Why Does Your Law Firm Even Need Branding?
There is some old wisdom in the legal profession that marketing a law firm is somehow improper, unethical, or unprofessional. Sometimes, old wisdom can be a cue to some deep truths. In this case, not so. This is just another example of how the legal profession is outpacing traditional legal culture. Running your own law practice is as much about being a great business owner and entrepreneur as it is about being a great lawyer. To build a successful law practice, in addition to providing valuable and necessary services to your clients, you are also going to have to build a firm using the tools of business.
What is Your Brand?
Developing a brand, for any business, is an exciting and necessary part of the process. It is choosing the face you want to put on your practice and present to the world. When it comes to developing a brand, the single most important thing is authenticity. If you create a brand based what you think your clients want to see, it will read “fake” from a mile away. Your brand should be a reflection of you: your passions and strengths, your skills as an attorney, and who you are as a person.
A brand is not simply your website or your logo. Think of your brand as all of the outward-facing pieces of your practice. Your brand includes your social media profiles, print publications, events you hold, presentations you give, even the office where you meet clients. As you are developing your brand, keep each of these pieces in mind and make sure that your brand reads consistently throughout.
Tailoring the Brand to Fit Your Audience
Your brand has to be attractive to your target audience. We’ve talked about identifying your ideal client before (here and here), and this is your chance to put that ideal client at the center of your work. Who are they? What do they need from you as an attorney? What are their fears, hopes, dreams? If your ideal clients are millennials, take a look at our blog post about marketing to a younger audience.
Once you have your ideal client in mind, you can marry their wants, needs, fears with your authentic self. Your brand needs to be a reflection of yourself and your ideal client. Don’t worry, this isn’t as hard as it sounds. For example, if you practice estate planning law and your personal strength is compassion and creating a sense of calm around the estate planning process, create a brand that reflects your strength and your ideal client’s needs. If you are a business attorney who uses humor to put brand-new business owners at ease, start building a brand around that strength.
One of the big traps that attorneys fall into is a fear about coming across as “professional.” In the traditional legal culture, firm branding was about columns, the scales of justice, and drab colors and fonts. In the modern legal profession, the “traditional” law firm brand comes across as generic and sterile. There isn’t anything about that old version of professional that makes you stand out. Instead, take a look at some law firms with more modern legal brands. As you look around at what’s out there, you will be able to get a better sense of how a fun, honest brand can also read as professional.
The point is to start from your authentic self. What would you look like as a brand? Then, what does it look like when you are serving your ideal client? Don’t go modern just for the sake of going modern. A brand is about a bunch more than simple aesthetics.
Choosing Colors for Your Brand
Once you have a vision in mind of what your brand should look like, or even what emotions it should evoke, start thinking about what colors go with your firm’s “vibe.” Here’s a handy guide about how colors communicate your firm’s brand.
Honing Your Brand’s Voice
For any profession, creating an approachable brand is important. In the legal profession, however, we are also working against generations of stereotypes and biases against lawyers. That is why it is especially to hone your brand’s voice to make it understandable, while also providing high-quality information. Say goodbye to hard-to-understand legalese, and hone a brand voice that speaks directly to your clients.
BE SEEN, and We are Here to Help
Branding can be a loaded term in the legal profession. Actually, it is pretty loaded in any professional-centric business. As an attorney with a solo or small practice, in many ways you are your brand. At Juris Diction, we absolutely get how hard this can be. We are attorneys and business owners ourselves, and we know it can be difficult to place yourself at the center of your brand. However, if you can create a brand that reflects who you are as an attorney and a business -- by placing yourself at the center of your brand and being seen -- you will be able to easily connect with and attract your ideal audience just by being you.
If you need some help working on your law firm’s brand or sorting out how to come across as authentic to your ideal audience on your website, in your social media posts, or in your communications, we would love to help. Feel free to contact us with any questions. We can’t wait to hear from you!