How Your Legal Brand Helps You Maximize Your Marketing
In last week’s blog, we talked about simple ways lawyers can overcome their fear of marketing. Now we’re going to look at ways to ensure you have the right branding in place to maximize your marketing and build the know, like, and trust factor that helps drive prospective clients to you.
As lawyers, we are experts at what we do, but often a misunderstanding of branding, marketing, advertising, and sales makes us reluctant to get involved, which in turn diminishes our bottom line.
What is branding and how do we make the most of it?
Branding is everything we do. It’s the colors we use in our offices, how we dress, what comes to mind when people hear the name of your firm. Our Head of Marketing, Lisa Roser, defines it as: “The look and feel of your business; how you show up. It’s the logo that you use, the font type and color, the images you use. A good brand shows consistency all the way through your marketing material.”
It’s clear from what Lisa shared (you can hear our full conversation on The Legal Community Podcast), that your brand forms part of your reputation. It helps your law firm stand out. It is the face of your business.
When Guy Remond and I co-founded Guidr, an online platform that provides legal documents without bypassing your expertise, we were careful to ensure that our brand was “inclusive”.
Diversity and inclusion
Guy: “We wanted to use a character to depict Guidr. We decided we needed a range of characters that would represent the whole community without alienating anybody. Diversity and inclusion is important, and the fact that you’ve considered that, comes across when you market your business.
Over time, you’ll become famous for your brand; people will recognize your colors, your logo, your style, and that’s what helps your business stand out.”
What’s in a name?
It’s important to consider how you want your business to be perceived, and to think ahead. For example, I didn’t want Dave Zumpano to be the name of my law firm because I want to sell it when I retire. Instead it’s called Estate Planning Law Center. It will have a reputation and a brand that someone else can take forward.
Make it memorable
Guy shared a great story about his previous business Cake Solutions Ltd (now owned by Disney Streaming Services).
Guy: “When we set up Cake Solutions Ltd, we were young and naive. It was the era of whacky names and we wanted something memorable. My business partner went on a night out and got chatting to a group of women. He pretended he was a member of a boy band and needed to come up with a name. The women suggested ‘cake’. We decided that it was short, memorable, and everyone loves cake.
We called it Cake Solutions, and for the next 17 years we were referred to as ‘the cake guys’. People didn’t always remember my name, but they remembered ‘Cake’. We concentrated on building our expertise in the marketplace under this name. It worked for us!”
The name that you use forms part of your brand, but there is more to it.
I’ve been on TV commercials for our law firm for 20 years. Every time I go to the mall or to restaurants, people come and talk to me like they’re my best friend even though I’ve never met them. We film commercials in our lobby which has hardwood floors and a grand piano; this is what our customers see. They have a vision of me in the lobby with the piano, and instantly associate it with our law firm.
Most of the time if you go into a lawyer’s office, you’ll be faced with papers and files lying all over the floor or the desk. It’s a disorganized mess that makes clients doubt your capability to handle their legal affairs. Make it part of your brand to have a separate meeting room, one that protects and enhances your brand.
Guy went on to explain why this consistency is so important.
Guy: “Part of building your business will most likely come from collaborations with other companies. You need to make sure your brand is represented in the right way when that company is referring to you. Create a brand pack with your logo (or a variety of logos so it works well on websites with a different background color) and the supporting text you want to go with it. This makes it easy for anyone you collaborate with to present your business consistently.”
Cutting through the layers
When we start to explore branding and marketing, it’s evident that there are multiple layers to think about. This is often the point at which we switch off as lawyers, because we are already busy and often overloaded with information.
But, Guy has a simple suggestion.
Guy: “In my experience, you need to work with a creative person with commercial acumen. Their brain is wired in a particular way. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars. Invite them to come up with several brand ideas and pick the one that you really like. The right branding helps your marketing, and it’s your marketing that drives the sales, and it’s the sales that drive the success of your business.”
Buckets and pipeline
Guy’s point about expenditure is important because all too often, as lawyers, we’re subjected to advertising from organizations that promise to generate leads. If we follow that process through, we might secure some leads, but after that the money has gone. Instead, you could use that money to build a good website that becomes an online lead generator while you sleep.
I refer to this as “buckets and a pipeline”. You can throw money into marketing and fill up a bucket, but it quickly becomes empty again. Or you build a pipeline (your website) and use the buckets to fill your pipeline.
Your branding and your marketing need to be fueling a pipeline in order to maximize business potential.
The best thing you can do to build on the success of your law firm is maintain a high standard of legal advice, and bring in support to help you create the right brand so that you can market to your target audience.
The online world is particularly daunting to lawyers; as a sector, we’re steeped in tradition, but the needs of our clients are changing. We need to move with the times.
Check out our book The Digitization of Law: How to Transform Technology Disruptions into Abounding Opportunity for insight on how you can make the most of technology to grow your local law firm.
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