Just what the heck is a “brand” and why does “branding” matter for lawyers? These are important questions and there’s a lot of misinformation out there, so let’s dive in:
I like to define your brand as simply: How you are perceived by the outside world.
When people hear your name or see your logo… what thought, feelings, and ideas come to mind? That’s your brand.
Now, how to take control of your brand and shape it into a profitable tool is a much longer conversation. We’ll tackle that in future articles. But to lay the groundwork, let’s talk about why your brand matters in the first place.
When you create a brand that positions you as the go-to attorney in your practice area within your geographic footprint, here’s what you can expect:
1 – More Referrals. Earning referrals is all about memorability and credibility. When you establish a brand that positions you as a credible expert in your niche and makes you memorable to clients and referral sources, referrals will follow. Studies have shown that the average lawyer is only getting about 1/3 of the referrals they could be earning from people they already know. A strong brand will help you close this gap.
2- Attract Clients Instead of Chasing Them. When given the opportunity, every single one of us would prefer working with an expert. Whether it’s choosing a lawyer, a doctor, an auto mechanic, a landscaper, or anywhere in between – we’d rather work with someone who we trust and know to be extraordinarily talented in their field. When you establish your brand as a credible expert within your niche, clients will begin to seek you out. This shifts the power dynamic – you’ll have potential clients competing for you, instead of the other way around.
3 – Do The Work You Want. A brand that positions you as a leader within a specific niche will attract work in that niche. Whether it’s a practice area like family law or bankruptcy, or perhaps a less common niche such as equine law – a focused brand attracts the work you want to attract. If you currently find yourself doing work that you hate for clients that you can’t stand working for, take some time to identify a niche that you would enjoy and find fulfillment in. And then let’s talk about how to build a brand as an expert within that niche.
4 – Charge Higher Rates. When clients are seeking you out, you have the market power to command higher rates. It’s a simple supply-and-demand equation. Build your brand as an expert in your practice area, attract the right prospective clients, and you can stop competing on price. When you’re perceived by your market as an interchangeable commodity, not significantly different from a dozen other lawyers in your area, you’ve got to keep your rates competitive or you’ll be out of business. But when you have a brand that uniquely positions you as the solution to your clients’ problem, you can raise your rates and still win business.
5 – Increased Media Opportunities. Appearing on the radio, on TV, in the newspaper, or even on a podcast as an expert commentator is a major win for business development. But, to earn the opportunity for media exposure, you need to be perceived as an expert. When you have a brand as a leader within your practice area, media opportunities will present themselves to you. Leveraging these opportunities strengthens your brand even further and leads to more opportunity – but you’ve got to put yourself in position first. An effective brand will accomplish this for you.
An effective brand makes all of your marketing and business development more profitable. It creates marketplace power, creating more referrals and allowing you to attract clients rather than chasing them. If you’d like more information on this subject as well as practical ideas to make it happen, click here for instant access to our report entitled “Become a Brand, Not a Commodity: How to Stand Out in An Increasingly Competitive Legal Marketplace.”