he digital age is changing the way our clients see us. In this tough competitive legal landscape, it’s becoming more difficult for law firms to stand out. Especially, when they fall behind legal industry giants who have larger and more influential in-house teams.
An important question to ask yourself is how do you differentiate yourself from the others? How do you demonstrate to your clients that you are the one they should hire as opposed to another firm of an equal size, similar reviews and identical online presence. Sure, you can be the best in your field but how do you show it to an audience that doesn’t understand what your job actually is or what is involved in the work?
Those in need of a lawyer often either ask around for a referral or hit the ground running with Google. According to the 2019 Legal Trends Report, 57% of potential clients looked for a lawyer on their own and the most common of their methods was using an online search engine and visiting a lawyers website.
This is where strong legal branding comes into play. Completing a competitive analysis for almost any sector in law, you come across the same anodyne messages and interchangeable attributes. If you exchanged all key messages between the websites or placed the same colour scheme on each you wouldn’t be able to tell which belonged to whom.
Your branding is an important part of your overall marketing strategy. What makes you different, what are your unique selling points and most importantly what are you trying to tell the world.
What is branding?
Branding is more than just a logo - it is your firm's personality. This includes many elements such as your unique selling proposition and your company values. But to highlight those, you need to have visual elements that represent your brand's identity. Logos, colour palettes, typography, etc. are all elements that distinguish your voice from your competitors.
Your reputation and your services will increase your referrals and traffic but your branding is what will solidify your client’s choice. Strong branding:
- Encourages a connection with your clients - as it helps them connect on a emotional level;
- Sets you apart from your competition - by catching your clients eye and keeping them on your page to continue reading;
- Builds trust - as it shows that you can be authentic, transparent and client-focused through your messaging.
How to create your brand
If you already have a practice, you already have a brand. The work now is all about zoning in on what your message is and creating a cohesive image. Here are five simple steps to start identifying your brand:
Setting your “why” is more important than you might think. We know you are an attorney and that you practice law in a specific sector. Now let’s get into the why you do what you do. This is also known as a mission statement, which builds the roadmap for your brand and business. Having a mission statement will simplify anything you do going forward in your firm. Anything that doesn’t belong in the mission statement can go on the backburner. A mission statement helps:
- Synthesize who you are: it is what you do and what values guide you in your life and work. This will be a continuing theme in your marketing and a major guide in most decisions that you make.
- Give you focus: having clarity in what you are doing and why you are doing it, gives you purpose and motivation. Mission statements are also tools you can use in future goal planning. These sentences can be turned over and reiterated as your business evolves in order to refocus and set out new purposes and keep you on track.
- Ease any decision-making process: your statements can act as a reminder about what is important to you and direct you to questions you need to ask yourself before making any choices.
- Hold you accountable: your statement may grow and change as your business evolves. So when you check your goals and achievements, review your mission statement and see if you have kept on track or if you should change the track all together.
2. Define your ideal client
Who do you want to serve and who do you want as a part of your everyday business?
Start out by creating a client persona- a description of your ideal client. List their demographics, motivations, goals, challenges and pain points. These will help you find what your true offerings are and help you understand your clients expectations thus personalising the experience.
3. Discover your law firm’s values
Values define not only how you build your brand but also your firm’s culture. Helping you achieve your goals and allowing you and your team to focus on what matters. Examples of values include:
- Building community
- Learning and teaching
- Being honest
- Completing only the best work
Everything you make from here on out whether it is your branding or how you guide your office should be around these values.
4. Understand your Unique Value Proposition
This communicates the services that you offer, how you solve your clients pain points and what makes you different from the competition. The length of your UVP isn’t important; it is whether or not it clearly communicates what you are trying to tell your client.
5. Identify your brand voice
What kind of voice does your brand have and how do you speak to your clients? For example do you need a soft but welcoming voice for your family firm or do you need something more authoritative and innovative.
Creating your brand identity
After creating a branding backbone, your brand’s identity is next which includes:
- Your name
- Colour scheme
- Marketing collateral
We highly recommend starting with a logo first as it is an asset that will guide the rest of your brand's colour schemes and imagery.
Working with a branding professional
It’s understandable that most want to DIY their brand when they are starting out. Whether it is following blogs such as these to winging it. But do consider reaching out for help and start out on the right foot. It takes a while to become an authority within your field so grab your clients attention from the beginning. We will help you evaluate your law firm and conduct market research to find what’s working for your ideal client. We will then design all of the assets that suit your newly discovered brand. Don’t feel overwhelmed, we are here for you. So contact us and we can have a discussion on what your needs and budget are.