November 3, 2009 – When we think of branding, more often than not our mind wanders to images of Nike, Coca Cola, Burger King, and other products typically for sale in retail establishments, or we think of larger than life celebrity personalities that have turned their name into a brand such as Martha Stewart, Oprah, Donald Trump, and the like. We rarely think of a law firm when it comes to brands, but in order to build the reputation (both online and offline) of your firm, you need to create and promote your practice as a brand.
In order to begin to brand your law firm you need to be able to answer a few basic questions:
- Who are you?
- What areas of law do you specialize in?
- Why is your law firm better than all the other law firms that also focus on your specialty?
If you can’t answer these questions, you might need to reconsider why you are running a business to begin with, but when you answer them you need to honestly look at your practice. What are your strengths? What can your firm bring to the table that really sets you apart? Every business needs to honestly believe they are better and strive to do better than the other guys.
Once you have identified your strengths and carved out an identity for your firm you need to start marketing yourself to those strengths on our website, through social media, and in the mainstream media as well. Become an expert and market your services as such. Create a solid branding message that carries over between your website, social media, advertising and online marketing campaigns. Create your own tagline and use it in all your press releases as well as on your website and in your ads.
Brands work because they manage to combine consistency with innovation. Think about all of the commercials and print ads you’ve seen for a brand like McDonald’s. They include various campaigns, images, slogans, incentives, etc. but you always know what McDonald’s is and what they sell.
While you may never be as recognizable as McDonald’s, you can use successful brands as an example to look up to. Think about what image you want your law firm to project, think about keeping a consistent look and feel if you maintain more than 1 website, think about your web content, wording, messages, taglines, advertisements, and how they all need to work together to promote the brand that is your law firm.
What would McDonald’s do?
When a customer buys a brand they aren’t just buying a product, they are buying a name, and everything that name stands for and represents; when you think of it that way, lawyers and brands aren’t so different after all.
Creating a brand doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s important to focus on how the entire brand will come together when considering any marketing move, which means looking at the big picture as well as the specifics of each campaign and project.
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