There are over 1.3 million practicing attorneys in the United States, and tens of thousands of law firms—which means that if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to positioning your firm for success. In the era of Google searches and lightning-fast first impressions, it’s crucial to convey who you are and what potential clients can expect from you at a glance.
Branding your firm is a smart way to visually set yourself apart, but to have an effective brand, you must first decide how to position your firm in the market.
The power of positioning
A brand strategy is defined by a positioning statement. This statement describes who your firm is today as well as how you want it to grow in the future. It also identifies the specific and unique attributes that only your firm delivers. Once you create and refine this statement, you can use it to create everything from visual assets to web copy.
To determine positioning your firm, think about your core values and how you express them in your practice. How do you communicate with clients and opposing counsel? Are you aggressive or compassionate? Traditional or modern? Do you seek innovative strategies or prefer to rely on tried-and-true arguments? The answers to these questions will help you pinpoint what your firm offers as compared to everyone else in your local market.
What kind of brand are you?
As you create your positioning statement and work with designers to brand your firm, you should consider whether you want to be perceived as a trusted, prestige or innovative brand. What’s the difference—and can you be all three?
Trusted brands make promises within their marketing campaigns, then deliver. Consider H&M’s “More fashion choices that are good for people, the planet and your wallet” slogan: this is an easily verifiable claim that makes their buyers feel like they’re making a wise and ethical choice by shopping with them. Trusted brands cast a wider net for clients and customers.
Prestige and luxury brands are designed to attract a specific type of customer: people who either are of a certain income level (or at least want to feel like they are) or social status. Brands like BMW and Louis Vuitton depend on the idea that not only are their products of the highest quality, but owning them is a status symbol. High-powered corporate law firms and other sectors that deal with extreme wealth may opt for this branding.
Finally, for an example of an innovative brand, look no further than Apple’s “Think different” campaign. Innovative brands promise their customers a new and better way to accomplish their goals, whether that’s creatively solving an intellectual property question or using the latest technology.
Firms who have a clear positioning statement will set themselves up for success: consistent, distinct messaging about your unique capabilities is the best way to stand out to potential clients. Evaluate your values, your vision and your target market to find your distinctive market position.