Law firms must take branding seriously. Many still misunderstand or underestimate the power of a brand and how it can help to differentiate them.
“For legal businesses practising in many sectors they face a shrinking market with increasing competition,” says Lucy Atkins, Creative Director at Infused Media. “To survive means standing out from the competition.”
“It is vital that law firms look at their market positioning, and how a strong, distinctive and consistent brand can help them attract, engage and connect with new clients,” suggests Lucy.
What Makes Branding Confusing?
Law firms frequently confuse branding with advertising and, because they find it difficult to measure its impact, dismiss it, or relegate it to somewhere far below other activities such as business development.
“For professionals within a law firm, branding can be hard to grasp as an overarching concept, because they can’t see how it is intrinsic to driving new business”
“Every law firm has a brand,” explains Lucy, “whether they are fully aware of what it is or not. It comes down to their willingness to define their market position as clearly as possible, and to use their brand as an effective marketing tool both online and offline.”
“Defining your brand means thoroughly understanding how people perceive you, and knowing where your market lies,” advises Lucy.
Positioning the Brand
What is the positioning of the brand? This requires a strategic plan, which must include a thorough review of the law firm’s website, to ensure that it is consistent with everything else.
There are three key questions to ask when forming a brand strategy:
- Is the brand relevant to the target market?
- Does the brand reflect the business’ core strengths?
- Is the brand credible?
“Perception in the marketplace is vital, for a brand to be believable,” states Lucy.
“Your brand strategy must become the guiding principle for all your communications, with clients, prospects, recruits and a wider online audience,” Lucy says. “Every member of the law firm should adhere to the brand values and reflect them in their own professional behaviour and communications.”
What strengthens a brand is its consistency and that everyone involved completely buys in to it.
Building Business with a Brand
“A well-defined brand is a kind of shortcut, helping prospective clients to find your law firm more easily,” advises Lucy. “A successful brand makes clients feel confident in it, and helps enormously with word of mouth recommendations.”
“Law firms should try to think like their clients, to speak their clients’ language, and to use their clients’ perceptions as the foundation for their communications and marketing”
“Think of how your prospective clients might find exactly what they need from you with only three clicks online,” suggests Lucy, “and avoid legal jargon and talking up your own status.”
“Focus on what your target market wants from you,” Lucy concludes. “Be transparent and truthful, to enable you to build trust, and business, with your brand.”
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