The final case study that I presented at the KMInsight Legal Libraries 2019 event illustrated how aggregated current awareness can be used by firms to differentiate themselves. As I said here and here, my overall talk theme was ‘how can we use tech to empower the legal librarian role and unlock value’. As always, every information solution depends on the organisational context.
There are many points of interest raised below and their relevance depends on your responsibilities. Business development teams are my primary audience here, however information people need to be involved because of our excellent tech abilities. We all have a vested interest in the visibility - and differentiation - of our organisations.
Client focused communications are integral to business development
In this proof of concept Vable worked with a leading global network of law firms. For us, it offered an opportunity to develop new technology, and for them, to roll out an exciting new platform. It was - and continues to be - exciting to listen to them, to collaborate and produce something which genuinely changes the way their network interacts.
Vable’s client manages a network of law firms where client focused communications are integral to successful marketing and business development. The proof of concept's success was built on the assumption that everybody wants a trusted, seamless service with a neatly packaged outcome to understand competitors, industries, and the legislative landscape.
Differentiate with shared dashboards
The new platform harnesses the power of dashboards which offers an innovative and immediate way for members to access and search across relevant current awareness. As an information person offering a managed service to a business development team, I am on hand to assist with organising their content.
I was able to optimise their topic and jurisdiction-specific newsletters through the creation of taxonomies, boolean searching and application of filters, and source management etc. Happily we are dealing with a limited set of data; the feeds are from their member firms. As part of the POC, we also provided templates for eye-catching alerts and newsletters.
All law firms in the network contribute to a range of resources, legal current awareness, commentary and analysis. Co-ordinated by our client, this information is an important part of firms’ business development strategy in demonstrating expertise, building trust with clients and members, and differentiating themselves from the competition.
Legal advisors need 5* Google reviews
What are you like as a consumer? I bet you’re demanding, intelligent, and expect the best service possible. You rely on website reviews and star-ratings, use social media of all kinds for research. Your views are formed by an amalgamation of opinionated strangers who you trust - as much as your friends or family!
Imagine if you were looking for legal services - what’s the first thing you’d do? Post something on Facebook? Ask Twitter? The legal market is not immune to ‘being googled’ by potential clients, so firms are having to approach their marketing in a completely different way. This includes building an authentic online persona, asking clients to leave feedback,...and much more.
Therefore for law firms to differentiate themselves, they need:
- A good online reputation
- Positive reviews
- To demonstrate transparency
Statistics show that 73% of people will pay more for goods and services if an organisation has received positive reviews. And these reviews impact your visibility and reputation so you want people to report a five star experience. This is leading to an increasing amount of publicly available information about what clients can expect from their legal advisers.
For example, there is more transparency around deciding factors such as social responsibility, diversity issues, flexibility in the legal workforce, and most importantly fees. When a client asks how much a piece of work will cost, it is no longer enough for firms to say ‘it depends’.
To make an informed decision, clients expect them to know costs so it is up to firms to provide definitive answers. Law firms can only do this by breaking down silos and improving coordination and integration between departments. Transparency requires trust so this needs to be built both inside and outside the organisation.
Practical tips on how to stand out from the crowd
In such a competitive landscape, the organisation’s management team should constantly be asking how they can diversify client offerings and differentiate themselves from the rest of the market. Ideas include:
- Competitive intelligence: What are competitors doing? What's their message, how are they branding themselves?
- Client intelligence: What are clients doing? What challenges are they facing - trends, industry landscape? What are their concerns? Who are their competitors? When were they last mentioned in the news? Will you be there for clients, complete with actionable insights in hand.
- Competitive edge: Organisations need customisable, flexible, collaborative information which can enable meaningful dialogue with clients. Start with existing systems or workflow. Information people are excellent at this because they are trained to think critically, find creative solutions and ask the right questions
Our client is keen for every member firm, in every jurisdiction to differentiate themselves. Vable provides the cutting edge technology and an innovative solution which provides the current awareness and competitor insights that our client needs to build a trusted network of friends through sharing knowledge.