Conscious were present at the latest Bristol & Bath Marketing Network event, where Marketing Specialist, Graham Hall of Ambitious Brands, questioned whether businesses are “Marmite or Vanilla?” His seminar certainly gave us some food for thought! Is your Law Firm trying to please everyone with its vanilla values? Or do you embrace that Clients could love or hate you because of your alternative Marmite style? As the number of Law Firms increase, the need to differentiate from competitors becomes vital. Hall's 7 Steps to Insight seminar, with his extensive outlined seven ways to nudge businesses towards a more creative and individual future.
David's own summary mindmap of the event can be found at the bottom of the page.
Thinking outside of the box is challenging; often our resistance to consider things beyond the norm blocks insight. In their efforts to maintain a professional exterior, Lawyers are often nervous that subverting expectations will dampen Clients’ opinions of their Firm. And the result? Lawyers fall into the vanilla trap; they become generic. At this point, continuing his efforts to be unconventional, Hall carried a ladder to the centre of the room and climbed it whilst presenting. In actual fact, Hall’s avoidance of the traditional Power Point Presentation kept the audience captivated. What better way to demonstrate that Lawyers shouldn’t be afraid to break the mould too?
Still up the ladder, Hall tossed Rush Hour Spanish and Rosetta Stone down to the floor; he confessed he would have liked to learn Spanish, but had little need for it as English is so widely spoken in Spain. Yet, no doubt if he had immersed himself completely in the culture, he could have learnt Spanish in no time. This shows the need for Law Firms to speak their Clients’ language, walk a mile in their shoes and try to see from their perspective. The best way to understand what Clients really want is for Firms to immerse themselves in their Clients’ world. These days, it's the role of the Firm to attract Clients with a more modern set of promotional tools.
Do the Analysis
To understand the requirements of your Clients, you need to do your research. Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species analogy was used at this point; Darwin analysed animal behaviour to find that birds' beaks on the Galapagos Islands evolved to suit their environments. It’s vital that your Firm undertakes proper market research to fully understand who your potential clients are, what they need from you and how to meet these needs in order to develop your business. Knowing your audience is the key to targeting and ultimately delivering the service that Clients really want.
Don’t Force it
Are you the next Archimedes? Arriving at your Firm naked and shouting EUREKA! EUREKA! may give your Clients the wrong impression, but it’s true that insight is best achieved while relaxed. For Archimedes this was famously in his bath and for Hall relaxation perfection involves a beer in hand. Allow yourself space and time to achieve insight through relaxation; after all, trying to force insight will just land you back where you started; with a variation of the faulty solution you began with.
Use Your Imagination
Hall reminded us that Albert Einstein was a notorious daydreamer; he allowed his creative juices to flow, believing that imagination is more important than knowledge. Picture this scene; he had all participants close their eyes to imagine Facebook in one room and Google in another. Unsurprisingly, the feedback was quite different. Some thought that rooms would be contrasting; others felt the rooms would look practically the same. What did this tell us? We all have our own imagination!! We just need to make time for it. Firms need to break away from routine. So pester your imagination to help to develop a competitive edge against other Firms!
Go With Your Hunches
Ever heard of going with your gut feeling? You don’t have to see the idea for it to be there. He used the example of wine connoisseurs; they can taste the difference in the wine and feel the difference on their palate, but visually there’s little difference in the wine. Don’t be afraid to pull ideas out of your head, even if it’s the ‘flakey, soft stuff’ (in the words of Hall) and share with colleagues.
Be Willing to be Wrong
Listen to the staff at your Firm; be it fee earners or partners and accept that there may be a better way than your own to solve a problem, or that someone else might have a more direct path to finding creative insight.
- Insights create change, allow you to be different and create a competitive edge
- You cannot fear Marmite...or you will turn Vanilla.
- It’s not mysterious, so don’t be afraid; anyone can do it
- Use the force Luke!