Law practices are business like any other. Your potential clients have choices for where they can go for their legal services. As a result, it’s important that you’re able to communicate how your firm is different from every other firm in your practice area. Branding is the quickest way to do it. Unlike other industries, the legal industry has been relatively slow to recognize the importance of developing a recognizable brand.
Case in point, many law offices adopt generic imagery and logos to reflect their practice: gavels, a pile of law books, the scales of justice, etc. Similarly, countless firms name themselves after the firm’s partners regardless of how generic and uninspired the resulting name of the firm sounds. That’s a mistake. Do a local search on Google and notice how many local firms there are active in your practice area. You may be surprised at how much competition you have. If you want to give yourself an advantage over those competitors, then make yourself standout. Be yourself. Be unique. Make sure that potential clients can immediately tell that you and your firm are different.
In line with that, you want your firm to have a brand name that people will remember. If they hear it, you want them to remember it. The big picture is that you want clients, colleagues, and the industries you represent to recognize, and easily remember, the name of your practice and what makes it different from other firms. After all, if your clients and colleagues can’t remember who you are, they’ll be less likely to hire you or refer you to others.
Create a memorable brand name
Trademark law gives stronger protection to unique brand names than to generic ones. In part, that’s because the law inherently understands the business value of a unique identifier. Google, Kodak, Coca Cola: these are names that are easy to remember. Ideally, you want your firm name to be just as easy to remember. You don’t have to create a completely fanciful name for your practice. Instead, it’s okay if you are more comfortable with a name that tells the public what your firm does or what makes it different. Either way, just make sure that your firm name is unique, easy to remember, and (of course) in compliance with the ethical rules of your jurisdiction.
Create a catchy tagline
Create a tagline for your practice. This is a short series of words that communicates something important about what makes your practice different. For example, a tagline such as “creative business and legal solutions for rising entrepreneurs” tells the world that your firm represents successful, young entrepreneurs and that your services are different because they are creative. It doesn’t need to be a sentence though. One of my favorite taglines in business is Apple’s “Think different.” It says so much with only two words. It establishes both the type of person who Apple envisions as their customer (i.e. those who don’t follow trends) and that Apple itself is “different” from it’s competitors. Whatever direction you choose, I’d encourage you to channel your inner Don Draper for this. Go for something catchy, descriptive, memorable and short.
Create an attractive logo
A good, clean logo designed by a professional designer is a worthwhile investment for a firm of any size. First, a well-designed logo itself lends a practice a touch of credibility and a little gravitas. It makes you look professional. Second, a good logo can itself convey information about your firm in a memorable way. Whatever you do, ditch the overdone law firm staples such as gavels, the scales of justice, or law books unless it’s an exceptionally unique and creative take on the design. At this point, those stock images are so overdone that they only thing they convey about your firm is that you put little or no thought into the way you present yourself to the world.
In the end, when creating a brand identity for your practice, don’t be afraid to buck the mainstream trends in the industry. It’s okay to be different. It’ll help you appeal to clients who think differently.
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