Branding for law firms is more than choosing a memorable name, putting up a user-friendly website, and waiting for client reviews to start building your reputation. Using a mix of a handful of marketing strategies gives you the chance to establish your firm’s brand and reputation within your community. Try these research-backed methods to make sure that people are talking about your law firm—and that they have plenty of positive things to say.
- Token Giving
Part of branding is ensuring that people think of your firm’ when they think of a particular area of practice. How do you get your firm name to stick with them? Make sure they’re looking at it every time they grab their notebook to make a shopping list, grab their favorite pen to jot a note or look for a tote bag to take on a family outing. When hosting events or attending events that promote community outreach, make sure you have branded token gifts to hand out to those who stop by your booth (and that you have a logo branded table cloth at that booth for them to see). Think outside the box with high-quality items that potential clients are likely to use. Electronic power banks, insulated coffee tumblers, notepads, earbuds, and clothing with small logos are popular options.
- Cause Marketing
Creating an alliance with a meaningful cause goes a long way in creating goodwill among your potential clients. For maximum success with this strategy, focus on authenticity. Consumers appreciate brands that focus on a specific cause and evolve their giving over time, rather than brands that change their causes from year to year for no apparent reason. Consider a cause relevant to your law firm’s area of practice, and look for local organizations you can partner with for mutual benefit.
There are many ways to engage in effective cause marketing. Charitable giving is a straightforward way to contribute directly to a cause, but you can also get more involved by offering pro bono services, promoting fundraising events, and centering ad campaigns on your chosen cause.
- Community Involvement
When people choose service or goods providers, they prefer companies that give back to the community. According to Forbes, approximately 82% of consumers in the United States think about corporate social responsibility when making buying decisions. As you contribute to community events, sponsor local teams, or give to charities in your neighborhood, you create a name for yourself—what your law firm stands for—in the highly competitive legal industry. These activities not only make your community stronger, but can lead to press mentions, increased brand awareness, and an expansion of your professional network and referral pool.
Make the most of your community involvement efforts by concentrating on opportunities that play on your firm’s strengths, areas of practice, and long-term goals. A law firm may draft contracts and agreements for nonprofit community events that have limited budgets or a personal injury attorney might contribute to a neighborhood bicycle safety event.
- Creating a Culture of Appreciation
Cultivating a positive brand image in your community begins with the culture of your law firm. Employees who feel overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated are unlikely to speak positively about the law firm to those in their inner circles. On the other hand, employees who know that their work is valued and are fairly compensated for what they offer the firm are likely to tell others about the firm. They may raise the culture of appreciation you have established and be willing to represent the firm at community events. Every employee you have has the potential to be a natural brand ambassador, so treat them accordingly and create a work environment people enjoy.
- The 80/20 Rule
The Pareto principle has a number of applications in marketing. In branding, the most important application is this: your marketing efforts should be 80% focused on value and 20% focused on direct marketing. People know they are being marketed to, but they don’t want to feel like they’re constantly being targeted for advertising. When you market, focus on providing genuine value. Whether it’s sponsoring a kid’s soccer team or running an event for a local charity, make sure you are giving actual value to those benefiting from your good deeds. Direct marketing should make up just 20% of your branding strategies. With this ratio, you’ll build your brand’s positive image and reputation in an organic and meaningful way.
When you break down each of the items above to their most basic components, it’s fairly obvious: when you do good, people will think good things about you and your law firm. No matter what your area of practice is, how large your firm is, or how long you have been part of your community, you can use these strategies to create the image you want.