Strong branding is becoming increasingly important for professional service firms, helping to show customers that they are reputable and their services are of a high standard. As all businesses experience tougher competition and as customers become more sophisticated in their buying, then the harder it becomes to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.
Law firms are now realising that a good brand must have impact and be distinctive as well as providing a platform on which to build their reputation and goodwill as the business grows.
North-East commercial firm Robert Muckle has always been at the forefront in the way in which it markets itself.
However, the partners are well aware that a new logo, new brochure and advertising campaign are not what counts when you launch the next stage of your brand development.
Stephen McNicol, managing partner said: "The brand is everything that sits behind the logo. Who you are, your reputation, what you do and how you do it. It's about the attitude and culture of your business and should show the energy and drive of your people.
"On July 6 we are launching a new corporate identity and we believe it will support all the important changes that we are currently making as the business grows."
To differentiate themselves from their competitors, Robert Muckle has been working hard on training their people to improve even further the service they deliver to their clients.
Effective and successful brands have a number of things in common. They are built around people, they define and drive business strategy and, most importantly, they work as hard internally as they do externally.
Encouraging innovation and creativity in the way they work has always been a strength of the Robert Muckle brand. Their branding has never looked like a traditional law firm and they have used their links with the arts to be more creative. In the last five years they have worked closely with local artist Darran Bates to develop their brand and were recently awarded Best Arts and Business Partnership with The Sage Gateshead at the 2007 Journal Culture Awards.
Stephen McNicol said: "When it came to looking at a venue to host a series of launch parties over the summer, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art was an interesting choice. My director of communications, Gill Gilthorpe, was keen to support local artist Graham Dolphin as he is one of the North-East's most inspiring new artists.
"Gill and the team at Robson Brown have developed the brand for Robert Muckle since 1990 and at various stages in its development they have been inspired by arts organisations and brought that creative thinking into the business. We wanted to align our new brand to an exhibition within an international setting to gain wider recognition and we felt Graham Dolphin's show, Repeater, goes well beyond the conventional art exhibition with his art spread throughout the entire building."
Graham Dolphin's artwork occupies a range of spaces from the ground floor to the stairwell and introduces several strands of his work.
They include meticulously made and inscribed record albums, altered magazine covers and his video and sound pieces that use footage and sounds from pop culture and the world of fashion.
Graham takes a familiar object or image, changing it just enough so that one takes a second look. He works directly onto vinyl records, album covers and sleeve notes.
Graham said: "It is quite strange to be exhibiting my work in this very public and huge building.
"It was quite daunting thinking about how my work would look on the large main gallery floors, as some of it is very detailed and you have to get quite close to it. So we broke it down and looked at how different spaces around the building could be used in more intimate ways which would suit the work."
He continued: "I am very pleased that Robert Muckle has chosen to support my exhibition as it is my first solo show within a public art space and a chance to make new works and also reflect on the different strands within my practice."
"Music icons are well represented in Graham's work, including artists such as Madonna and Kylie Minogue," said Stephen, "but it's the larger than life performance of Jimi Hendrix playing The Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock in 1969, that stands out as the highlight for me."
Jimi Hendrix died in 1970 aged 27 and is still considered to be arguably the most gifted rock musician of all time.
Graham Dolphin has displayed the rock star repeatedly across 12 panels within a single channel video projection, with each panel of the grid beginning a quarter second after the previous.
The effect is mesmeric.
Stephen McNicol concluded: "We wanted to reach a wider audience with our new branding. On 6 July, BALTIC will reveal the new logo and who knows, Graham may use our new brochure to inscribe passages of closely spaced text in his next exhibition!"