Is a law firm a cohesive brand or a band of individuals?
Having launched a few law firms over the years, we’ve observed that it’s clear there’s a fundamental struggle between the notion of a law firm as an over-arching brand or merely an assembly of independents. There is no definitive answer, but the reality is that it’s much harder to build a brand for a large firm that lacks a single character or focus, compared to a boutique firm with an area of specialty. Smaller firms are on much more solid ground projecting a united front, because they are more of a social unit, versus a larger, more corporate enterprise. That’s why we make it our business to talk to every lawyer in a firm, not just the partners. The partners choose their colleagues for a reason, and a singular philosophy or approach can be adopted across the firm.
WHAT’S THE MESSAGE?
IT HAS TO BE UNCOVERED, NOT INVENTED.
For any brand to be effective, it has to be organic. It can’t be grafted on to the operations; it has to be integral to the way the firm works. That’s our job to dig into a firm’s working style to determine what differentiates the firm from the others in its competitive sphere. Once that’s identified, a brand starts to take shape, one that reinforces existing impressions of the individual lawyers and the firm as a whole. That’s the key – our highly collaborative branding process ensures that the brand is defined by the people of the firm, not by a designer sitting in a studio. Once defined, we’ve seen how everyone in the firm buys into this brand and it becomes a very powerful badge of honour.
HOW NOT TO BUILD A LAW FIRM WEBSITE.
It takes more than a web developer to build a website. It takes insight, knowledge, probing questions, observation, collaboration, experimentation, iteration, refinement, planning, meetings, feedback, further refinement, testing, keywords, security and commitment. Yes, commitment. It takes as much commitment to the project from the marketing team as it does from each of the lawyers and admin staff. There are no shortcuts. Any corner that is cut reduces the effectiveness of the website. Our proudest moment is when it all comes together, not the website itself, but a meeting of minds between ourselves and the firm, the light comes on and we have uncovered what it is that distinguishes this practice from all the others. That’s the most important asset a law firm can use in its marketing.