Every fragment of your legal services are scrutinised by clients. And today, their views are now shared online in forums and on social media for all your prospects to see. This means that a small issue resulting in a disgruntled client, or positive experience resulting in a happy client is more likely to be shared publicly, going on to define your brand identity. Therefore, your brand is not what you tell your clients, it’s what they tell each other.
“Building a brand today is very different from building a brand 50 years ago. With the Internet connecting everyone together, companies are becoming more and more transparent whether they like it or not.”
Source: Tony Hsieh, Your Culture Is Your Brand
Even the smallest alteration to your firm’s services–such as slight differences in client meetings or phone calls with a non-lawyer specialists–will have a knock-on effect, leading to changes in client perception and ultimately, a change to your brand identity. So ensure all elements of your brand are in line with how you want your law firm to be perceived.
Language (internally and externally).
The language of a firm plays an essential part in a firm’s brand. How do you communicate within the firm? Is the language clear and concise, or do you use lengthy jargon? This makes a huge difference when communicating to potential clients—they need to be able to understand what you’re telling them, otherwise they’ll look elsewhere. The content you’re sharing needs to be relatable and in plain English. Small changes in the language you use will see your firm branded as user friendly and not over complicated.
Mission, Vision and Values.
Your firm’s mission, vision and values, are the key elements of your firm’s brand and should be developed before anything else. So, what is your firm’s mission and how does it add value to your target audience? Do your firm’s values give you credibility? We live in an age now where almost all firms are seen to be giving something back to the global community. Your firm’s mission, vision and values have to relate to potential clients; they can’t be the same as they were over 10 years ago. Corporate social responsibility is now a huge part of a law firms’ brand identity–something clients will look for before contacting you–but 10 years ago this wasn’t the case.
Visual identity is usually the first thing people think of when considering brand. This is because a brands visual identity is required for a brand to exist. Your firm’s visual identity is made up of the graphics, colour schemes and images used throughout marketing materials, websites and even your offices. Do you have a strong brand identity? If your client was to see a brochure using your visual branding, but without your logo, would they know it was from your firm? Your visual identity needs to be associated with your firm and consistent throughout all of your resources. If a prospect picks up your brochure (which they like the look of), but they visit your website and the branding is completely different, they’ll think they’re in the wrong place, or that your website is outdated–neither are a good outcome.
There are many ways to be present online, all of which contribute to your firm’s overall online presence. Your firm’s online presence isn’t just your website, it’s your business pages on social channels, your employees’ presences on LinkedIn, your client reviews on online forums, your online advertisements and your YouTube videos—any resource your firm shares or engages with online. Look to remove or update any pieces of content online which aren’t aligned with your current branding. If there is any negative feedback on forums or social media, make sure your firm is seen to acknowledge the issues raised and attempt to resolve them. Similarly, if anyone praises your firm, look to thank them for using your services. Your online content needs to stay relevant, and it’s important that you maintain engagement with clients to improve your firm’s brand identity.
Client perception impacts all elements of your brand. Therefore, it is vital that you know what your current clients and prospects think of your firm—that’s your brand! If they work with you because they think you’re very professional, but feel your communication efforts are lacking, then you need to improve on your interaction with clients. Or, they may think you have great communication efforts but feel that your firm doesn’t have great credibility. In this case you should look at ways to improve the credibility of your brand, which can be done through testimonials and social proof.
Small changes across each element of your brand are not insignificant. Each change impacts what your client’s say about your firm (positive or negative), thus changing your brand’s overall perception.
Your firm’s brand identity will continue to evolve. Consumer buying behaviour continues to shift and technology will advance beyond our imagination, so your firm’s brand needs to adapt. If you want to speak to our senior team about adapting your brand for future clients, get in touch.