What Does Law Firm Branding Have To Do With Law Firm Marketing?

One of the greatest challenges lawyers face in building a law practice is time. I have yet to meet a lawyer or work with a law firm where time is not a scarce resource.  Billable hours, client demands, law firm management and administrative responsibilities are top priorities.  
 
As a result, many lawyers question the value and need for defining a law firm brand. " What does branding have to do with law firm marketing? "
 
To answer this question, I want to start with what branding is and is Not.
 
A brand is NOT just :
 
• a logo
• a tagline
• a web site
 
A brand IS:
 
 
An effective  law firm brand will communicate your uniqueness, express your  value, tell your story and create a memorable presence in your target  market. Your brand will not be for everyone.
 
A brand is a living entity – and it is enriched or undermined 
cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures.
                                                                               –  Michael Eisner
A strong law firm brand will send the message about who you are and drive how you are perceived by the market and clients. Internally, it will set the agenda and create a common purpose behind your strategy.
 
Successful law firm marketing starts with exceptional value and service to clients. A common "brand promise and commitment" helps align everyone in the firm to deliver a consistent message and more importantly to provide a consistent level of service and value to clients.
 
In summary, your law firm brand has everything to do with marketing and is the foundation for an effective marketing strategy. Your brand should answer the following  questions:  
 
1. What is your firm's value proposition? 
2. How does your firm differentiate from other firms?
3. Who are you? 
4. Who are your clients?
5. What is your firm's voice? 
6. What is your firm's consistent message?
7. What is your firm's promise and commitment?
 
The answers to these questions will help you to leverage the synergy of your firm's expertise and talent. By clarifying and internalizing the answers to these questions, you will have the foundation for creating a marketing plan that produces extraordinary results.  On the other hand , if you begin your marketing plan without knowing the answers to these questions,  you may end up spending your valuable resources, including time, on a plan that produces average results.
 

Law Firm Branding: How It Helps You Grow In A Down Economy

The recent economic crisis has had significant impact on the competitive environment for lawyers and law firms. Clients are more discretionary with their financial resources and a larger number of lawyers are competing for a smaller number of clients. 

To excel in a competitive market, lawyers and Law Firms need to separate themselves from the pack.

Successful firms differentiate themselves and leave a memorable impression in the minds of their prospective clients and referral sources. This is achieved through an effective law firm brand.

For many lawyers, the term law firm brand is synonymous with logos and tag lines, symbols that are an outcome of a brand but are not the brand.  An over reliance on a tag line, developed without a brand focus, can result in a generic, over used and undistinguishable message such as “experienced, caring and hard working law firm.”

Your law firm brand is your reputation and distinguishes you in the mind of your prospective clients and referral sources. A strong law firm brand will allow you to establish a significant and differentiated presence in your market that will attract desirable clients and referral sources.

Not creating a law firm brand can result in the following problems:

-       Other people will create your brand for you.

-       Your firm will not be distinguished in a competitive market

-       You will not attract clients who value what you do best

-       Marketing efforts will not be focused resulting in a lower ROI

-       Members of your firm may not be communicating a consistent message

-       Partners may be working on different strategies that drain resources and minimize results

Look at the above list. Do any of these themes sound familiar? If so, it may be time to take a step back from working in your business to working on your business. This will allow you to clarify who you are and what makes you unique so your target clients, employees and colleagues know what separates you from the pack.