Think of all the other practicing attorneys within 20 miles of your firm. There are quite a few, aren't there? How many of those share similar areas of expertise as you? Probably a lot fewer. What will separate you from the handful of other attorneys in your vicinity is the strength and reputation of your brand.
Think about some of the strongest brands you use in your life as a consumer. Some are so reputable, they are synonymous with the product they sell, like Kleenex or Jacuzzi. Building your private practice into a household name nationally may be unrealistic, but to be well known in your local market and amongst your professional circles is the first step.
The importance of a brand
A brand is where the herd mentality and quality of service meet face on; in other words, communications of the quality of your service will have greater reaching effects than just that client. A positive quality of service will strengthen the brand. From there, a story is told about the company, giving it more life than just a business looking to profit. A character is established about what your firm stands for, who you help, and why you do it. As lawyers, this is crucial to our success. Are we honest, hardworking and loyal to our clients, or do we look for the easy way out, focusing more on the bottom line than the fellow man?
In most relationships with clients, attorneys rarely hold this conversation. In fact, most people that associate with any brand could tell you very little about what makes that business better than other comparable ones. But branding creates a sense of shared value between the client and the business which will come into play as he makes his decision between competing firms.
Bottom line: Your firm’s brand creates an emotional connection between you and your target clients and will serve as an advantage over similar, competing firms.
Change your perspective
Put yourself in the client’s shoes: nervous about their predicament, which caused them to seek legal assistance. This process intimidates many people, and doing the research at such a stressful time can seem unrealistic. So what do they do? They ask a friend and run a quick Google search. If your name is something a friend mentions, and it shows up on the internet alongside some good reviews, you’ve landed another client. And the process repeats itself as long as your brand is maintained.
How to maintain your brand
Clients come and go. It’s a natural part of the business. That’s why you want to retain your clientele, ensuring a longevity of quality people to work with. This means that you will need to maintain your brand, and nowadays, this is largely done online. Law firm marketing today can be completed through a number of practices: LinkedIn Networking, email newsletters, social media marketing, and more.
You might be thinking how possible it is to build your “brand” without the help of a full time marketing team. Besides maintaining an honest practice, keeping up with clients and being a reputable person, I recommend establishing an online presence as the cornerstone of your brand, the ultimate place where clients can learn about you and get a sense of the type of attorney you are. The more professional you come off here, the stronger your brand reputation will be when clients meet you in person.
Check out our Complete Marketing Guide below. It can help start getting that brand off the ground.