Law Firm Branding: Is It Important?
Is your firm brandless? A few years ago I was working with a prominent Los Angeles Personal Injury Law Firm who was very happy signing a lot of cases through their online marketing services.
But there was a problem with this relationship. No matter how much we pushed to build a brand, the lawyer was resistant. Although they had a lot of the proper brand elements in place, they never had a brand story and even went as far as to change their logo 8 times in one year. This firm used different advertisements offline and online. They used different colors and different pictures. Their messaging was inconsistent and didn’t really separate them from any other personal injury lawyer out there. They didn’t have any strong referral strategies in place. They refused email marketing and were happy. It was short term thinking.
Although they were happy with their online case results, they never diversified. They were able to get by as a firm, but they never really got to the next level. The struggle was the same every month and they weren’t building something to last. Something that they could continually grow. They were lacking a clear brand strategy.
Do You Really Need a Brand Strategy?
Great law firms and lawyers are recognizable. Think about it. When potential clients are making a decision on who to hire they might be asking their friends or family, they might be doing an online search, or they might find you in the yellow pages. Wherever they find you they’re more likely to use you if they’ve heard of you or seen you before.
The chances are you haven’t had as many high profile cases that have garnered media attention that you want. Those are when your brand can really take off. But even small impressions make a difference.
Have you heard of the rule of seven? From a marketing perspective the definition is: In marketing, the rule of 7 states that your prospects need to come across your offer at least 7 times before they will take action or purchase what you’re selling.
With the internet that number might be 70+ depending on how potential clients are looking. The fact remains that a consumer may need to see your brand multiple times before they decide to click on your website or use your services. From this alone it makes sense to have a recognizable brand. And did you know that through internet marketing you can easily convey these impressions? That you can get in front of your clients time and time again?
Your goal while building something to last is to build something memorable. You want your clients to think with the mindset of term branding. Instead of “I need a criminal defense lawyer”, I need “Johnny Cochran”.
What is A Brand Strategy?
According to AYTL, “By definition, brand strategy is a long-term plan for the development of a successful brand in order to achieve specific goals. A well-defined and executed brand strategy affects all aspects of a business and is directly connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments.” (AYTM)
A brand strategy is not just your logo or firm video, tag, or marker. It’s your brand story, how you look, how you feel, and how you stand out from everyone else in your marketplace. I want to put heavy emphasis on your story. This is your firm and it needs to represent your work and achievements. Are you really different?
Recently I asked a personal injury attorney what set his firm apart from the others and his answer included these things:
- My clients won’t pay a fee unless I win their case
- I’m a member of SuperLawyers
- We have a 98.7% success rate
Two out of those three are pretty common between anyone in the personal injury field. It’s not different. Having a winning success record that’s verifiable (check with your state BAR on advertising regulations), is a start.
Yes Branding Is Important, But Keep These In Mind
I hope the above article helps to paint a basic outline of why you need a brand strategy. Time and time again the most successful clients we have are the ones who adopt this philosophy, listen to it, and grow their firm. Your brand isn’t limited to just your online or offline advertising.
Your branding is every interaction someone has with your firm. Whether that be a phone call, a comment posted on a message board, a client review, or a logo, they will have an impression about your brand based on that interaction. Think about this when you think about how your clients and potential clients interact with your firm.
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind about your brand:
- Decide if the Attorney is the brand or the Law Firm is the brand
This has more to do with your firm’s structure. But what brand to you want to build? Keep this in mind from the start.
- Consistency is essential
Keep your brand consistent in design, messaging, slogans, etc. Build upon it.
- Build your logo and type kit
This only accounts for 5% of your brand strategy. Pick something that’s unique. Something different that can stand out. Build your brand around it. Don’t make it look like everyone else.
- Make sure you look different
I wanted to reiterate the point above. Seriously, look different. I worked with a firm who once copied the colors and design of his top 3 competitors. Guess what, they all looked the same. It’s never going to stand out. Consider different colors, font’s, etc. or you could risk becoming unbranded
Does your law firm have a brand strategy?
What benefits or detriments have you seen? I welcome your feedback in the comments below.
October 1, 2015
As a marketing director for a law firm we realized early on that you need to focus on your brand. Consistent messaging has helped our firm gain offline and online credibility.
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