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What Does Law Firm Branding Have To Do With Law Firm Marketing?

One of the greatest challenges lawyers face in building a law practice is time. I have yet to meet a lawyer or work with a law firm where time is not a scarce resource.  Billable hours, client demands, law firm management and administrative responsibilities are top priorities.   As a result, many lawyers question the value and need for defining a law firm brand. " What does branding have to do with law firm marketing? " To answer this question, I want to start with what branding is and is Not.

A brand is NOT just :
• a logo
• a tagline
• a web site
• Advertising
A brand IS:
• A promise and a commitment
An effective  law firm brand will communicate your uniqueness, express your  value, tell your story and create a memorable presence in your target  market. Your brand will not be for everyone.
A brand is a living entity – and it is enriched or undermined
cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures.
                                                                               –  Michael Eisner
A strong law firm brand will send the message about who you are and drive how you are perceived by the market and clients. Internally, it will set the agenda and create a common purpose behind your strategy.
Successful law firm marketing starts with exceptional value and service to clients. A common "brand promise and commitment" helps align everyone in the firm to deliver a consistent message and more importantly to provide a consistent level of service and value to clients.
In summary, your law firm brand has everything to do with marketing and is the foundation for an effective marketing strategy. Your brand should answer the following  questions:
1. What is your firm's value proposition?
2. How does your firm differentiate from other firms?
3. Who are you?
4. Who are your clients?
5. What is your firm's voice?
6. What is your firm's consistent message?
7. What is your firm's promise and commitment?
The answers to these questions will help you to leverage the synergy of your firm's expertise and talent. By clarifying and internalizing the answers to these questions, you will have the foundation for creating a marketing plan that produces extraordinary results.  On the other hand , if you begin your marketing plan without knowing the answers to these questions,  you may end up spending your valuable resources, including time, on a plan that produces average results.

Attracting Profitable Clients

continued success in a post recession market?
There are many approaches to building a successful law practice, however, for lawyers who want to leverage their core competency and attract profitable and desirable clients, it is essential to build a marketing plan that is based on clarifying who is your ideal client.
Knowing the answer to this question will help you to create:
Positive word of mouth marketing about your reputation. This comes from satisfied clients who trust you and believe that you understand and know how to solve their problems. Different clients require different solutions.  For example, in divorce, the over 50 client who has been in a long term marriage will require different resources than the young professional who has been married for  a few years.  If your target client is the over 50 audience, how are you exceeding their expectations in the services you deliver and the resources you provide?
Content that attracts the right client. Clients will respond to articles, web sites and blog posts that are relevant to them and their situation. Different clients will resonate with different messages.For example, if you are a Family Lawyer whose target audience is professional woman, write about the problems and challenges professional woman face in divorce. Include your articles and published papers on your LinkedIn profile, write a press release demonstrating your expertise.Writing relevant content that emphasizes your expertise and placing it in front of targeted clients(Web site, LInkedIn profile, blog, etc.) is one the best ways for attracting the right clients and referral sources.
 
Consistent and relevant top of mind awareness.  Many people are experiencing information overload, too much information and too many choices can distract prospective clients and referral sources from paying attention to your law practice. Clients and referral sources will respond to what is relevant and visible to them at the time they have a problem.  Think about when most people start paying attention to which Universities their children will attend, usually it is when their children are in their 11th or 12th year of high school. The same is true with clients who have legal needs.  For example, one of my clients is a criminal defense lawyer who experienced an increase in calls for theft  cases after he posted a blog on the consequences for retail  theft after black Friday. His message was visible and relevant to the clients he wanted to attract to his practice. Since you don’t know when your prospective clients or referral sources will have a problem you can solve, it is important to maintain consistent and targeted visibility.
You can create a successful marketing plan that attracts desirable and profitable clients by clarifying who your ideal client is and then building a plan that positions you as an expert at solving their most critical problems.
What is working for you? Are you attracting the "right" clients to your practice? If not, what is one thing you can do today to start building a thriving practice that attracts desirable and profitable clients?
Many times it is difficult to create a marketing plan on your own, contact me if you have questions or would like guidance on how to create your client-centered marketing plan.

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