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Would you eat at a Mediocre Deli? Or hire Average Law Firm, LLC?

To read their website, every law firm is in the top 10%…  of every single one of the 57 alphabetical practice areas they detail.  That’s fine, a little puffery never actually hurt anyone, although it stretches credulity and lacks credibility.  Which means clients don’t believe it.  Simply saying it doesn’t make it true.

Of course, it’s not just law firms.  Every car is the best “in its class.”  Every toothpaste is the one recommended most by dentists.  Every one of my kids is my favorite.

Which is why when we were driving up to Portland, Maine to visit a client we came to a screeching halt when we saw the sign for “Mediocre Deli.”  We simply HAD to try it to see if they were right.

It turned out, the corned beef sandwich was quite good.  But the owners, fishing for a name for their new deli joked about this name and couldn’t resist.

The thing about self-deprecating humor is that it shows confidence.  (See, e.g. our “VIRGIN means experienced” campaign for the StevensVIRGIN law firm.)  

Every insecure, over-compensating hack declares himself “The Best.”

Does anyone really think this little joint below is where you’ll find the “World’s Best Italian Beef?”  (I like the credibility of offering some sort of guarantee, though.)

If you WERE mediocre, you wouldn’t brag about it.

I’m not suggesting that you follow The Simpsons’ example, re Lionel Hutz’s “I Can’t Believe It’s a Law Firm!” TM

But saying you’re an expert in everything isn’t especially credible either.  If you’re great at something, be sure your marketing conveys that.

Prove it, don’t just say it.

And if you’re not great, then either (1) work harder and BE great, or (2) recognize that most of the market for legal services doesn’t require greatness, and target that audience.

You don’t have to be the best firm.  Just be the best firm FOR THEM.

We’d love to market the firm that’s willing to use the tag line:

“Not the best law firm.  But good enough for you.”  

We’ll make them rich and famous.