Action points for trademark practitioners
- Identify the value – work out which of your services bring real value to clients and invest in these. Meanwhile, identify how to deliver routine or commoditised services efficiently and swiftly to clients in a way that meets their business needs. De-lawyer wherever you can.
- Be transparent – develop and adopt the most effective ways to work with clients, especially for volume work. This includes taking instructions, delivering services, billing and issuing advice. Invest in technology such as web portals and apps.
- Be open to new services – consider whether outsourcing or offshoring work will make you more efficient. Evaluate your clients’ needs, and whether you can add skills in areas such as valuation, brand development, anti-counterfeiting or advertising that will help meet them.
- Right size – is your practice the right size for your clients’ needs? Bigger practices can offer efficiencies and capitalise on the data they hold, but some clients may prefer a boutique service, particularly if they lack in-house expertise. Work out what is right for you, and don’t get caught in the middle.
- Adapt to clients’ needs – big companies are rapidly embracing change, so you need to reflect that. Make sure your systems are compatible, your services are relevant and your prices appropriate. Accept that this may mean losing some clients.
- Understand technology – computers are changing the way we communicate and trademark advisers need to advise on the implications of that for branding. This means keeping abreast of social media, internet marketplaces, the Internet of Things and new tools that will emerge. If you can’t do that, hire people who can.
- Re-think your marketing – personal relationships may become less important as work becomes commoditised and in-house counsel change more frequently. You will need to work harder to develop work with existing clients while also reaching out to new ones.