Thursday, May 7, 2009

Identifying your brand and marketing it (click for podcast overview)

Okay so you have read blogs about what other firms are doing, maybe spoke with other marketing executives at other law firms, perhaps even hired a consultant to come in and do training. Now what?

There is a reason why training without an implementation plan is called “drive by” training. It comes at you fast and furious and you get a few points that you or the attorneys at your firm can use. The shelf life is a matter of a few days to a couple of weeks though if there isn’t a process or plan of use after it is all said and done.

When was the last time that you had a cross section of employees sit in a room and identify what is unique about your firm. Better yet, when was the last time you asked your clients what is unique about your firm and why they use your services?

Does your perception meet the reality? You may think that it is the amount of rated or ranked attorneys that you have, diversity, geographic footprint, relationships, personal service, and it may very well be. But what if your brand doesn’t match your firm.

As recent as a couple of years ago, the term “brand” hardly ever came up when discussing firms goals. It was important to have websites and brochures match in color. Maybe even a firm logo or slogan.

Your brand comes from:

How do you engage clients, prospective and existing?

What value do THEY see in using your services?

What is the common theme and culture that your firm delivers on?

The quality of work that is delivered.

What do you do better or more unique than other firms, and why is that so?

All of the rest of it is marketing. The websites, blogs, seminars, trade shows, tweets, Web 2.0, yellow page, etc. Those are all vehicles to deliver messaging, but more importantly begin to ask questions.

Pick up your yellow pages or do a web search in your local area. How many times do you flip through and see: Personal Injury, Criminal Law, Family Law. What is unique in any of the 100 plus pages, besides the ones closest to the front that got hoodwinked into buying yet another double truck ad in the 20th version of the local yellow pages? NOTHING.

Many times there is a disconnect between the real brand and how it is marketed.

First, avoid marketing jargon. You know who you are. Second, uniquely position your brand by asking questions that would lead others to either engage that as important to them or not.

Diversity may mean everything to one prospective client. How do you know if it’s not asked? A smaller firm where a client may get more personalized attention and reasonable bill rate may be more or less important than a firm with international offices and hundreds of offices.

Most importantly, are you asking questions to better understand your clients or do you assume that you know. The answers may shock you. It’s also the real brand that you have.

Market that and measure the results.

Andrew Wilcox,, 850-893-8984