Why don’t law firms get branding?

Michael CarabashPart of the reason why lawyers are not good business-minded people as a profession is because they fail to understand and appreciate what building a brand means. I’m sure you’ll get the same old boring answers if you ask lawyers what makes them memorable/different when compared to our competitors: “we are committed to client service through the delivery of affordable, practical, timely and exceptional professional solutions”.

But if everyone is saying that, how can you differentiate one lawyer or law firm from the next? Look at the brand names out there…Davies. Oslers. Stikemans. McMillan. And the list goes on. The brands are people’s names. Some of the people aren’t even alive. These brands – if you can call them that – don’t signify much to me other than “expensive Bay Street full service law firms which only rich people and big companies can afford”. So what about the other law firms out there? What’s their brand all about? I’ve only heard of Payne Law and Diogardi actively promoting their brands in different media. That’s why the public turns to them. Because they remember them!

Some of the law firms out there try to distinguish themselves as specialists in a particular legal area, but that’s as far as it gets. What the public needs is to be able to easily associate a brand with its people, the type of work they do, the quality of their services, and (perhaps most importantly) some type of niche, gimmick, or idea that distinguishes them from their competitors. Here’s a few examples of what I’m talking about::

  • Yorkville Lawyers. Slogan: “Shop. Dine. Get Legal Advice.”
  • PC-Lawyers. Slogan “Where Lawyers and Tech Companies Connect”.
  • Done Deal Real Estate Lawyers.
  • Cut-Throat Litigators. Slogan: “You better have US on YOUR side!”
  • E-Lawyers. Slogan: “We’re Connected and Cost-Effective”.

To repeat myself, law firms have to got to start marketing and promoting themselves ACTIVELY through new mediums that reach out to their target market (e.g. social media, websites, newsletters and articles, public relations events, books or e-books, etc.). Give a taste of your knowledge and expertise! For those law firms out there who say, “But my clients don’t come through those mediums”, the reality is that a new breed of clients – sophisticated and information hungry ones – will be familiar with those mediums. And they will expect you to have a robust presence on the Internet. Besides, if you’re not there, your competitors will be. And if anyone writes something bad about you or your law firm, the prevalence of such negative publicity will depend on how active you and your firm are in that same space. The bottom line is that law firms need to adapt or die out and give rise to a new breed of lawyers and law firms…

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