Why Is Your Law Firm Obsessed with Fried Chicken When it Serves Tacos?
Nation’s Restaurant News wrote yesterday about Taco Bell jumping on the nationwide “fried chicken craze,” by adding a new product to its menu – fried chicken strips with a spicy dipping sauce. It plans to launch the new offering in its 7,000 restaurants nationwide by summer 2020.
There are some delicious comparisons between the marketing and promotion of law firms and the competitive fast food business. Lawyers and legal marketers often joke about how conservative law firms are – not in a political sense, but in the sense that they never want to be the first to do anything. Law firms thrive on precedent and watch other firms forge a path before jumping on the bandwagon. This is what Taco Bell did. As a fast-food Mexican concept it is wildly successful, yet it saw other fast food chains that specialize in selling fried chicken get attention, and lots of it, so it followed the competition.
But the problem is that Taco Bell is known for Mexican food, not fried chicken. Why confuse the marketplace with a product that does not fit, or even worse, is so far off brand?
The same concept is true, even more so, in the legal world. Law firms rarely have the chance to be creative with their offerings or forge new practices. And law firm PR professionals pitch people solving problems and tackling substantive issues, not products that can be transformed, reimaged or repurposed.
So, if your firm is not known or does not practice fried chicken law why are your lawyers talking to the media about fried chicken? Chasing trends sometimes makes sense, but it has to relate to what a firm does. Launching new practice areas or serving different industries is evolutionary and incremental.
I advise lawyers to stick to what they know, what they do and what will resonate with the clients they have and want to serve. The verdict will remain out for some time as to whether Taco Bell will make a huge success of their fried chicken plans, but if I want fried chicken, why wouldn’t I go to a place that has the brand equity and credibility in serving that very thing? I’m not visiting the place that just jumped on the bandwagon, and clients of law firms likely won’t behave the same way.