Tag: Legal branding

Law Firm Branding vs. Lawyer Branding
Legal Branding

Law Firm Branding vs. Lawyer Branding

Within a law firm, there may be many brands. You have the firm brand that represents the entire organization. There are also lawyer or personal brands. It can be a challenge to balance these brands.

Legal Branding

Legal Branding

A brand does not describe WHAT you do. Instead, a brand highlights WHY and HOW you serve your clients. Legal branding differentiates lawyers and law firms from each other by highlighting differences in culture and outlook.

What is a Law Firm Brand?

What is a Law Firm Brand?

A law firm’s brand covers the entire organization. It is the public image and identity of the firm. This brand reflects the values and culture of the law firm.

A law firm brand is expressed through graphic design, including colors, logos and formatting. A firm’s branded content also has a consistent voice and message.

What is a Personal Brand?

What is a Personal Brand?

Many lawyers have their own personal brand. A personal brand is built on the lawyer’s (rather than the law firm’s) personality and reputation.

This brand can be based on a variety of factors, including:

  • Community and political involvement
  • A dedicated personal client base
  • Involvement in high-profile litigation
  • Leadership roles in professional organizations.

Personal brands are valuable to both the lawyer and the law firm.

Unfortunately, personal brands are portable and can cause conflict. If a lawyer leaves a firm, his brand goes with him. Or, a lawyer’s brand may diverge from the firm’s message and identity.

How to Use Law Firm and Personal Brands

Sometimes clients hire the lawyer, not the law firm. (And, vice versa.) Your marketing strategy should accommodate both law firm and personal brands.

A lawyer’s brand can seem bigger than the law firm’s brand. This can happen when the personal brand covers:

  • An iconic founding partner
  • A recognized rainmaker
  • A public figure, such as a politician or philanthropist.

Your lawyers are not the same and they bring different strengths to your firm. You can highlight these by allowing internal differentiation. Allow for flexibility within the firm’s brand.

Personal Brands and Legal Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are subsets of your client base. They have different goals, perspectives and needs. (For more information, see our article on buyer personas.) Your law firm can appeal to different buyer personas through personal brands.

Consider these two buyer personas:

  • John (age 30) was in a car accident. He was a software engineer at a large company, but he is now off on medical leave. John is married with two kids. He suffers from depression. The thought of litigation is overwhelming.
  • Marta (age 45) lost her husband in a car accident. Another driver was at fault. She is a trauma nurse and is taking time off to grieve. Marta is angry. She expects a large settlement for her pain and suffering.

While a good lawyer could represent both clients, John and Marta may be drawn to different personal brands. John may choose an attorney who seems patient and compassionate. Marta may want the brashest rainmaker she can find.

Using Blogs and Social Media to Build Personal Brands

Using Blogs and Social Media to Build Personal Brands

Lawyers can build their personal brands through blogs and social media. Blog posts and social media can give clients insight into a lawyer’s personality and legal perspective. A regularly updated blog or feed also can build trust with potential clients.

But, a lawyer’s blog or social media feed must still follow the firm brand. A lawyer’s content should not conflict the firm’s brand and must stay professional. You should also use consistent design elements (color, photographs and logos).

Your law firm may want to create social media guidelines or a digital code of conduct. Remind your lawyers that social media posts and blogs must meet your state bar’s ethical standards. (For more information, see our article on law firms and social media.)

How to Fix Conflicting Brands

When you have big personalities (and therefore big brands), conflict is bound to happen. A lawyer may use his own photographs and colors scheme, or refuse to use a firm logo.

As a lawyer, you are trained in dispute resolution. Use those skills! Many times, compromises can be made. But, if you cannot agree, it may be time to hire a branding consultant.

It is possible that the law firm (or the personal brand) is overly defined and rigid. A branding professional can help you re-brand the lawyer or firm, allowing both brands to flourish.

Use Buyer Personas to Get Better Legal Clients
Legal Branding

Use Buyer Personas to Get Better Legal Clients

Lawyers know their clients, right?

Lawyers think about their clients every day. You understand their daily challenges. You guide them through complicated legal processes. You celebrate their successes and victories. But, do you ever see your clients as buyer personas?

In today’s competitive legal market, lawyers and law firms need to think strategically about client marketing. Buyer personas can bring your law firm the best possible clients.

What is a buyer persona?

Marketers build “buyer personas” when developing a marketing or branding strategy. A buyer persona describes part of your client base and helps you create targeted marketing messages.

Each of your law firm’s buyer personas has different goals and perspectives. A message that convinces a father of a disabled child to hire you for an SSI appeal may differ from than that of a business professional facing a drunk driving charge. Your marketing plan for these two personas should be different.

Your client base contains multiple buyer personas. You need to understand who they are. Once you identify your firm’s personas, you can create branded messages that speak to them.

How to Identify Law Firm Buyer Personas

How to Identify Law Firm Buyer Personas

Since you work closely with your clients, it should not be difficult to identify your firm’s buyer personas. It does, however, take some time.

First, go through your law firm files, and build demographic profiles. Use the data you already have to spot trends.

  • Do you clients tend to be men or women?
  • What are the average ages?
  • What are their average incomes and educational backgrounds?
  • Why did your clients hire you, and not your competition?

Your intake interviews probably contain a lot of this information.

You should also consider who you want your clients to be. Do you want higher income clients? Do you want to expand a practice area? Or, do you want to extend your law firm’s geographic reach? You will create profiles for these desired clients too.

Finally, you need to do market research. If your intake interviews are lacking information, ask your clients for more information. You can send a client survey, or perform a follow-up interview.

You will also want to evaluate your competitors. Examine their marketing materials. Do other law firms target different buyer personas?

What Does a Buyer Persona Look Like?

What Does a Buyer Persona Look Like

Next, build profiles that summarize your client demographics. Your buyer personas may resemble these:

  • Name: J.Q. Public
  • Average Age: 45
  • Job: Skilled laborer/electrician, union steward
  • Goals: Resolve workers’ compensation dispute and protect financial stability.
  • Fears: Losing home and other assets, not getting back to work, tension at home.
  • Attitudes: Not tech savvy, but okay with email. Prefers face-to-face meetings. Experienced with union negotiations and basic employment law.
  • Name: Marta Smith
  • Average Age: 60
  • Job: College Professor
  • Goals: Needs help with estate planning.
  • Fears: End-of-life expenses.
  • Attitudes: Travels often for research. Prefers email and video conferencing. Likes long-form explanations.

Again, your law firm should always have more than one buyer persona.

How to Use Buyer Personas in Law Firm Branding

Now that you have buyer personas, both for your current and desired client base, apply them to your marketing strategy. Think about how you have successfully marketed to a buyer persona in the past. Build a strategy that speaks specifically to each persona.

A marketing strategy for J.Q. Public may include:

  • Both digital and printed workers’ compensation brochures.
  • Discussion of your ties to labor unions.
  • A targeted email campaign about workers’ rights.
  • Offers to run free workers’ compensation and FMLA training sessions at union steward meetings.
  • In-house family law and bankruptcy referrals.

In comparison, Marta Smith’s marketing may involve:

  • A detailed estate planning blog.
  • An electronic client portal, allowing easy access to documents and information.
  • E-books and downloadable forms.

Modern marketing focuses on building a buyer’s trust and confidence. By using buyer personas, law firms can convey expertise, and help build that trust.

Do You Need Marketing Help?

Do You Need Marketing Help?

Lawyers’ time is valuable. Many law firms do not have the time or resources to handle their own branding and marketing. If you need help, contact an experienced professional.