Insight Legal Chairman, Brian Welsh gives his opinion; if you are exceptional at what you do, you won’t need to shout about it!
That’s a good question, and when someone asked me it the other day, I had to think long and hard about my answer
I usually try (as much as possible) to stick to a “You Ask, I Answer” format for my articles because I think that’s the best way to give you value – by telling you what you want to know, instead of just aimlessly self-promoting. True, I’ll often share my personal opinions in these articles as well because that comes with the territory. I’ve been part of the Legal software industry for a very long time, so sharing my advice inevitably means sometimes talking about my own experience.
That’s why this question took me a little bit longer than usual to think about, because it’s touching on a very hot topic, and I can see both sides of the answer. The answer I eventually chose might be problematic for some people, and I understand that; life would be very dull if we all felt the same way.
The problem of David v. Goliath
Lately, it’s become de rigueur to promote your business by slagging off your competition.
“Winners in business play rough and don’t apologise for it”1 is the opening sentence of an old Harvard Business Review article I read a very long time ago, and I’ve never forgotten it.
And, sometimes, going head-to-head with a competitor – especially if that competitor’s been ruffling feathers and shouting loud about what they do – can be a strategically savvy thing to do. We all love a good David v. Goliath story.
For every David who took down Goliath, there are probably a thousand David’s who got stomped underfoot. But, even though they lost the battle, you could still argue they had their brief moment in the sun. As the famous saying goes, ‘There is no such thing as bad publicity.’ Except that sentiment applies both ways because when you take on your competitor, you’re giving your competitor publicity as well.
It’s been happening for years, way before Coke first took shots at Pepsi. Car companies do it, banks do it, supermarkets do it. Even Sean Connery did it when he released his own Bond film the same year Roger Moore played Bond in ‘Octopussy’!
Right now, it’s happening in our own Legal software space. A provider in our market is taking on another provider by directly comparing the pros and cons of the very similar products each of them provides. They’re both venture capital-backed businesses, and I’ve got to admit it’s a very bold move. Like most other people in our sector, I’m watching what happens with interest.
So, why don’t the company I am Chairman of or a company I am involved with, play a similar game and shout louder about what we do?
What was my eventual answer when I was asked that question?
Because when you’re exceptional at what you do, which we are, you don’t need to shout about it.
Be true to your brand… don’t slag off the competition
Insight Legal’s brand is innovative, dependable, and hassle-free. We’re proud to be a safe pair of hands in a sector where keeping a clear head and focusing on the needs of our clients instead of being distracted by our competition is crucial to everybody’s success.
Even though I can appreciate how tempting it can sometimes be to take the gloves off and weigh into the competition, it isn’t the way we do things at Insight Legal.
That isn’t a criticism of the companies going head-to-head or any other company that takes the more aggressive approach because I can understand why they’re doing that too. One of the reasons it took me so long to answer this question is because I can easily see scenarios where taking the aggressive approach makes total business sense.
But we believe that actions and reputation speak louder than words.
Why do we need to shout when our track record, our excellence and expertise, and the overwhelmingly positive ‘word of mouth’ we’ve received from the many satisfied law firms we’ve worked with over the years already does all the shouting for us?
Got any comments or questions? Please send them over. I’m interested to hear what you think. email@example.com