Wollens – formerly known as Wollen Michelmore – is a South West law firm. This project was triggered by their impending merger with two other law firms, creating a much more substantial entity with a greater footprint and broader offer. It entailed developing a new brand idea, strategy and shortened name, as well as creating a new visual style and brand identity, then planning and fully launching into the market.
FULL SPECTRUM LAW
Following a talk I did in 2017 about branding for professional services at the Devon & Somerset Law Society annual conference, Quite Early One Morning was commissioned by Wollens to help them through a brand refresh.
Wollens’ merger in 2018 with Morgan & Pope (in Exeter) and Toller Beattie (in Barnstaple) significantly changed the firm’s size, foot print and offer, thereby opening up greater opportunities to develop the business into new areas, particularly in company and commercial law. In a short space of 12 months, Wollens catapulted itself into a major South West (and beyond) player, with 200 talented lawyers, across 5 locations.
For a number of years, they had been using the strap line “The Devon Law Firm” – positioning the company very much as a local business. The research and strategy phase of this project revealed that the partners felt their positioning (friendly, local, high street solicitors) did not really do the firm full justice.
It became apparent there were a range of separate, but linked, strengths they simply were not talking about, such as: the breadth and depth of their offer in commercial and private matters; their footprint across North, Central and South Devon; a service ethos that goes beyond; and their (uncharacteristically for lawyers!) approachable, friendly and informal style. What’s more, the double merger immediately took the firm to a size that is neither too small nor too big – able to compete against much more substantial companies, but still unassumingly smart and accessible. Yet, Wollens had also retained a culture of being firmly rooted in the community. In essence, it really was a “complete” law firm, with a 360 degree approach and holistic perspective.
We distilled these strengths down to a single, powerful brand idea and proposition – Full Spectrum Law. Quite Early One Morning worked closely with Neon, our friends and “go to” branding and design collaborators, to translate this brand strategy, proposition and idea into a vibrant new logo, visual language and brand identity, that signalled a new dawn and exciting changes afoot.
An important part of this stage of work was to show how a shortened name would work within a new visual identity. The research and strategy phase of the project had revealed there was a real need to simplify the firm’s name to help avoid competitor confusion, especially in Exeter (where the law firm, Michelmores, already had a major office). A shorter name had the added benefit of emphasising further the changes and new direction.
A clean, contemporary and powerfully positive visual language was created, based around a colourfully upbeat “spectrum O” device, which demonstrated the completeness of Wollens’ offer and signalled an exciting new era. Imagery was chosen to convey a sense of deep roots in the firm’s home territory, yet feeling ambitious, optimistic and outward looking.
To take this distinctive and powerful new brand identity and visual language forward, we recommended to Wollens that they add to the team and commission media and communications agency, Stuff, to plan and deliver key elements of the launch. Using Neon’s design language, they created and implemented a range of communications and other marketing materials, including full media planning and execution for the launch. This gave Wollens significant visibility and standout, especially compared to their competition.
The new brand was launched in May 2019 and has garnered much praise from clients and other law firms alike.
With great thanks to Neon and Dana Robertson and Stuff (including permission to use the images).
Happy ever after
One important success of the launch has been the impact inside the company. Bringing three firms together in a short space of time is a significant challenge. This project has shown how a strong brand proposition, together with a powerful, dynamic, exciting and distinctive new identity, has galvanised the team and united them behind a single idea and new firm, with a bright and optimistic future.
Externally, the new brand has had significant effect on a number of metrics, such as digital traffic and new business enquiries. New clients have increased in key areas, such as commercial law and within the Exeter footprint.
The crowning success was at the LawNet Awards 2019 at which Wollens won Best Business Development & Marketing for a “rebrand to support the development of the firm following two significant mergers in 2018”.
“This has been a hugely positive project for the firm, particularly following the growth of recent years. A lot of work has been undertaken to ensure that the branding reflects the practice across the region.” Chris Hart, Chief Executive, Wollens.