrees most about stronger brands.

As you’d expect, the number one firm received more votes for that rank than any other, and the number two firm received more votes for the number two rank and so on down the ladder.

But what’s significant is that the higher the ranking position, the less dissension in the overall audience view.

Conversely, the lower the ranking, the more widely dispersed the votes.

Concordance. Only the most powerful brands have it.

We call this effect ‘Concordance’. Strong concordance means that the audience has a clear common view of what your brand stands for, its core proposition and how it’s differentiated from the competition.

Whether you’re managing a washing powder, a car or airline brand, it’s a great idea to regularly measure your overall brand position against your key competitors. Then look at how much concordance there is in the audience’s perception of that position.

The stronger the concordance, the stronger the brand. And the better you’re doing your job.

brand concordance graph of law firms in cayman

Position rankings of the top five Cayman law firms showing significant concordance for the number one firm.

Simon Barwick

Creative Director + Principal