Edge International


Driving Growth and Sustenance in Competitive Economies

Driving Growth and Sustenance in Competitive Economies

Higher Brand Loyalty, Stronger Client Relationships and Brand Positioning for Better Sustenance and Growth

The Indian legal Industry is going through a phase of re-organization. With growth rates dropping to single digits across the globe (Including India), most firms have recognized that a larger market share, consolidation, deepening client relationships and enhancing loyalties are the way forward for a better growth.

The legal departments at the same time are expanding their teams (handpicked from law firms) to reduce dependency on external lawyers and are being very selective in using assistance from law firms.

All of the above, along with growing competition, is pushing law firms to be competitive, proactive, efficient and value-driven. Hence, sustenance is becoming a major challenge for most law firms in India. The firms with higher loyalties and stronger client relationships are drawing better purchase.

Higher loyalties and stronger client relationships are the result of steady investment in building relationships, understanding what the client wants, correct brand positioning, and ensuring quality delivery consistently and efficiently. Therefore, it is important to learn more about the client, its business and competition, and the market in which it operates.

Regrettably, not many firms undertake the effort to understand more about their clients; the ones that do couple it up with innovation and promptness to create a differentiation. Knowing one’s client is also important to understanding whether their loyalties are transaction-based or relationship-based.

A transactional client is looking for best value and best deal. Their decision-making is based on services, convenience and price. They contribute to the bottom line but cannot be relied upon for sustenance and, most importantly, building one’s brand. Most clients will happily to go competitive firms for better deals. However, this is not to say that they can never be converted into a relationship-driven client. Once they start finding value beyond price consistently, it can pretty much become a relationship-driven client – which is exactly what any firm would want, as they value the trust, loyalty, and commitment to a specific brand more so than finding a great deal.

These types of consumers are more likely to stick with a specific brand that they have been using and have built trust in and are exactly the kind of clientele every business wants to have.

As routine legal work becomes more commoditized, what law firms offer is becoming less important to legal buyers. The clients are looking for law firms whose partnership helps them shape strategy and assists in achieving business objectives. This is where a strong, differentiated brand comes into play.

A brand with stronger brand positioning can build and sustain goodwill, providing the extra edge over the competition during evaluation and keeping the relationship strong during rough patches. When you have the right brand position, it becomes the driving force behind the firm. Conversely, the firm struggles with a weak brand positioning.

The India Story

The Indian legal marketplace has been more volatile over the past few years with senior partners leaving for independent chamber practice, partner movements, and more firms mushrooming – all of these, thereby, adding to the competition and reducing revenues for firms.

Therefore, it is all the more important to remain differentiated in a competitive market like India to ensure consistent growth as “me-too” firms may have a seat at the table but only the distinguished ones get the winning hand.

Bithika Anand

Edge International Principal advises on India-specific growth and business initiatives. She is an honourary consultant to the Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF), where she works with the organisation and its members advising and assisting in complying with best-industry practices. Nipun Bhatia, who contributed to the article, is Vice-President, Strategic Management & Process Redesigning at Legal League Consulting.