• Keith Wells

Not now, Father

"The vicar down the disco" syndrome has never gone away. And it might actually be getting worse, with the opportunities to strut his stuff on more media dance floors.

I remember discussing a bad case of it with Barclays about 20 years ago, when the bank's Graduate Recruitment brochure was a painful attempt to get down with the kids. While its Annual Report & Accounts could not have been a more arid desert of ideas and personality. It betrayed some core truths about the bank at the time: each publication came from a different part of the organisation, each was designed for a caricature of the intended audience, and the brand had not been defined well enough to appeal to different groups. The brand was disjointed and dysfunctional.

Last week showed me that the opportunity to set the Rockin' Rev free is still too good to turn down for some people. A law firm apparently wants to be "sexy". Its Partners could be like "rock stars". Someone had seen a video featuring Freddie Mercury, and loved the idea of a kind of magic sweeping through the firm. Is this the real life?

Do clients want their law firms to be sexy? We doubt they've been asked, but suspect not. Do lawyers think they're sexy? Let's not go there.

A brand is a promise kept. That means building from the inside out, towards the position that is right for the business and all of its audiences. It means being great at the things that the business needs to be great at. And it means being prepared to say "No" to the things that blur that clarity.

Authenticity is more important now than ever, and sometimes it's easier and more obvious than you think.


The Charisma Index 2019