Law firm marketing: How do we identify our law firm brand?
For a start, it’s a lot more than just your logo. A logo is important, and plenty of people could do with a better one, but this cute bit of graphic art is just one small part of what constitutes a law firm’s brand. And brand is in turn just one part of law firm marketing.
Your brand is really the business equivalent of an individual’s reputation. What your clients, your business associates, prospective employees and even your competitors think when they see your logo or your correspondence or one of your ads is your true “brand”.
In some later law firm marketing articles I’ll talk more about how your brand is “seen”, the advantages of profile raising and reinforcing the positive aspects of your brand but for now let’s consider how you get to know your brand and how it fits within the marketplace.
A few of the questions you might ask include:
- Are our fees considered “high-end”, “middle of the pack” or “cut-price”?
- Are we accessible or hard to get hold of?
- Are we working for the average guy, Mums & Dads, SME’s or Corporates?
- Are our premises a bit dated, just comfortable or glamorous?
- Are we on top of our file progress or are clients always chasing us for action?
- Do we expect payment upfront, via Legal Aid or on terms suitable to business?
- Do you work alone or are you the biggest show in town?
There are no right or wrong answers here. What you want is a enough information to create a succinct, explainable statement of your firm’s reputation or brand. Some simple examples include:
- We are a well respected, long established, business & property focussed firm providing high levels of quality and service to local SME’s and family owned enterprises.
- We are new to town with our high volume, niche practice dedicated to providing effective and efficient conveyancing to clients who want the job done for the best price.
- We are a niche practice within a large corporate firm with an industry leading reputation for getting projects done on time and within client’s expectations.
The possibilities are endless – but remember this important rule. You can’t be sure you know what your firm brand is simply by viewing it from the inside! Successful law firm marketing means communicating effectively with your potential clients so you must understand how they see your firm and its brand.
You might have noticed I didn’t say these are the questions you need to ask yourself? By all means you should seek feedback from your existing staff and owners, especially new recruits, but you should also seek out those people who have an opinion on your brand from the outside.
To get to the truth about your existing brand you might consider:
- An internal staff survey – sometimes this might need to be anonymous to get the real “truths”.
- An informal survey of some of your best clients
- A formal survey program of existing clients and matters
- A focus group with your best referral sources or trusted business associates
Remember, when you’re asking questions about your brand – be prepared to listen to the good as well as the bad. Bad news can be just as valuable to your law firm marketing program as good news.
Companies like Telstra, Coca Cola and Mercedes Benz spend billions of dollars each year measuring, adjusting and reinforcing their brands. For your firm your brand is just as important as it is to these brand behemoths but you can measure, adjust and reinforce your brand for surprisingly little outlay if you take a clear and direct approach.
Getting to understand your firm’s existing brand is just the first step.