Branding isn't a word that gets most lawyers excited. You may think of boring marketing meetings and What may surprise you is that building your brand, when you do it in an authentic way, can not only help your bottom line—it can help you find your identity as a firm. In this guide, we'll explore seven different ways that you can build not just a brand, but a brand that is differentiated from your competition and that helps inspire pride in your organization.
#1: Don't Just Tell People Who You Are—Show Them
Online content is like any other written or visual content—it's better to show than to tell. Instead of just telling people about your qualifications and the numbers of your practice, try telling stories instead. Narratives can make a huge difference in how people perceive your firm. The right narrative can make you look compassionate, interesting, and like a better deal than your competitors.
Consider having a brainstorming meeting with your staff to think about the best stories that come from your firm—the ones that seem to you to be the stories that best illustrate your biggest strengths. Understanding your firm's stories and sharing them with the world can make it much easier for your entire organization to understand where your branding is coming from. This in turn makes it more likely that your staff can perpetuate your brand image in both the online and offline worlds.
#2: Don't Bore Your Fans and Friends
People read what interests them. Sometimes, that's a social media post—but if your social media posts look like they're all the same, if you have the same few things you post about all the time, you're going to get awfully boring, awfully quickly. Vary up what you say on social media channels so that people don't get bored stiff within weeks of subscribing to your content.
You should also avoid posting too much, for this same reason. Even if your posts are really phenomenal, odds are that people don't want you to monopolize their social content feeds. You'll be more well regarded if you keep your posts regular but not too frequent.
#3: Different Audiences, Same Core Message
Even though LinkedIn and Facebook, for example, are very different places to post social media content, that doesn't mean your message shouldn't be similar. Recognize that different audiences should hear the same basic brand behind your message, even if you're communicating that message differently to people with different levels of understanding of the legal issues involved with your practice.
Make sure that even if your content is fairly different, that at its core it projects the same values. You don't want to pitch a new, zany law firm with your Facebook posts and try to seem staid and old-fashioned on LinkedIn. That's not the kind of audience adaptability that gets you new clients—just the kind that dilutes your brand and makes your staff unsure of how to position themselves in relation to your brand.
#4: Explore Who People Think You Are
When trying to decide on your own branding initiatives online, consider asking former clients about their experiences and seeing what they have to say. Understanding what other people say about you can be as important as knowing what you want to say about yourself.
Ideally, your brand vision should incorporate these things that you find out through your clients, as well as the things you think about yourselves. Some of the stories you hear from clients may become great client testimonials, which you can use as content on social media websites or on your law firm website.
#5: Build Long Term Loyalty
The best clients are the ones who become yours for life. You don't just want a little bit of short term brand loyalty when you're working for a law firm. You need to work on the kind of excellent social media responsiveness that makes people talk and makes them remember—not just for a few weeks or months.
When you give truly exceptional customer service, you can generate not just viral buzz but also long-term relationships with individual clients. Keep in mind that every time you respond on social media, you're potentially making an impression that could lead to a long term attorney/client relationship. Long relationships are now one of the biggest buzzwords in social media, and cultivating loyalty is both one of the most difficult and also the most rewarding things you can do for your brand image. A loyal client will not just come to your law firm, but will recommend other people do so as well.
#6: Stay Focused on Your Goals
Once you have your brand identity, remember to keep your vision. While it's fine to incorporate great ideas from competitors, make sure that you don't give in to the temptation to do things just like a competitor who is doing well. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it's also a bad way to differentiate yourself.
Periodically, you should consider talking to a small team in your staff about whether your brand needs to be changed and whether your visionary is doing what it needs to. However, don't second-guess yourself too often, and don't change your brand image so often that it feels like whiplash to your clients.
#7: Pay Attention to Client Concerns
It's absolutely critical to listen to what your clients are saying about your brand. Even if your clients are saying negative things and the buzz about you isn't what you want—you still want to know what they're saying. It doesn't help to put your head into the sand. In fact, if you are responsive to what people say about their concerns, you can actually turn a negative into positive. Too often, people are used to being ignored. If you show that you honestly do care, you can sometimes create a loyal client.