The Top 10 Tips to Build Your Law Firm Brand
May 22nd, 2017 | By: Walker Advertising | Posted in: Marketing
Branding is all of the ways in which you establish an image of your firm in your client’s eyes. Branding your law firm is not an optional activity. Either you control the image of the firm, or circumstances will dictate how others view it. Branding can be an intimidating process because it takes planning, strategy, execution, and ongoing monitoring to be effective. If you run a small or mid-sized firm, these actions may seem overwhelming, but one of the best ways to grow your firm is to create a powerful brand.
Here are 10 tips to build your law firm brand:
Think about how to position your firm based on several factors including geography, practice area, uniqueness, client base, etc.
For example, some firms only hire from Ivy League law schools, others only take cases from a specific industry, some firm are known for their innovative approach to interpreting laws, while others are considered traditionalists. Your position in the marketplace is a hybrid of what you perceive it to be and what external parties see. Your positioning should be clear and different from other firms in the area.
Behavior and interaction with prospects and clients contribute to your brand.
In the retail industry, when you visit a store to buy a pair of shoes or a new bag, you may go through different levels of interaction with the security guard, salesperson, and cashier, for example. The slightest negative look, word, or experience and chances are you may think twice about shopping there again. The same is true of interactions in a legal services environment. Every prospect and client who has any exposure to your firm, from reception to closed-door meetings, will form an opinion based on the quality of your services and how they are treated. The more you grow, the more important it is to ensure all employees are representing the firm in a polished and professional manner. Rude, arrogant, or sloppy behavior can damage a firm’s brand.
Know your clients.
While most firms create target market information for their ideal client base to get a general understanding of the clients they want to bring in, go the extra mile and create buyer personas as well. These profiles will take your understanding to the next level and allow you to get to know a potential client’s roles, goals, and motivations. They will give you clues as to where clients are looking for information about the services you provide. Buyer personas will also help you focus your branding to suit the types of clients you want to serve.
Keep the visual elements of your branding simple.
People should be able to understand what your firm is about every time they see the logo and interact with your brand.
Promote your accomplishments.
Does your firm pride itself in closing cases quickly, getting the best settlements, or winning the most challenging cases? Send out press releases celebrating big wins to strengthen your brand identity. Make it clear to media, competitors, and prospects that your reputation is built on more than just words – and that you are the best firm for specific types of cases.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing so you do not fall into the trap of creating a brand that looks the same as other firms in your town.
Be unique and choose colors that are appealing without being boring, fonts that are easy to read, and a logo that will be memorable for everyone that comes across it.
Align your visual identity with the firm’s positioning and behavior.
Visual elements include the name, logo, tagline, and other components associated with its visual communications including colors, fonts, images, graphic elements, etc. Potential clients look at the quality and style of visual elements. It’s not enough to have a website with information related to your practice areas. You must structure the site in an organized and appealing manner to avoid overwhelming prospects with too much text. The same concept applies for printed materials such as brochures, flyers, or informational folders. Visual identity does not stop at marketing and promotional materials. The design and décor of your office space must support the brand identity in terms of layout, colors, furniture style, etc.
If you plan to outsource aspects of your brand identity, use companies you view as partners.
If possible, minimize the number of vendors you use because one company might interpret your concept in a completely different manner than another vendor. You’ll have to reconcile the various deliverables, which not only takes more time and work, but can also hurt your budget. Consolidating vendors means that you have a single point of contact. Your project will be much more agile because you can give feedback and expect changes to design elements within a short period of time. Over time, your select vendors will come to know what you expect and deliver results with minimal explanation.
When planning your branding strategy, it is better to overestimate the scope.
There will always be unexpected costs or elements you did not anticipate, so it may be wise to keep a contingency budget. As you progress through the strategy and execution of your branding, you will be able to approve or deny additional costs easily based on their ultimate benefit. For example, some departments may ask for additional resources, reports, training materials, promotional items, etc.
Building a brand for a firm is challenging if only one or two partners are committed.
You must encourage your entire team to get involved with your initiatives. Plan regular meetings, review training materials, set up a process for running the office and treating clients in a manner that supports and strengthens the identity you want to portray for the company.