How does a law firm differentiate itself from its competitors?
Start by building your brand.
Many lawyers and law firms know they should have a brand, but maybe you’re not clear on exactly what that means – or how to do it. We’re here to help. Keep reading to understand more about law firm brands and how to create one that reflects your firm’s unique culture.
1. Understand what brand means.
Lawyers learn many things in law school, but marketing and branding is not typically included. First things first . . .
What is law firm branding?
Your law firm brand is the collection of all elements you create to portray your firm’s personality and your promise to clients. A clearly defined law firm brand identifies the right tone for the firm, understands its current and aspirational perception in the market, and guides the creation of materials that effectively communicate who you are and what you do.
In short, your brand is the indelible impression you make upon your audience.
A law firm’s brand consists of several parts:
- A unique differentiation between your firm and the competition that will in some way offer a distinct benefit or advantage to your audience. It is the reason to choose your firm over another.
- Your graphic identity, the style of which should visually support your brand.
- Messaging that communicates what your brand stands for simply, clearly, and consistently.
Branding is essential in a competitive marketplace, including for law firms of all sizes.
2. Determine your law firm’s brand.
You may be thinking that figuring out the brand of your firm is easier said than done. For some, it can be difficult to identify what makes your law firm unique and a better choice—especially when so many firms are offering the same services and making similar boilerplate statements.
Here are a few questions to help you brainstorm:
- Why did you pursue a law career in the first place?
- What did you want to accomplish with your own firm that you couldn’t working for another law firm?
- What makes you passionate about what you do?
- What characteristics do you see among those who work for your firm that produces a better result for your clients?
- What do you think your law firm does consistently better than any other law firm?
There is an excellent chance that somewhere buried in the answers to the above questions is the essence of your law firm’s brand.
3. Build your brand.
No brand shares the same story. There is something your law firm brings to the table that no other firm can. What is that? Your history, a higher purpose, formative life experiences, number of attorneys, singular focus, numerous landmark victories, unparalleled compassion—there are many possibilities.
When you identify what makes you different, you can build your law firm’s brand around it. It’s what you will be known for, and the promise your brand represents. You should communicate what your brand stands for simply, clearly, and consistently.
Most importantly, your brand must be based in truth. A brand built on who you’d like to be, rather than who you are, is only a façade.
4. Create a tagline and logo for your law firm.
Your tagline and logo are part of your brand. Each supports your message in a different way.
If you do not already have a tagline included with your graphic identity, consider using one. Taglines can be extremely useful in helping to communicate your brand.
A logo is part of your graphic identity, which supports your brand. The purpose of a logo is to instantly identify the brand of any organization, product, or service and remind the audience what it stands for—so you don’t have to make the case over and over.
If you haven’t communicated what your brand stands for, then your logo doesn’t represent much. Also, your logo shouldn’t look like anyone else’s logo, as confusion would defeat its purpose.
5. Build your website around your law firm’s brand.
Now that you’ve determined and built your law firm’s brand and created a tagline and logo, it’s time to communicate your brand to the world.
Your website is a powerful showcase for your brand. It is your opportunity to reach the widest audience and make the case for choosing your firm.
How do you communicate your law firm’s brand on your website?
- On homepage, less is more: Help visitors by giving them bite-size key information upfront and enabling them to click deeper for more.
- Keep homepage copy short and sweet: Put your firm’s brand differentiation right up front on your homepage: who you are, what you do, and why they should choose your firm. But keep it short. You can elaborate elsewhere on the site.
- Use fresh design: Visual appearance makes a strong impression. Design your law firm’s website with a fresh, functional style that aligns with your brand.
- Put it in words: Employ language that communicates simply, clearly, and emotively.
- Choose visuals with punch: Photos and graphics are not placeholders; they amplify the effect of your words. The words echo the visuals, the visuals echo the words: when they work together the impact is greater than the sum of the parts.
Building a brand is much more than picking a name and designing a logo. A clearly defined brand identifies the right tone for the firm, understands its current and aspirational perception in the market, and guides the creation of materials that effectively communicate who you are and what you do.