Survey: brands aren’t important – but clients will still head to AA, Co-op and Tesco

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By Legal Futures

15 June 2011

AA: not consumers' first choice for divorce work

Just 3% of consumers rate a recognisable brand such as Tesco, the Co-operative or the AA as an important factor when choosing a law firm, new research has found.

However, the survey of 500 consumers found that 26% would nonetheless go to one of those three brands for legal advice – but 74% would choose a traditional law firm.

The report’s authors, legal PR and marketing agency RTS Media, warned that the fact some consumers would opt for such brands even before they have begun actively marketing legal products to the public means there is no room for complacency among lawyers.

Though 94% of respondents were able to name a law firm or legal brand, personal recommendation was the most important factor in choosing a lawyer for 43% of them, followed by an up-front and fixed price (17%) and “the firm seems experienced” (14%).

Being able to call a lawyer directly (5%) and location (4%) also came ahead of “a brand that I recognise”.

In six of the seven areas of work polled, 70% or more said they would choose the law firm ahead of the high street brand, with consumers especially likely to turn to traditional law firms for family (83%), conveyancing (77%) and clinical negligence (77%).

The figure only fell below that for claims over mis-sold payment protection insurance, where 64% would choose a law firm and 36% a brand.

Ralph Savage, managing director of RTS Media, said the results “indicate a genuine interest from people to buy legal services from brands not commonly associated with that market”.

He added: “It is clear that consumers are ready to seek legal advice or buy packaged legal services from high street brands which they already know and trust, despite the fact that we are still months away from this being possible.”

Mr Savage argued that many law firms rely on their long-standing reputation and loyal client base for new instructions, “reticence towards the power of brand, profile raising and the power of the Internet and social networks is misplaced at a time of unprecedented change.”

The report said that while law firms are “justifiably proud” of their knowledge and expertise, they need to improve parts of their business by offering fixed prices, generating a pipeline of client advocates who will recommend their services, and providing accessible advice over the phone to improve customer care, alongside a business development campaign.

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2 Responses to “Survey: brands aren’t important – but clients will still head to AA, Co-op and Tesco”

  1. … and I wonder how many firms are or will step up to the plate?

    Without wishing to appear to be saying I [and lots of others] told you so, law firms have to fall in love with clients, cherish them and understand the value of a lifetime client and not see every file opening as another transaction. It comes down to caring more.

    Those people that will prosper will be the ones who put the clients ahead of their personal interest. I think the Uber brands will creep their way into the market and although small firms will not be able to compete on price they should be able to beat them on service if they put their minds to it. Interesting times.

  2. Julian Summerhayes on June 15th, 2011 at 9:23 am
  3. Interesting study.

    The problem with a survey like this is the time context.

    It’s a bit like saying 20 years ago people would go to bookshops rather than Amazon. Of course they did, Amazon didn’t exist.

    Let’s be clear about this, a reality check, brands haven’t even touched the surface never mind scratched it. You cannot judge the future based upon the past and present.

    To be blunt, this market is set up for lawyers to lose; be it via brands or (more likely in my view), via other smarter law firms.

  4. Jon busby on June 15th, 2011 at 9:42 am

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Looking for new answers in PI

Ken Fowlie

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