What happens in those moments of decision? What is the thing that makes people choose Sprint over Verizon? State Farm over Nationwide? Ford over Chevy?

I believe it all comes down to branding.

Branding is a popular buzz word in marketing circles and for good reason.

Think about these three companies:

Nike, Coca-Cola, Honda.

Just reading these names probably elicited some sort of response from you. That response, whether positive or negative, is based on your experience with these products, or the experience of people you know. These brands, and your perception of them, are carefully cultivated over time through trust and consistency. When you reach for a Coca-Cola, you know you are going to get that taste and the carbonation hitting the back of your throat. When you get inside your Honda Accord, you know that car is going to get you where you need to go in safety and style. When you put on Nikes, you know you are going to be able to hit that home run or run that four-minute mile.

Ok, maybe that last one isn’t true, but I’m sure Nike wants you to think it is.

What does this have to do with legal marketing?

Your firm has a brand, whether you think it does or not. Your brand is your client’s perception of the services you provide. This brand can be positive or negative.  The more consistently you meet and exceed the expectations of your client, the stronger your brand will be.  On the other hand, if you fail to provide high levels of client service, your brand can be diminished.  For law firms, this means everyone needs to understand what level of client care is expected and how providing less than expected client care can impact the firm’s overall brand.

Everything your firm does contributes to your brand. What you do in the courtroom, what you do in the boardroom, and what happens in your firm’s reception area all contribute to your firm’s brand. In addition, your website, marketing materials, and social media pages contribute to your firm’s overall brand.

You have a brand. The choice is if you choose to cultivate it.

The first step in building that brand is cohesion.

I believe law firms should establish a cohesive firm-wide brand that incorporates the firm’s personality and its values. This brand should be reflected in your office space design and layout, your logo, website and any other marketing materials. It should also be carried out in your interactions with each other and with your clients. If you do this, you create a firm-wide brand and client experience.

Over the next several blogs I’m going to focus on how to hone in on your firm’s brand and how to get that message out to the world. So, this week spend some time thinking about the values that are most important to you or your firm. What do you want people to think about you and the services you deliver? Put it down on paper. It’s not enough simply to think about these things, we need to write them down so we can act upon them.

Next week we will look at how to coordinate the things you wrote down and incorporate them into the marketing of your firm. If you have any thoughts or branding success stories we’d love to hear them. Feel free to share them in the comments below.

Now get to writing!

Until next time.

Tea.

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