14 Tips for Better Branding
A list of 14 helpful tips on how to build a stronger brand for your law firm. The list ranges from how to take advantage of the tools you currently have to using basic principles of sound design.
1. Consistency matters
Across all media your brand needs to have a consistent way of expressing the firm’s strategy through each touchpoint of the brand.
2. Time—and timing—matters
Building your brand takes time, so dig in for the long haul.
3. Context matters
You wouldn’t place a 500-word litigation best practices ad in an airport diorama, nor would you send out a 3,500-word tome as an email alert. And no one will sit through a 30-second pre-roll ad in order to watch a 45-second video clip. Be aware of what each format and communication is implicitly designed to deliver.
4. Design matters
Present information in a unique and compelling manner that rises above the visual clutter and sameness. Don’t be afraid to be bold. Get noticed by insuring your firm radiates a personality. Recent examples that come to mind include Bingham, Foley Hoag, Choate, O’Melveny and Quinn Emanuel.
5. Research matters
Don’t make assumptions about your clients’ perceptions of the firm. Analyze yourself and your competition. Conduct interviews and research to insure brand is responsive to facts.
6. Simplicity and focus
The most memorable brands feature simple, clean and unique components and messages. Do all of your attorneys know their elevator pitch? “The dilemma of a company moving downmarket reminds one of the dilemma faced by the copywriter who said, ‘I would have written less had I had more time.’ — Martin Calle
7. Face your weaknesses
Continually learn about what less-than-positive aspects of the firm’s practices, reputation, policies and people may be hurting you and take steps to negate their impact.
8. When times get tough, ratchet up, not down
Focus on education, training, mentoring and coaches.
9. In a down market, create communications that add value to the client’s experience
Instead of sending yet another brochure to your labor and employment clients on how experienced and knowledgeable the firm is, send out a vest pocket “10 Things You Should Know Before You Fire Someone” laminated card that she or he can keep in their desk. Brand it in a consistent and thoughtful manner. Be of service.
10. Don’t let your brand get away from you
Perform weekly searches on Google, The Vault and the other major search engines. Read what others are saying about you—especially the bloggers!
11. SEO and SEM
Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are increasingly crucial to growing your brand and targeting clients. Develop search-friendly best practices on your websites. Over 60% of web visitors enter pages on your site through search. Partner with expert providers to ensure you have best practices in place.
12. Your brand is social and emotional
Create a “chief social officer”—someone who understands and can create value for your firm outside of your firm’s site in places like Facebook, Twitter, and the ever-expanding Web 2.0 sphere.
13. Make sure your firm has a comprehensive brand style guide
It serves as a playbook that codifies all graphics, image, font, grid, publication and messaging standards. People come and go, but your style guide serves as a standard.
14. Be cautious of stock photography
If you use it, always license “rights-managed” images—avoid using royalty-free. What happens when your next ad campaign features a stock photo on the back cover of a legal magazine and, in the same issue, the same photo turns up in a different firm’s ad? True story.