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Membership Appreciation Month Tip: Your Brand, But Better

There's probably no better way to project a polished professional presence than having a good brand. Today we're looking at what that means exactly, and exploring ways to improve yours.

Your Brand Is Your Promise to Your Client. If you Google 'branding' you'll find many different descriptions of what it means. But at the heart of it, your brand is how others see you based on how you present yourself and the characteristics that define you. This is your personal brand.

Your professional brand adds the context of your work to that equation, defining your unique value proposition in the marketplace.

And your firm brand is about the reputation and value proposition of your firm as a whole, not just you (unless you are a solo lawyer).

"Knowing who you are, what you stand for, your professional strengths and what clients can expect when they hire you - as well as being able to communicate this clearly and effectively - will be key to your success both in terms of becoming better known internally (within your law firm) and externally (with your clients)." - The Importance of Personal Branding for Lawyers, Stephanie Solakian Goldstein

Accessing and Defining Your Brand. List the qualities you think you are known for among your clients and colleagues. Now ask others who know you well to do the same. Do the lists line up?

Now think about whether these known attributes - your brand - serve you well and really define who you are as a lawyer. What qualities do you want to project that aren't listed? What qualities do you think your ideal clients are searching for, and do they line up with your current list?

Creating a strong, consistent brand is key to moving forward with a brand strategy.

Developing Your Brand Strategy. Once you've concluded what your brand is (or should be), it's time to figure out the how-when-where-who part of communicating it to others. This can vary based on your type of practice, clientele and budget, but below are a few common areas to cover:

Get a great logo. There are numerous marketing companies that can help. Short on money? You can still get a great logo by using a freelancing service like Fiverr.

Perfect your brand message, otherwise known as your 60 second-elevator pitch. Construct it for brevity and clarity. Most clients aren't versed in legalese, so be sure to keep that in mind.

Integrate your brand into your materials and website. Your goal is to create one clear message over all platforms that are promoting your services. Be consistent. Be reliable.

Deliver on your brand promises. Building a reputation for making good on your claims is the most authentic way to promulgate your brand. Make sure your staff are also aware of and delivering your brand message. This is of particular importance if your brand includes any customer service attributes.  

Learn more. We've just covered some of the basics of branding, but if you want to learn more, here are a few good places to start...

A good brand can help set you apart from the crowd, drawing in new business. Your challenge today is to evaluate your brand and improve it if needed. Happy branding!

Posted on May 10, 2017 by Sara Anderson
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