Nine associates and two staff attorneys have joined other Skadden, Arps defectors. They left that blockbuster brand for the financial-services boutique BuckleySandler, started by Andrew Sandler, former head of a Skadden division. Initially, report Marisa McQuilken and Jeff Jeffrey in LEGAL TIMES, Sandler had only brought with him one Skadden partner.
Does this sort of migration signal the beginning of the end of branding in marketing? Will BigLaw go the way of Heinz Ketchup and lose market share and pricing power to law firms which position and package themselves in ways that don't rely on and leverage traditional branding? In crisis times, trends already under way get speeded-up in how they take over.
This un-branding trend is well under way in packaged goods such Heinz Ketchup. Market share is going to private label food, beverages and other stables such as cleaning products. As THE WALL STREET JOURNAL notes that to hold on, companies such as Heinz, Kraft and ConAgra have to postpone price increases or actually cut prices. Brands have been all about being able to charge a premium price.
Will this phenomenon of the un-branding bleed into other categories such as professional services? My hunch is that we will increasingly put ourselves out there on the basis of just-in-time results. "Today, and it's only 10:15 A.M., we helped Management Consulting Firm Y receive 66 contacts from prospects and current clients." Digital technology allows that just-in-time kind of promoting. And for peanuts. One might say that Marler Clark law firm is doing something similar with its just-in-time blogging. [Disclosure: Now and then I pitch in with digital work at Marler Clark.]