Invariably in our work with law firms, they’re super keen to gloss over brand and get to marketing tactics. But it’s a big mistake! Great brand work and positioning anchor a law firm and without it you’ll always float from one thing to another without ever really understanding who your firm really is and more importantly, the space it holds in the mind of your legal consumers.
Don’t make the same mistake! Get the brand right!
What’s the Story?
A great starting point is to understand the evolution of your law firm’s brand thus far. Regardless of your firm’s size, there’s a story that started with an intent to start a firm for a specific reason. Often there lies a very important anchor that needs to be pulled up. In our work with a law firm recently, the intent of the founder of the practice was to bring strong expertise and experience to a regional location.
Sure, we get that most firms want to do quality work, but this founder took it one step further and focussed on a clearly defined niche in the market for superior quality legal services. In the context of brand archetypes, which we talk often about, this firm was “royalty.” Consequently, like most great brands it repelled plenty and attracted plenty. But the message here is that buried under 20 years was the brand essence, that got lost a little along the way and it was time to resuscitate it.
Shine Lawyers believe in the importance of the brand and its impact on culture. At various intervals, throughout the year they take new recruits up the hill to Toowoomba where the firm started, and share the stories driving from iconic location to iconic location.
Nothing beats a brand proposition to anchor a brand! It not only keeps on reinforcing the brand to legal consumers, but it does the same for your internal ambassadors (your people). Nothing derails a brand more than its people not understanding the “why” behind your firm.
Shine Lawyers nailed it with their war cry, “right wrong.” In two words you know what the brand is and what it stands for.
That said, trying to get a partner group over the line with a proposition isn’t for the faint-hearted and in my work, there are those occasions that despite the best efforts, you just can’t get there. In those circumstances, it’s all about building the brand assets to assert the unspoken proposition.
Reasons to Believe
In working with Queensland’s largest family law firm for over 10 years, distilling the brand values was imperative and has proved invaluable. It allows us and the firm when crafting new designs or marketing collateral to always be on-brand. Simply put, because if you don’t, brand values get lost, new values replace them and before you know it, the brand has chartered off-course. In relation to this particular practice, creating value statements and embedding them on awesome photography throughout the firm and on internal marketing collateral, keeps the values breathing.
Nothing like a law firm with a personality! We’ve recently started work with a dynamic metropolitan practice made up of all women. The personality is so vibrant. The challenge and the opportunity are to build the assets in such a way that the personality is alive and centre. For example, there’s a real quirkiness to this firm, so in the design work, we’re trying to illuminate that facet of their personality.
This aspect touches on a very important, often overlooked piece of the brand, it’s behaviour. How does the brand behave?
The Strategic Pillars
Having a sense of the roadmap ahead is crucial. If a firm is looking to grow market share in one practice vertical in Q1 next year what does that look like from a brand perspective? Similarly, if in 2024, a strategic priority of the firm is to introduce another practice area into the mix, how does that tug on the brand.
Long story short, if you’re serious about growing your law firm, always, always start with the brand! Getting this right will save you plenty of headaches and endless introspection about whether or not what you’re doing or not doing is right for your firm.
Lost in the quagmire? We can help your law firm with brand strategy and every piece of the puzzle that follows!