Friday, July 22, 2005

Brand X

Branding: The Nike swoosh and the slogan "Just Do It" are among the most memorable icons in the Western mind. In the movie Supersize Me, host Morgan Spurlock showed pre-schoolers several illustrations of the Golden Arches and Ronald McDonald, both of which were immediately recognized by every child in the room. However, when Spurlock showed the children an illustration of Jesus Christ, they all sat quietly with blank looks on their faces. What can we draw from these examples of branding? a) It is essential; and b) the Church has a branding issue.

Attorneys - especially small/solo practitioners frequently overlook the issue of branding when formulating their marketing plans. Are they wrong to do so? Is branding really that important to the legal profession? The Morningstar Multimedia Agency (MMA) thinks so. In a recently published promotional document entitled A Lawyer's Guide to Marketing, MMA argues that Branding is not only necessary, it is essential for practitioners of every size. According to MMA:

"A brand is not the service it represents, but is the public's perception of what you offer. It is not your logo, but what images come to mind when your clients and colleagues see your logo. The emotional association a client has with a particular product or service. Through a carefully planned branding campaign, you can mold how the public views you."

In communities all over the United States the solo/small practitioner field is becoming increasingly crowded. As the market becomes more saturated, how do you distinguish your practice among not just locals, but also out-of-towners seeking local representation? Is branding a part of your marketing plan? If so, how has it changed your approach to business development and marketing?

For a full copy of the MMA report, click here.


Blogger efox00 said...

While branding certainly has a place in law firm marketing, small or otherwise. I'm not sure it is as relevant to small firm or solo practictioner still a fledgling litigator. The point the posting makes is your brand is whatever image is conjured when people think about you or your logo. As a new attorney in a new market the only label that perhaps may apply is "greenhorn." What one could do is begin to consciously cultivate their brand from the moment they begin practice. Included within the brand is not only how tough you are, or whether you can squeeze an extra dollar out of a settlement, but also how the perception of what it is like to deal with you as an attorney. One can be an excellent attorney and still generate sighs from opposing counsel when a pleading comes across their desk bearing the very branding emblem under discussion. Their sigh may not be because the branding immediately calls to mind a professed individual rich in legal acument. It could be because said attorney makes your spleen hurt just by looking at him, because his pleadings always come emanating an aroma of beef and cheese. So, to that extent the posting makes a valid point. Start building your brand early molding it as necessary to create the perception of an individual both the public and profession would like to deal with.


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