Alicia Florrick

Alicia Florrick

You can fight the world like a cutthroat lawyer, or stand your ground and treat competition as validation. I know what Alicia chose.

Published Sep 08, 2023
Reading time 4 min read

This issue is about how we view competition and other people. I wanted to preface it with something smart and inspiring but…

I actually compare myself to others a lot. I’m not confident in brushing competition aside. I see big creators and entrepreneurs and feel like there’s no space for me.

And you know what? It happens. It’s a work-in-progress.

There’s still something that helps me flip the concept of competition and find the most creative ideas and the gaps brimming with opportunities.

(If you’ve ever done competition research for your client or some project, I am certain you felt curious and imaginative – but doing it for yourself feels daunting.)

Let me show you the story of Alicia Florrick and how you can turn your thinking around all things competition.

And the story goes:

In the midst of her husband’s scandal, Alicia Florrick was left alone to provide for her children. And so she returned to what she knew best – law.

From the top of her year at law school to a decade-long courtroom hiatus to now competing for a first-year associate position at her former classmate’s firm – she felt so out of depth. Outdated, one might say.

Opposite to her? Cary Agos, fresh from Harvard, with sharp suits and ambitions.

“They’re racing for one position. Winner takes all,” their colleague smirked.

And yet, Alicia has a point to prove.

Character narrative at glance

🎞️ Story arc: From a supportive wife dragged into her husband’s corruption and sex scandal to an independent and formidable attorney and business owner.

💭 Thinking behind: Inspired by real-life political scandals of Silda Wall Spitzer, Jenny Sanford, and Hilary Clinton (think all the wives whose husbands-politicians were caught in sex scandals), “The Good Wife” TV show creators, Michelle and Robert King, posed a question: Who are these women beyond their husbands’ scandals? And so the story of Alicia Florrick became the vessel of this key idea – showing women behind the headlines, their struggles, and determination to rebuild their lives post-scandal.

🗺️ Narrative: Alicia’s story is a reclamation of identity – she’s more than a “good wife” and a backdrop to her husband’s scandal; she’s a resilient woman who found her voice in a competitive and cutthroat field and became a prominent and dominant figure in Chicago’s legal world.

🍋 Character deep dive: Stories of political wives are rarely told, so where does Alicia’s story land and how does she evolve?

🗺️ Mapping Out The Narrative

“Saint Alicia” – that’s how we meet her in the show: A wife who stood like a prop, without a smile, next to her dumpster fire of a husband. A woman everyone sees but nobody knows.

It’s both an advantage and a burden. Why? Because everyone attaches meaning to Alicia that is irrelevant to what she’s after – a career in law. (This is branding at its core, by the way – all about the perception people have of you, or lack thereof.)

When joining the law firm, she’s seen as a mere newbie with nothing to offer. No wealthy clients, no social proof, or years of experience. So, she’s left to compete against fresh-out-of-college associates with a similar standing – Cary Agos.

Yet, standing out & differentiation is not reserved for experienced, industry top-dogs only, with hard achievements and numbers – it’s for everyone who is able to use their “unfair advantage,” what makes them unique AND in demand compared to their competition. For Alicia, that’s empathy towards clients, wealth of life experiences, and relatability that got her a leg up over Cary and other associates.

As Alicia’s reputation and confidence in Chicago’s law world grows, she gains validation both inside and outside her firm and becomes a viable competitor.

Instead of focusing on rivalries though, she turns the relationship with Cary into collaboration where they complement each other. That’s how the Florrick & Agos firm was born. (And countless other mergers – that’s the gag no one could keep up with, but you see how it works for the characters.)

With competing, there are two paths – the hard one and the easy one: Treat your competition in a hostile manner and you feel low (business becomes daunting), OR you treat it as inspiration and a space of possibilities (all about curiosity and how you can make your unfair advantage shine). Navigate the industry with a “make the pie bigger” approach – and everyone benefits, most of all you.

🍋 Navigating To Your Brand

First things first: Competition is inevitable. And it depends on you what people see – does your positioning align with where you want to be?

You can compare yourself to others and dim your sparkle thinking that there’s only one playing field (which you already lost), or you embrace that everyone’s got a space to shine.

Because, at the end of the day, there are so many fields and dimensions of the market – no one buys on the price alone. Somewhere, you stand out on quality of support; in another dimension, someone wins in their approach.

Instead, here’s a permission slip to you and me: Become the rising tide that lifts all boats.

How so? I have a brainstorming prompt for you:

  1. Take 5 people from your industry that inspire you.
  2. Among these 5 + you, what's your differentiator? (Bring your wins into this, even if people don't know about them yet)
  3. Where could you collaborate and join forces? (Think of indirect competitors here, that share a target audience or complementary services with you.)
  4. For each potential ally, brainstorm 1 collaborative idea (Joint newsletter feature, collaborative social media content, bundled product offering – the world is your oyster.)
  5. Go and make it happen – here’s to standing confidently in your space, reaching new people, and bringing win-wins into competition!

OUT: Feeling conscious and treating competition as a bad thing.

IN: Seeing the gaps in the market where you help your customers AND the industry shine.

Seeing Through Stories

Navigate the world of brand strategy, every Friday

Every week, I will send you a TV or book character breakdown and what made them iconic – and how you can apply those insights to your creator brand.