What Do Lawyers Do?
A survey on the front of the Law Society Gazette this week by YouGov reveals that 68% of people are largely ignorant of what Lawyers do.
This immediately reminded me of the story told by Claude C Hopkins, an advertising expert, who in 1919 was hired to work with Schlitz beer. At the time the company was struggling to make profit and were only 15th in terms of beer sales.
Hopkins was asked to work with them to improve their business. When he asked them what was special about their beer they said that it was ‘pure’ because of the way that it was produced. Hopkins noticed that nearly every beer manufacturer claimed that their beer was also ‘pure’. He asked to go and see their factory in Wisconsin to see the brewing process in person to understand it and to see if he could use in in Schlitz advertising.
Hopkins was amazed by their brewing process. They used the deepest wells to find the purest water to use in their brewing process, and glass enclosed rooms to avoid any contamination of their beer. All of their bottles were cleaned and re-cleaned to ensure they were completely clean and would not taint the taste of the beer, and only the best yeast was used in the brewing process.
Hopkins was excited and suggested that this process must be explained in their advertising. The executives at Schlitz explained that all of their competitors prepared their beer in this way so they did not think it was worth mentioning. Whilst they might all prepare the beer in a similar way, the clever Mr Hopkins realised that no-one explained to their customers how they made their beer. Schlitz advertising was changed and in only 6 months they had the best selling beer in America.
I started off by commenting on the YouGov survey commissioned by the Legal Services Board on the front page of the Gazette (7th January issue) with the headline "Public ‘don’t know what lawyers do’". How should they know what you do? Have you ever told them? Have you ever explained the process that lawyers go through to qualify, how they are trained in practice, how many years of experience are applied to every case that they handle, and most importantly how that experience is used for the benefit of every client (with real term examples)?
You might say "But all lawyers do it this way". They do, as did the beer manufacturers. It is the ones that explain best what they do that win. Are you winning?
Author: Nick Jervis