Crafting a great tagline for your law firm is tricky business. How can you convey the specialized work that your lawyers do in a handful of words? Boilerplate taglines aren’t worth the ink and bad ones are the stuff of internet memes. But, when implemented correctly, a tagline can be just what your firm needs to stand out.
The best taglines are simple, clever, and, above all, sticky. They become an inseparable part of the product or experience. Skeptical? Spend a weekend on Las Vegas’ glittering strip and count how often you overhear the phrase “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Or lace up that pair of Nike runners, go on, just do it.
For us in the legal marketing industry, these concise strings of copy are an inspiration to do more with less. Here are 6 taglines that do a great job of conveying a message.
1. Gowling WLG: “When Your Business Crosses The Globe, So Should Your Law Firm.”
The Tagline: Playing on the world stage? You’ll want a law firm that can match your stride. This tagline combines a compliment (your business is a global leader), with a bit of subtle self-praise (us too). With 1,400 professionals delivering legal services to 19 cities, Gowling WLG can rightfully claim an international presence. Any business trying to navigate the complexities of national and international law will quickly appreciate the advantage of partnering with a firm that extends from Montreal to Monaco.
First, this tagline identifies the firm’s ideal client, then it makes a case for why Gowling WLG is the right fit. But this is more than a purely logical argument. It is also an emotional tug on client pride.
The Takeaway: Flattery can easily ring false, but this works when the firm’s clients truly can claim the mantle of global leaders. Similarly, the tacit brag is effective here because Gowling WLG has the clout to pull off the swagger. The lesson for law firms? Match claims to capabilities.
2. State Farm Insurance: “Like A Good Neighbor, State Farm Is There”
Fun Fact: Barry Manilow sang the original jingle for a flat fee of $500.
The Tagline: Since 1971, this 95-year-old insurance company has used this line and it’s still effective. In just 8 words, State Farm conveys a sense of trust, community, and personal service. While they’ve recently been moving to refresh their brand with “Here to help life go right”, State Farm Insurance will remain synonymous with the Good Neighbour slogan for years to come, and that’s a good thing.
The Takeaway: This message is effective because it’s all about the customer. Too often, law firms fixate on their own excellence and forget about client-service. Fancy titles and recognitions may impress a rival, but these may hold little significance for clients. This tagline is a good reminder that, at the end of the day, clients are looking for someone they can depend on when things don’t go according to plan.
3. FedEx: “When It Absolutely, Positively, Has to Be There Overnight”
The Tagline: Forgot your wedding ring at home? This tagline reassures you that your package will arrive in time for the big day. The message is simple. Best of all, it’s a guarantee. Alongside other smart business practices, this 1982 tagline helped FedEx become the largest express transportation in the world by the early 90’s.
The Takeaway: Clients want to see results far more than they want to see your resume and credentials. FedEx’s slogan wouldn’t have made half the impression on customers if they had gone with “We Employ the Very Best Drivers and Most Professional Delivery Men”. When developing your messaging, ask yourself: exactly what problems do we solve?
4. TSMP Law Corporation: “Not All Sharks Are Cold Blooded”
The Tagline: It seems like this boutique Singapore law firm couldn’t decide on one tagline. Their website’s homepage also includes a great shot of the team with the line Business Champions. Another with just the women lawyers proudly proclaims Girl Power. But let’s stick with the sharks for a moment. This takes an old joke about lawyers and spins it around. (And really, who wouldn’t want a shark in their corner?) The spirit of this quirky line extends throughout the firm’s website. From the homepage to the eye-catching lawyer bios, you get a sense that these are genuine individuals and, with a Legal 500 ranking (Asia Pacific Leading Firm 2017), you also know that these sharks make a great team.
The Takeaway: Most law firms adopt a button-up approach to branding. No doubt this is an attempt to seem professional and distance a firm’s lawyers from the schlocky personal injuries ads of late night television and bus-stop benches. But law firm branding doesn’t have to be boring. This tagline should inspire law firms to consider loosening the tie and cracking a smile. Clients may just smile back.
5. Apple: “Think Different”
The Tagline: “Think Different” was created in 1997, way before the iPad, iPod, and even before those candy-coloured iMacs. The campaign launched with a commercial called “To the crazy ones” and no significant new products. It hardly mattered. Apple immediately felt the boost. Within 12 months, Apple’s stock price tripled. This tagline positioned Apple users as creative iconoclasts. And it gave all the Apple users a reason to feel superior to PC users. (To be clear, here at fSquared Marketing we use both PC and Apple computers and we find PC users every bit as interesting).
The Takeaway: What makes this simple tagline such a gem is how well it applies to both Apple computers and Apple customers. Both, the tagline implies, think differently. Which makes them on the same team, a rebel alliance between brand, consumer, and computer. Where competitors focused on the product (“Think IBM”), Apple had a slogan that focused on the user and on the experience. This clever positioning helped the company to move from second-rate straggler to industry leader. The lesson for law firms? If you can make your clients feel like they’re creating the future then they’ll happily stick with your firm for years to come.
6. Oyen Wiggs: “Protecting Innovation”
The Tagline: Western Canada’s largest independent IP firm, Oyen Wiggs knows how to safeguard their clients’ good ideas and clever inventions. As Above the Law noted in their ranking of leading Northwest Firms, “Whatever your patent needs, this firm can handle them.” When we were rebranding Oyen Wiggs and designing their website, we knew that the firm needed an authentic tagline to match their new look. From this core message, we’ve developed other messaging for advertising and branded content.
The Takeaway: Oyen Wiggs’ tagline does three things in just two words. It lets you know right away what the firm’s specialty is. It assures you of their commitment and expertise. And most importantly, it puts the emphasis on the innovative work that their clients are doing.
How essential are law firm taglines?
The truth is, it’s much easier for a specialist firm like Oyen Wiggs to stand out than a general practice. If your law firm has a particular focus, then yes, by all means, create a snappy, targeted message that drives the point home. But if your firm does everything from divorce law to business litigation it’s going to be a little harder to articulate your unique value in one pithy line.
Here are five, randomly selected, law firm slogans:
- Ryley Carlock & Applewhite: The Business of Solutions (R)
- Fisher & Phillips: Solutions at Work (R)
- Spector Gadon & Rosen: Practicing the Art of Law
- Lewis Wagner: Skilled Advocacy. Practical Solutions. (TM)
- Arent Fox: Smart in your world (R)
We’re smart, we do good work, we deliver solutions…there are only so many ways to put this message on a business card. If your tagline applies just as well to the firm around the block you might consider going without. Don’t worry, not having a tagline doesn’t mean that you have nothing to say. There are plenty of other ways to convey value to your clients. Rather than tell clients what makes your firm special, you could show them with high-quality photography, case studies, and testimonials. Clients may yawn at a tired line, but they are likely to appreciate an insightful article.
My own view is that taglines can be an extremely cost-effective part of a firm’s marketing toolkit. That doesn’t mean you need bumper stickers and billboards. Your tagline might be better suited to your email signature or subtly worked into your website and LinkedIn presence. For some firms, a tagline is a way to connect with a particular type of client and to let them know that they’ve come to the right place.
If you’re looking for more branding and content strategies for your law firm, we can help you to get started.