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By Kevin Wheeler
I was intrigued when I saw last week’s announcement by Slater & Gordon that they were launching a £1m advertising campaign across a range of media including TV, print and digital advertising, in what the firm hopes will be a "major step towards us becoming a household name" in the UK. My first thought was that this seems a relatively small amount of ad spend for what is a huge aspiration.
The challenge of creating a consumer legal brand
Let’s face it, in the UK we do not have a strong national consumer legal brand; in fact, does any country on the planet? The market has historically been highly fragmented, and based around a few small practices on each town’s high street, for a “distress purchase” which most of us will only turn to a few times in our lives, usually when we are buying/selling a house or dealing with a death in the family. When we have need of such a legal service we tend to ask family and friends for a recommendation or go with the familiar firm that we regularly walk past when doing our Saturday shopping. Using a “national brand” would be a new departure for most of us.
But trying to create such a strong national brand is the gamble that many of the new, post-Legal Services Act entrants to the UK legal market appear prepared to take. Will they succeed? I think not, and here’s why.
Using advertising to create a strong consumer brand
Let’s assume that advertising is the most effective way to build a consumer services brand in the UK today. This is a big assumption and one which could be the subject of its own blog. The premise with mass market advertising is that the constant broadcasting of your company’s message to a large number of people encourages sufficient of them to purchase your service, such that the revenue you generate more than compensates for the ad spend and other costs of producing that service, leaving you with a healthy profit.
If your service is one that consumers use regularly, say, banking, the large revenues that flow from this business mean that you can invest relatively large amounts in brand building and main
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Kevin Wheeler has been advising professional services firms on all aspects of marketing and business development for more than 30 years. As a consultant he helps firms to manage and grow their key clients as well as to win new ones. As a Meyler Campbell qualified coach he works with partners and those approaching partnership to improve their BD skills.
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