As followers of this blog probably know, Mlicki advocates strongly for “expertise-based” positioning within a professional services firm. We believe that efforts to position a firm solely on brand…meaning positioning it only on the efficacy of client service (brand perception) and the way it communicates (brand personality) fall short because they fail to create clear, meaningful differentiation in the mind of a prospect.
What is Expertise-Based Positioning?
If your only source of positioning sounds something like this, “we do what the larger firms do, only we do it [better/faster/cheaper/etc.]” you’re probably not doing it. That’s not to say that this approach to positioning a professional services brand is 100% not viable. But, it is to say that the firm must provide a credible claim of expertise beneath these high level brand statements that identifies a narrow, well defined client sector in which it operates and offers specific reasons why the firm is better than other viable options for the client’s business.
Meyer Wilson: A Great Example
While we don’t regularly work in the legal profession, I recently came across this Columbus-based law firm named Meyer Wilson. This is an example of a very well positioned law firm that is practicing clear expertise-based positioning. The firm states very clearly on its homepage that it is a law firm “dedicated solely to investor claims and class actions.” While other firms propose to provide “corporate counsel” which essentially rounds out to anything a billion dollar corporation might ever need related to legal services, Meyer Wilson is carving out a very narrow, defined practice that helps it attract one type of high value clients while demanding higher margins for its work. Partners of general practices take note, the future of law is in focus…Meyer Wilson is on to something.