BD Blog Series with Peter Ozolin – 2

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Business Development Post #2 – Analyze how you stack up!

Okay, now that I know what GCs care about in terms of big picture issues and challenges, how are we doing as a firm vs. our competitors or peer firms in terms of leading the conversations in the marketplace? Think “thought leader.”

Everyone talks “thought leadership,” but how do you know if you are winning or not?  Last week I blogged about the notion that it’s important to first understand or assess general trends in terms of what your clients see as points of risk or opportunity. So, now that I have shared at least some notion of how to do this, the next question I might ask is how is my firm doing relative to my peers in terms of leading in the area of solutions to these risks and/or opportunities? To give you an example, let’s examine the topic of “Cyber and Data Security”. This is an important area of focus for general counsel today. Knowing that’s the case and assuming this an area where your firm is looking to grow, it’s critical to understand if your firm is top of mind. Further, do you have the right skill set at the firm to advise your clients in this regard? Again, leveraging Manzama you are able to understand the relative position of a number of firms as they relate to one another in this context. For example, using Manzama you can conduct analyses like the below chart where we can see a breakdown of mentions across a series of topics and firms.

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Note, Manzama can also alert you to important developments around any topic, company or issue as well…aren’t you curious what this twitter spike is all about on the below mentions chart within the Manama dashboard?
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But wait, outside of your peer firms there seem to be other firms that are fairly active in the realm of Cyber and Data Security and advising. I believe Anderson Consulting previously referred to this notion as “war gaming,” meaning we do not really know who are competitors are today or at least we can’t limit them to a discrete set of firms. One never can fully predict who tomorrow’s competitors will be, but Manzama can get you that much closer to making a sound evaluation. For example, in the below screen shot of a set of Manzama results, it appears that Mayer Brown as well as Baker & McKenzie care about 
Cyber and Data Security issues as well, as evidenced by their consistent blogging over the past three months.
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Conclusion
: Jones Day and DLA Piper within this peer firm group are investing the most energy in and around market positioning, but your real competition may be coming from a direction you may not be anticipating. It’s critical to continuously monitor activity by the competition you know of and always be aware of the key factors that indicate that a new competitor is emerging into the marketplace.
 
Next week: Let’s take a look at how we might find “laterals” and where we need to fill gaps in our own skill set. Until then, happy hunting.
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