A new positioning for one of America's oldest law firms

A tradition of public service
Covington is one of America’s premier law firms, with a long and rich history going back almost a hundred years. They have a proud tradition of public service – Eric Holder, America’s first African American Attorney General was a lifetime Covington partner and recently returned to the firm; Michael Chertoff (ex-Secretary of State for the Department of Homeland Security) and John Dugan (ex-Comptroller of the Currency) left government to come to Covington.

But even a firm with Covington’s pedigree needs a compelling rationale to persuade potential Clients who are more often than not already well served by their existing firms to look beyond what they already know. Growth, therefore, is often reliant on taking market share away from others – firms can no longer rely on a rising tide to lift all boats. A team led by Principia’s CEO, Ian Stephens* were instructed to help Covington meet this competitive challenge by creating a razor-sharp brand positioning that could help them better go to market.

Leveraging Covington’s greatest strength
Covington’s traditional strength has been its regulatory practice – a tradition of public service and historical expertise in the field meant wide recognition as being the world’s best lawyers in the field. By numbers, however, the regulatory practice is relatively small – Covington is a full service firm and needs a positioning that reflects their wide and global expertise. In the course of a number of very senior client interviews, however, a new context emerged – a combination of the financial crisis and globalisation means that almost every significant company faces significant regulatory issues. These issues are often ‘bet-the-company’ issues, at the top of the corporate agenda, and require the finest legal minds to navigate. Far from being a niche practice area, regulatory now touches everything a company does – and happens to be Covington’s acknowledged standout expertise.

The team crafted a positioning that helps connect regulatory matters and insight to the rest of Covington’s practice areas, helping them go to market competitively, coherently and compellingly. By linking the range of practice areas to the core regulatory proposition, this go to market strategy gives clients a compelling rationale to look beyond their existing firms and consider Covington’s insight and expertise – an expertise not easily claimed by other firms.

An engagement programme helped ensure that every Covington lawyer understands the new positioning and how to best use it in their interactions with existing and potential clients. And a sophisticated and considered new visual identity helps bring the positioning to life, projecting the authority and gravitas with which Covington lawyers carry themselves.

Launched and leveraged
The new Covington brand is now in use across everything they do. The visual identity has been deployed across all their touch points, and the entire partnership has aligned behind the singular positioning and have found great success in going to market with it.

*then in his role as Managing Partner of Saffron

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