Every law firm faces the exact same dilemma— how can your brand stand out when you’re perceived as offering the exact same services as your competitors?
Imagine that you’re attending a gala when you happen to notice a striking stranger standing alone by the bar. You’re feeling confident, you’re wearing your best outfit and you know you look good—so you take a step forward. But you’re not the only one. A dozen other competitors are hurrying toward this promising stranger, and worst of all every, single, one is wearing the exact same outfit as you, right down to the shoes.
Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. – Margaret Mead
It’s not easy to stand out as a law firm, amongst a crowd of competitors. Sure, you could ditch the formal wear, throw on a fancy hat, and a pair of roller-blades. You’ll attract attention, but not the sort that pays bills.
You could just play it safe, take note of your competitors’ marketing and try to match their pace. There are worse strategies than imitation, and indeed, there is plenty to be gained from adopting best branding practices. “Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery – it’s the sincerest form of learning,” notes George Bernard Shaw. Learn from the best, sure, but trying to copy them could leave you panting in the dust.
Law is, by nature, a traditional, even conservative practice, with roots as deep as civilization itself. Lawyers have to be able to link past precedents to tomorrow’s hearing. All of this means that law firms are temperamentally resistant to change and hesitant to stand out, lest difference be viewed as weaknesses.
Your law firm isn’t some hot, new tech start-up, and it shouldn’t try to market itself like one. There is no need to “disrupt” anything here. A law firm’s brand should seem stable, solid. Novelty isn’t the main value on offer, trust-inspiring capability is. You want your firm to be seen as experts, not outliers. But, you can’t be too set in your ways either: a dull brand won’t get you where you want to be. You still need to spark your prospect’s interest, remember?
What if it’s not about walking a tightrope between being boring or being crazy? What if it’s about either playing it safe or being original? The truth is that your brand should be unique because you and your firm are unique. Yes, your services may be similar to your competitors’ offerings, but your firm is composed of individual lawyers and staff, each with their distinct personality and area of expertise. Together, your team has its own particular dynamic, and the relationships you forge with your clients truly are irreplaceable. The key is to get to the heart of your firm’s identity.
Everything else, your logo, your website, the events you hold, stems from the answer to this one simple question: who are you? Answer this question honestly and with style and you’re no longer just one firm among many—you’re downright intriguing.
If you’d like to learn more about how your firm can make an impact, talk to one of fSquared Marketing’s branding experts today. For more insights into legal marketing follow this blog.
Lynn is a legal marketing and professional services consultant focused on growing revenue and brand awareness for her clients. She holds a dual concentration MBA in Finance & Communications and is as comfortable discussing profitability as she is client satisfaction.
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