Home Our insights Brand Positioni …
19 June 2023

Brand Positioning: your key to Differentiation, Loyalty, and Growth

Ilias Meslohi |
Eliott & Markus

Professional service firms operate in a highly competitive market, where standing out is crucial for long-term success. Indeed, we observe that many firms offer the same services with equal competence. As a result, clients often struggle to distinguish one structure from another. This is where the question of differentiation arises, and where a strong brand positioning becomes a true advantage for emerging.

As experts in professional service firm branding, we have assisted numerous structures in defining their brand strategy and expression. Market positioning and differentiation are critical points in this process. In this article, we will explain why positioning is a powerful tool to embed your uniqueness.

But first, what is positioning?

Positioning is both your place and your expression. When we talk about place, we refer to where you stand in relation to your competitors in the market. When we talk about expression, we refer to how you describe yourself being in that same place, i.e., the specific statement of what makes you unique.

Applied to professional service firms, the concept of positioning is an affirmation of what sets you apart in the market, in the minds of your audience. It's a statement of who you are, what you do, and how you do it.

However, positioning is not only limited to firms as a whole but can also apply to specific elements within your structure: your experts, your offerings, your services are also positioned in relation to their market equivalents.

How does your firm's positioning make a difference?

Positioning can be a fantastic opportunity for differentiation, provided it is well-defined. First, it will not only help you attract prospects most likely to use your services, but also retain your existing clients. Second, it is a vehicle for clarity, allowing quick understanding of how your firm operates, and answering the question, "why you rather than someone else?" Last, it is a source of harmony that guides your communication and marketing actions, so that your efforts in this area align with the image you wish to project.

To illustrate, let's take the example of Cornillier Avocats, a firm specialized in business and social law. Prior to its rebranding, the firm presented itself as a trusted partner for its clients, using the law as a tool to develop their businesses, by facilitating and securing the implementation of their projects. Cornillier Avocats has always focused on topics with significant societal interests, with a desire to support social progress. They work with clients on tangible and innovative solutions from an environmental, social, and societal perspective. This identity is now clearly illustrated by the slogan, "Lawyers for a Responsible Economy." Their new positioning allows them to go beyond mere legal expertise, distinguishes them from other law firms, and gives a specific color to their interventions and commitment. Expressing this positioning in all their communication channels allows them to resonate with clients who share similar values and are among the most actively engaged companies in the economy.

How to find and express your positioning?

Defining your positioning requires an analysis of your structure and competitors, a profound introspection, and a clear and consensus-driven vision of your firm's future, to extract your values, strengths, and affirm the added value you bring to your clients.

Several elements contribute to a successful positioning. First, understand who you are as a firm. What are your values? What are your strengths? What are you passionate about? It's also important to understand your clients. Who are they? Where are they? What are their needs and expectations? What do they appreciate about your firm? Understanding your market is also crucial. Who are your competitors? What is your competitive edge? What are the market trends? What is the underlying context?

The answer to all these elements is the engine of your positioning. It allows you to create your brand's DNA, formulate a value proposition that resonates with your audience, and find the perfect opportunity in the market to stand out.

Defining a positioning is not a task to accomplish alone. It can be very beneficial to call in specialists, who can provide an objective external perspective and help create consensus within your structure while avoiding common pitfalls, to ensure your positioning is both distinctive and relevant to your clients.

However, a consultant's role is not to do everything independently. Defining your positioning should be a collaborative effort involving all stakeholders in your firm. This effort includes brainstorming, market analysis, ideation workshops, and individual interviews. After all, your positioning should reflect who you truly are, and nobody knows your firm better than yourself and your team.

How to communicate your positioning?

Once your positioning is defined, a long-term integration process begins, involving all stakeholders within the firm. It is essential to effectively disseminate your positioning. In practice, it should be supported by consistent communication across all your channels and to all your audiences. Your positioning will be stronger for it.

For example, August Debouzy positions itself as a "legal and strategic advisor committed to serving businesses." The aim of this positioning is to reflect their commitment to the growth, innovation, compliance, and security objectives of their clients. In addition to being well illustrated by the website, both in content and form, this positioning is now demonstrated, confirmed, and anchored in all the firm's communications, by all partners.

In summary

Positioning is a source of differentiation and precision in the competitive and often undifferentiated market of professional services. Provided it reflects your authenticity with strength and precision, it becomes a valuable lever for business development to present a united front, attract the right clients, and sustain your activity.

If you have not yet considered your positioning, or if you think it can be better expressed, it's high time to take action. At eliott & markus, we are at your disposal to help you define and communicate your positioning effectively. We have the expertise to help you overcome these challenges and turn them into opportunities that serve your business objectives.

Talk to Mirovia● Get in touch