There is a misconception that a brand is a logo combined with a colour scheme. It is not. A brand is so much more than this. It is the essence of a law firm – it is your look, feel and personality. What’s more, your brand is the perception that others have of your firm.
Wikipedia defines ‘brand’ as:
A toolbox of marketing and communication methods that help to distinguish a company from competitors and create a lasting impression in the minds of customers. The key components that form a brand’s toolbox include a brand’s identity, brand communication, brand awareness, brand loyalty and various branding strategies.
The words that you need to focus on are ‘distinguish a company [firm] from competitors and create a lasting impression in the mind of customers [clients]’.
Let’s examine those two points in more detail.
Distinguish a company [firm] from competitors
Every law firm is unique and part of the challenge is to convey this and to distinguish your firm from ‘all the rest’. You have many tools in your armoury that you can use to achieve this objective – your logo, your colour scheme, your vision, your tone of voice, your values and so on. And yet, so many law firms look the same, say the same things and claim to be unique and then use the same language as the law firm in the next street to describe ‘how’ they are different.
Lee Grunnell from Thirteen has undertaken some research into law firms and their values and how they describe themselves. In short 90% of what law firms say about themselves is the same as every other law firm! I highly recommend you look at some of the very helpful papers and articles that Lee has written on the subject.
Create a lasting impression in the minds of customers [clients]
How do you think you as a person are perceived? How would your work colleagues describe you? How would this differ if your friends were asked to describe you?
I would hope that the ‘core’ of how both your friends and your work colleagues describe you is the same – “he/she is really nice, friendly, interesting, helpful ….” etc., but the language they use around the ‘edges’ may differ. So, my friends may say, “I’m a reliable friend whose good company and always on hand when needed”; whereas my colleagues may say “she’s a reliable, hard-working colleague who is willing to roll her sleeves up to help get things done”.
The essence of what they are saying is the same … I’m a decent person who is around for others.
Can you say the same about the experiences your clients have when they have different interactions with your firm? Will they get the ‘same’ impression of the personality and values of your firm when they phone up the switchboard, turn up at one of your offices for a meeting, visit your website, receive an email or letter, get sent an invoice etc.?
These touch points create the impression that your clients have of your brand – your firm. You need to deliver these experiences consistently and in accordance with your stated ‘personality’.