What Makes Skadden the Best Branded Firm
Skadden was again recognized as the best-branded law firm for the third consecutive year in BTI Consulting Group's report - The 2014 "BTI Brand Elite: Client Perceptions of the Best Branded Law Firms." This shouldn't come as a big surprise, as earlier in the year, in March, The Acritas' US Law Firm Brand Index 2014 too recognized Skadden at the top of the list for the third consecutive year.
So, the question is as much about what Skadden is doing right, as it is about the parameters that these research firms are using to determine which law firm has the strongest brand.
Shedding light on the phenomenon, BTI's president, Michael B. Rynowecer, said, "The firms in The BTI Brand Elite 26 each capitalize on the differentiators clients find most valuable … which translates into hirability, rate premiums, client recommendations and future growth."
BTI's report is quite reader-friendly, and it summarizes effective branding into two critical components:
- Market awareness - do clients think of us?
- Competitive differentiation - what do clients think of us
And they simplify the process of building brand awareness by emphasizing that market awareness comes before differentiators. The authors of the report say, "You gain awareness before differentiation. Once people are aware of who you are, your differentiators determine if you get hired and how much clients will pay." And obviously, Skadden has been successful in maintaining and increasing both market awareness, as well as differentiators critical to its branding.
Drawing upon 13 years of data, BTI has come up with 9 key differentiators that drive branding for law firms. The indicators that decide your law firm branding is healthy depends upon the extent to which:
- Your clients recommend you first to peers and colleagues without prompting
- Your firm is considered first for hiring in new assignments
- Clients pay above market rates - sometimes substantially above market - and believe they receive extraordinary value
- Clients consider you a safe choice for the most complex and high-risk work
- Clients see you as more likely than others to be an industry leader over the long term
- You succeed in delivering new and valuable services of behaviors other firms don't
- You succeed in using technology more effectively or in new ways to add value
- You succeed in making changes in process or the client experience to add value
- You succeed in making changes to improve the client experience other firms don't make