Integrating Legal Services and Software in One Compelling Brand
Littler is one of the world’s leading labor and employment law firms. It has worked consistently and creatively to maintain this position: expanding globally, developing innovative technology offers, and harnessing data and analytics. However, the firm’s Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer recognized that although its approach and perspective were quite unique, its marketing still relied on stale table stakes messages about size, reach, and prestige. She realized it needed to evolve its brand to better reflect its strengths, including its unique software and data capabilities.
We worked closely with the CMO to develop a brand that emphasizes how the firm’s scale and reputation benefit clients by offering personalized, data-backed legal advice quickly and professionally. Encapsulated in a strong brand line, “Fueled by ingenuity. Inspired by you”, the new brand was supported by a robust messaging system and launch plan.
For Littler’s CMO, launching a new brand built around client-centric innovation was just the start. She understood that to monetize its innovative technology offering, it needed to determine how best to go to market under the umbrella of a corporate brand while creating a distinct value proposition for its software and data, which were struggling for recognition in the marketplace.
Legal software requires a different marketing playbook from legal services. While law firms typically depend on relationship-driven sales to win and retain business, software marketing needs to communicate its value proposition quickly—and often without any human interaction.
A further challenge: Littler’s software messaging and brand architecture were not yet optimized for these goals. Littler presented its technology as a laundry list of capabilities, doing little to communicate that they worked best when combined with its other software and data products … and with their traditional legal services.
To improve Littler’s innovation messaging, we formulated a three-pronged plan.
1. Conduct user research
Brand research revealed that Littler’s clients considered the firm to be innovative. Additional research focused specifically on the firm’s technology offering found that while clients indeed thought of the firm as innovative, they couldn’t explain how this benefited them. This insight was crucial. The firm needed to go a level deeper in its client-facing technology messaging, communicating the firm’s rationale for investing in these new client tools.
2. Develop an “innovation story” to guide efforts
Because, as noted, legal services and legal software are marketed differently, we recommended that Littler create an “innovation story” for its software and technology offers, one that is supported by, and supportive of, the firmwide brand.
Centering around the idea “Built for your tomorrow,” the innovation story reminds clients and prospects that, like everything the firm does, its software and technology are built with clients’ current and future needs in mind. Far from “innovation for innovation’s sake,” these new technology offerings enable Littler to continue to anticipate – and meet – clients’ needs.
3. Consolidate portfolio architecture
Littler had launched its software and analytics without finalizing a product portfolio strategy. This led to a cluttered portfolio of sub-brands that didn’t support cross-selling or give clients the impression that solutions were interoperable.
Starting with CaseSmart, Littler’s data-tracking and reporting platform, DeSantis Breindel worked with the firm’s leaders to reorganize its innovation portfolio, moving away from branded capabilities and toward a platform model that uses descriptive naming. This maximizes Littler’s marketing efficiency by limiting brand names and, more importantly, sends a message to the marketplace that all the firm’s offerings work together.
Littler’s new brand, and its strategy around marketing its innovation portfolio, have helped to accelerate the firm’s growth momentum. The brand was recognized by the 2020 Transform Awards North America.
About the author
Hannah Foltz is a Senior Strategist at DeSantis Breindel. When she isn’t stuck on the L train, she is diving into research and helping develop positioning and messaging platforms for B2B companies.
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