Brand Promise – It’s Not a Bag of Hair

Conventional wisdom is that law firm web sites should contain a list of major deals the firm has worked on. I’ve always thought that was wrong – but didn’t really understand why until this morning.

I attended a TechAlliance breakfast club seminar where Nick Hall of Hall Associates ( @hallassociates ) spoke about Brand Promise.

One of the examples he used was a hairdresser. The brand experience a good hairdresser provides is confidence – not a haircut. Confidence that the hairdresser uses her/his expertise to make the customer look and thus feel good. That results in loyal customers who will come back and refer others.

If it was just about experience, a hairdresser would line their walls with bags of hair they had cut.

Law firm web sites listing all the deals they have done is like displaying bags of hair.


  1. I respectfully disagree with your analogy.

    Clients want to see what deals you have done because they want to know that you have handled clients in the same industry (read: you know our particular issues, and our savvy competitors have already placed their trust in you), deals in the same geography (read: you know local issues and law), and deals of the same size and complexity (read: you have the experience/expertise) – because they don’t want to have to pay for you to get up to speed. Under your analogy, law firms would post deal documents, the equivalent of your “bags of hair” – clearly not done.

  2. I disagree as well. The list of deals would be like a row of pictures of coiffures for which the hairdresser was personally responsible. The law firms’ equivalent to bags of hair might be bags of money … which would have a certain appeal, but (a) the hair is taken away to create the coiffure, while the money is produced by the deals, and (b) the partners take the bags of money home (so I’m told).

    I presume the clients consent to the mention of their deals on their law firms’ web sites, since lawyers aren’t otherwise allowed to talk about who they represent. Why would clients want to appear on such a list? Do they derive prestige from choosing a law firm that all those other fancy folks also chose?