How to build your brand
Branding is a powerful tool to help lawyers and law firms stand out in a saturated market, says Michelle Chun-Hoon
Whether you are setting out on your own or part of an established firm, branding should be an integral part of your career and marketing strategy.
On a personal front, effective branding can help you to attract clients and network with other legal professionals. Even if you work within a firm, remember that clients often recommend individual lawyers, rather than the firm itself.
Who are you, who do you want to be
Visual branding is vital for creating a distinct presence. Start by defining you or your firm’s personality before you create any marketing. You need to know:
What are your/your firm’s values?
Who is your ideal client?
What’s the most appropriate tone of voice to use for your target audience?
What’s your unique offering?
Having an ideal client in mind is particularly important for the design of your website and logo.
Looks really matter
Once you’ve defined your brand personality, you need to create a strong visual identity. Consistency is key. Your logo needs to have set guidelines so that its appearance is consistent across all marketing collateral. An effective logo should be custom made for your firm – stock logos look cheap and are often used by multiple firms.
The same applies to your website. Design, colour, style and tone should be consistent and only altered in line with your brand strategy. This reinforces your message and strengthens it over time. The elements should resonate with your ideal client. When designing your website, think about how you want them to feel when they visit it.
Remember, colour and design promote emotional responses. For example, blue creates a sense of trust and security; red can indicate urgency and action. Choose your elements by considering what you want your clients to feel about you and your firm.
The ins and outs of good images
Avoid stereotypical legal images for your website and your logo – yes, this includes typical iStock gavels, scales of justice and generic photos of business people. Successful firms often use professional photography for photos of their staff and local landmarks – people will connect better with real photos rather than generic images.
Tips for building your brand:
- Personal branding is about authenticity, so be genuine in how you present your personality, working style, values, speciality and strengths. Clients want to know what the brand and the lawyer are the same.
- Create a bio with a personal spin: why you do your job, what you enjoy, what sets you apart. This personal touch makes it easier for people to remember you.
- Use social media to spread the word. Be active where legal professionals and prospective clients congregate. Use these platforms to share useful information, including articles or blog posts. Write about what interests you and what you know; you'll be more inclined to stick with it. Free, useful content is valuable to prospective and existing clients alike, who will perceive you as capable, knowledgeable and personable. And that's usually what people want their lawyers to be.
Ultimately, whether it's for an individual lawyer or a law firm, effective branding is consistent, relevant, distinctive and memorable.
About the author
Michelle Chun-Hoon is the marketing executive at Zaliet, which specialises in providing legal websites, www.zaliet.com
5 September 2017