Creating a strong brand for your legal practice is not dissimilar to branding for any other small business. However, there are some industry specifics that you should be aware of. Use this article as a checklist to help create your brand strategy.
So you’ve gathered some valuable experience as a legal intern, and now it’s time to venture out on your own. It goes without saying that the very first thing you should settle on is what practice area you want to specialize in.
Large law firms often employ a number of attorneys with different expertise; but for a new branding, the specific area of law you practice is the foundation of your brand and something that helps make a differentiation between you and some of the other legal practices.
Of course, a practice area is not enough to make your law firm’s brand stand out. Create a strong brand by following these steps.
Define your law firm’s brand
A common mistake that many budding businesses make (including legal service providers) is prioritizing marketing over branding. The reality that there can be no successful marketing without a clear brand strategy.
In other words, you know what and how you do your work, but why are you a lawyer? What is your unique take on practicing law? Most or all of your competitors will claim to be trustworthy and professional, but what is it that really sets you apart? Answering these questions will help you create your brand promise (or value proposition) and values (how you do business, with whom, for whom).
As an example, check out this Kyiv-based law firm called Pro et Contra. They have a very unique brand identity that’s centered around the personalization and humanization of legal services. From their color palette to humorous copy, they really took their own approach to law firm branding.
Of course, it’s clear that they might not be the ideal company lawyers, but when it comes to family law most of us would probably appreciate a kind and understanding lawyer over a corporate shark.
By Orchidea Agency, Artem Ivanov and Lera Shaposhnikova via Behance
Catering to a specific target audience can help boost brand recognition and increase your brand equity (the value of your brand based on how well it is known). An integral part of defining your brand is figuring out who your prospective clients are. And we’re not just talking about a specific practice area that automatically narrows down your target market. You also need to be clear about who you want to work with.
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For example, you might be a personal injury attorney whose mission is to help “the little guy” fight big corporations. Imagine, one day a prospective client approaches you with a case that sounds like a scheme to get a quick payout. You’re better off leaving this case to somebody else. A client like that may turn out to be just another check in the first instance, but will ultimately devalue your brand in the eyes of those target audiences that are most important to you.
Create a memorable logo
A new logo is at the heart of your branding strategy. When potential clients see a logotype, they shouldn’t just think of your firm name, but instead, everything that constitutes your brand: what you do, what is your mission, your values, etc.
Of course, there are several routes you can take in creating the perfect law firm logo design. Going with a simple wordmark is a timeless and safe choice, but it might come across as impersonal. Adding an abstract and visual element could work well with a tagline saying either what your practice or brand promise is.
Monograms are extremely popular in the legal industry and for good reason. They are simple, classy and easy to include on anything from letterheads to brand merch. Even better, this type of logo is great for all sorts of visual experiments.
Just take a look at this creative logo design from Mier Esperanza, a boutique law firm that specializes in corporate and business law. Their logo is a stylized monogram that also incorporates the number one to show that although they are hip and modern, these professionals know their trade.
By The branding people via Behance
Develop a visual identity and web design
When you know “who” your brand is, it’s time to decide what it will look like. There are several big decisions to make when creating your visual identity, including a color scheme and the typography that you will use for your brand. You may not think much of it at first, but remember that making an informed decision at this stage can prevent you from having to rebrand too soon. Choosing something that’s appropriate, appealing and in tune with your brand identity will ultimately help increase your brand equity.
How to go about this part of the branding process? A great way to get started is creating a mood board.
While some old-school lawyers might argue that in the legal industry nothing beats word of mouth or a business card given at the right moment. While referrals are undoubtedly important, the reality is that the vast majority of people today use Google search to find a legal service.
Just like any other website, your law firm’s website needs to be SEO friendly. Most importantly, this means using the right keywords, a responsive and user-friendly website.
But when it comes to web design, what are some good tips to follow? First, make sure to include the necessary web pages like “About us”, “Services” and “Contact”.
Next, adding a blog section or posting regular news updates such as press releases or updates on client services, will also help make your website search engine optimized. On a different level, however, it will show target clients visiting your web page that you are professional and up-to-date.
A great website to take inspiration from is the Polish law firm Rainka. The website design is stunningly elegant and simple, from classy typography and color palette to subtle bits of motion design that make the user experience more dynamic.
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However, what is particularly great about this web design is the different types of content and information you can find there. For each practice area, they included a list of specific client services. They also have a separate and detailed web page dedicated to each team member which adds the all-important personal touch to their law firm branding.
Finally, these trendy lawyers also have a blog section with various topics from the legal industry that are relevant to both fellow practitioners and potential clients. Regular blogging is not a great way to make your website search engine optimized, but also boost your content marketing efforts ( more on that in the next section).
Legal marketing best practices
Once you have your brand strategy and possibly a complete brand guide in place, it’s time to start developing your marketing plan.
Let’s start with content marketing. Using the right keywords on your website and offering useful information can help your website rank better in Google search results, but also help you get more leads and ultimately more prospective clients. Content marketing is now used by most companies, and this study shows that 70% of people would rather learn about a company from an article or blog post rather than a traditional ad.
Of course, social media is a hugely important part of your law firm’s marketing strategy. However, consider which social media profiles are worth your time and what sort of messaging should you employ. For example, LinkedIn is probably the most relevant channel for all legal professionals; however platforms like Facebook, Instagram or YouTube can be good for sharing content and connecting with potential clients.
When it comes to creating actual marketing materials, you should always relate back to your law firm’s brand. Use the same color scheme, brand voice and include your logo on all marketing assets. Apart from more traditional marketing materials like social media posts, email banners, flyers, you can also think of small branded gifts that you can give out to clients, like mugs, stationery or tote bags
By Ryan Romanes Studio via Behance
When creating social media marketing assets, don’t try to prioritize trends over your brand message. Of course, trends are important and you won’t be able to stand out on these visually saturated platforms with poor graphics. Still, it’s necessary to uphold a certain professional standard and keep your messaging clear and transparent.
This is probably true of almost anything, but in the legal industry in particular most people appreciate honesty over the bells and whistles of aggressive marketing.
By Elie Kupsc, Nathalie Colin and Abel Nadin via Behance
Why you need great law firm branding
We hope this guide hasn’t just been a useful source of information, but has also pointed to some of the key reasons why you need a strong brand for your law firm. To recap, a great new brand can help you:
- target the right clients; find the people you want to work with and can help;
- stand out from your competitors;
- uphold industry standards; finding the differentiators between you and your competitors is important, but you still need to be aware of best branding practices in the industry;
- focus your marketing efforts on the right clients and the right messaging.
Good branding is the law of good business. And as every good lawyer probably knows, the law is there to be followed, but also occasionally interpreted to help you achieve your goals.
The same goes for law firm branding. The branding process is a series of steps that starts with research and vision and ends with visual and other assets that speak in your unique brand voice. Remember that when it comes to creating your visual identity, you’ve got the perfect reliable partner.
Here at ManyPixels We have tons of experience creating stunning brands for all sorts of businesses and companies! Check out some of our branding projects and book a demo to find out more about our service.