Bedell Cristin global managing partner Tim Pearce tells Emily Moore about the firm’s latest brand refresh
WHEN Bedell Cristin staff across the firm’s six jurisdictions arrived for work on Monday, they could have been forgiven for thinking that they had walked into the wrong building.
Indeed, after teams of decorators applied fresh paint to the walls over the weekend, the firm’s Jersey headquarters – as well as its offices in Guernsey, London, the British Virgin Islands, Singapore and the Cayman Islands – looked very different from the previous week.
And the new appearance is just one way in which Bedell Cristin’s brand refresh has manifested itself, as the company – led by global managing partner Tim Pearce – responds to both its recent growth and changing market conditions.
‘Founded in Jersey in 1939, the Bedell Cristin brand is very strong, particularly in the Channel Islands,’ Tim explained. ‘However, over the past four or five years, the firm has grown substantially outside its core markets of Jersey and Guernsey and this, combined with a post-Covid surge in business, made it an opportune moment to refresh our brand to reflect our culture, values and people.’
Referring to the old adage that ‘people buy people’, Tim explained that, to ensure that the new brand resonated with everyone associated with Bedell Cristin, both employees and clients were involved in shaping the ‘plain-speaking, smart-thinking’ approach which underpins the firm’s identity.
‘The most important part of the process was speaking with staff across all levels of the business and in all jurisdictions to find out what they really thought of the organisation,’ he said. ‘We had to be critical and honest. It was like holding up a mirror and saying who are we as a business? And are we the person we want to be?
‘Critically, while we have expanded into a firm of just under 200 employees over the past 80 years, we have always remained true to our roots as a full-service law firm, giving clients what they need where and when they need it.
‘As part of that, the plain-speaking, smart-thinking approach is fundamental to our practice. While any law firm is expected to give sound legal advice, what sets us apart is the way that we give it. We are very commercial in our outlook and we understand what our clients want, which is the right advice delivered in a straightforward way that they understand.’
While this service commitment sits at the heart of the messaging, the rebrand was also designed to position Bedell Cristin strongly for the future.
‘We have chosen a very strong colour palette, which shows our personality as a progressive and forward-thinking, commercially minded firm,’ he said. ‘We are not a stuffy old-fashioned law firm but someone who can be serious when needed but who also has that element of fun about them. Critically, the brand demonstrates our partnership approach with our clients.’
And it is this approach which Tim says has driven the firm’s expansion, with the business now being larger outside Jersey than within to meet the international demand.
‘While we are growing internationally to meet this demand, Jersey is still the largest office with our central functions based here,’ he explained. ‘As we grow in each of our key markets and locations worldwide, the goal is to remain a full-service law firm, so that we can advise clients on all aspects from probate and local property transactions to international finance and private client structures as well as complex cross-border litigation matters.
‘Because of this, our growth is not based simply on placing flags in locations worldwide and chasing remunerative work, but on identifying the synergies which enable us to offer value to clients. Accordingly, there is a tremendous amount of cross-jurisdiction engagement, while our locations enable us to work across all time zones, offering a 24-hour service to clients.’
While the range of jurisdictions may enhance the service offering, it also, says Tim, underlines the importance of having an overarching brand, relevant to all employees.
‘We recognise that the population and cultural values are different in each jurisdiction, which is why it is so important that we have an identity which permeates each location,’ he said. ‘Wherever we are, it is vital that we make it easy for our clients to do business with us.
‘Driving this is our employee development programme, which places a strong emphasis on supporting home-grown talent and creating workplaces where people enjoy spending time. We spend so many hours at work that it is important that our offices are places where people want to come and where they want to do a good job and be proud of what they do.’
With that in mind, the DNA of the new brand will, he says, form part of day-to-day office life.
‘While no brand is ever future-proof, it has to be forward-looking, as you don’t carry out a brand refresh every week,’ he said. ‘It is therefore critical that it is relevant so that people can live it and ensure that it grows and evolves over time. This isn’t something that sits in a drawer; it has to be lived and breathed by everyone from the managing partner down to ensure that it represents the diversity, inclusion, culture and values of the business.
‘This is a brand which reflects not only the work we do but also our culture, our people and our clients, and it will stand us in good stead as the business continues to grow.’