Law is a competitive field. According to data from the American Bar Association (ABA), there are approximately 1.3 million lawyers in the United States. Attorneys and law firms need to be able to attract qualified clients to thrive. In 2022, building a clear, cohesive, and comprehensive brand is one of the keys to success in the legal field. In this article, you will find an overview of the secrets to success when it comes to law firm branding.
When most people think of brands, they conjure up images of common consumer focus products and services—such as Target, Nike, Apple, and Google. Though, the reality is that every business has a brand identity. A law firm is no exception. As defined by Investopedia, a brand is an “intangible marketing or business concept that helps people identify a company, product, or individual.” The most successful lawyers and law firms have well-considered, cohesive brands. In the legal field, the same old messaging strategies are not working as well as they did before. Law firms need to create a compelling message in the mind of their target audience. A brand includes:
In some ways, a law firm’s brand identity is about the core “personality” of the business. As law is a competitive field, potential clients have a large number of lawyers and law firms from which to choose. A firm that has not built a core brand may not stand out from the competition. Branding is important because it highlights a law firm’s principles, core selling points, and the unique value proposition that it offers to potential clients. A lawyer or law firm with a strong and well-developed brand identity is far more likely to resonate with its target audience.
What makes up a successful branding strategy for a law firm? To start, it is about understanding that branding a law firm is a long-lasting process. It is a marathon and not a sprint. Creating a strong brand takes time, effort, and dedicated focus. How do you create the right brand identity for your law firm? You need to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy that is narrowly tailored to achieve your goals. Here are the secrets of success for law firm branding:
It is important to emphasize that individual lawyers may benefit from having personal brands as well. In many cases, a lawyer’s personal brand will overlap with the brand of the law firm where they work. This is especially true for solo practitioners and partners at small and mid-sized law firms. When developing a branding strategy for a law firm, it is important to consider the lawyers that actually work at the firm.
You do not want to try to build a law firm branding strategy that is inconsistent with the already established personal brands of the individual attorneys. As an example, imagine that your law firm is developing a family mediation practice. Your firm also has a personal injury practice that is led by an attorney who has developed a reputation for being “aggressive” and “tenacious.” Those terms may not be consistent with the new family mediation practice. You need to consider how to bring the brand of the firm together into a coherent package. There are many different strategies available to help ensure that the branding of lawyers and law firms are complementary.
In developing a brand, many lawyers and law firms make some of the same errors. By avoiding some of the most common mistakes, a firm can develop a more effective brand. Here are four common law firm branding mistakes to avoid:
One of the central tenets of effective branding is that strategy must be clear, coherent, and consistent. Remember, a law firm’s brand is not just about the message that its lawyers are trying to send, it is about the actual perception in the minds of previous, current, and future clients. Building a successful branding strategy always starts with planning. Without well-defined goals—including reaching a solid understanding of who comprises your target audience—you will be a step behind.
In 2022, building a successful law firm brand must include a comprehensive digital strategy. Thomson Reuters recently cited data showing that a substantial number of consumers and businesses find their lawyers online. Even when potential clients learn of a law firm “offline,” they often do some background research on the internet before setting up a consultation. All law firms should have a well-developed digital strategy as part of their branding strategy. Among other things, this includes:
A law firm’s branding strategy is something that should always be reviewed and refined. The most effective branding and marketing strategies are data-driven. Law firms that have data—both quantitative and qualitative—about their branding strategy will be in the best position to assess its effectiveness. You can use relevant data to figure out what works and what needs to be adjusted.
Branding and marketing a law firm is complicated. You do not have to develop the entire branding strategy alone. Professional guidance and support from a legal branding and marketing expert can make a tremendous difference. A top law firm marketing agency can help you and your partners develop a plan for the present and future of your law firm. With a comprehensive, cohesive, and compelling branding strategy, your law firm will be in the best position to connect with more qualified potential clients.
Don’t make mistake #4! If you don’t want to go to the time and trouble figuring out the branding strategy for your law firm, ONE400 can help. ONE400 is an award-winning legal marketing company that has created hundreds of law firm branding strategies. More about ONE400 can be found at www.one400.com.