Branding and Messaging Consulting for Law Firms
When many lawyers think about promoting their firm or the work of individual lawyers within the firm, they evaluate different ways of spreading the word. For example, they will consider whether they should network more, write more articles, give more speeches, or get more involved in social media.
Too often, however, law firms give short shrift to the content of the message. When you are dealing with members of the general public, you might be able to get by with a message that you are aggressive. A well-designed website showing scary pictures of people in handcuffs and close-ups of police cars might be enough to get a visitor to a website to pick up the phone and call the firm.
But when the client is a sophisticated consumer of legal services, clichés don’t work. You won’t convince the Assistant General Counsel for Litigation to retain your firm because your website says that your firm, unlike larger firms, is more responsive. Likewise it isn’t enough for a boutique firm to highlight that is has fewer associates and lower rates that its larger counterparts. And you won’t get very far just by touting the academic credentials of your partners. Countless law firms employ partners who went to highly ranked colleges, universities, or law schools. For firms that serve the business community and other sophisticated clients, these kinds of messages are flimsy and forgettable.
It would be comforting to provide a pat answer; to say that certain messages always work. But the market is too dynamic for such a simplistic approach. Our overwhelming experience is that the more specifically a law firm can convey that it’s expertise specifically matches the needs of a potential client, the more likely the firm is to get an audience with that potential client. Simply stated, specificity sells.
We also know that anonymity is the enemy. The more personal the connection and the manner in which the message is conveyed, the more effective it is likely to be. Thus, much of the work we do for clients involves helping them get beyond the superficial and deliver a message that shows that the firm understands the client‘s business. Likewise, we make every effort to ensure that the message is delivered in a memorable and personal manner.
Branding and Messaging Case Studies:
Helping a Collections Law Firm Attract Better Clients
A collections law firm was growing slowly through a combination of leads from its website and networking with other lawyers. The average lead from attorneys dwarfed the leads generated by the website. Our strategy was to create a more focused message for lawyers and other potential referral sources. Specifically we worked with the firm to catalog their extensive experience representing manufacturers in disputes with other business. These tended to be the largest and most profitable cases. The firm’s expertise in manufacturing was highlighted in PowerPoint slides and other marketing materials. Within six months, the average size of the firm’s collections matters increased by more than a third.
Creating a Brand for an Entertainment Lawyer
Robert Pafundi is one of the leading lawyers in a narrow niche—representing children in Hollywood both in negotiating deals and entertainment-related litigation. In addition to being a lawyer, he has also been the owner of a talent agency that specializes in placing children. And Robert’s expertise includes a range of issues that aren’t directly related to his role as a lawyer, including, for example, protecting celebrity children from paparazzi. After meeting with Robert, it became clear that his law firm wasn’t broad enough to capture his expertise. So we worked together to test various potential brands that conveyed not what Robert did, but what he stood for. That brand, which also became the title of the book Robert authored, is Safe Stardom.
Obviously writing a book is not something every lawyer needs to do. But it is an example of how, in today’s competitive legal market place, it is critical to establish a presence that causes clients and potential clients and the media to ask for you by name. That is the goal we have with every branding and messaging client.