How Important is it for Attorneys to “Brand” Themselves?
The consumer decision-making process is a complex series of actions that involves need recognition, search for information, evaluation of alternatives, purchasing decision, and post-purchase evaluation. While there are numerous things that can impact a consumer’s purchasing decision, emotion is one of the most powerful. Indeed, while consumers often report comparing brands and price points, studies indicate that unconscious urges—including emotion—are what really drive purchasing and decision-making in general.
Emotions and the way that they impact us are associated with various things, such as places, colors, music, smells, objects, time periods, etc. Associations can have a powerful effect in driving decision-making and influencing consumer behavior. By building a personal brand that has positive associations for potential clients, therefore triggering positive emotions, you are tapping into one of the effective legal marketing strategies. Here’s an overview of how to build a personal brand for attorneys and how Sundown Legal Marketing can help:
What Is a Personal Brand?
In short, a personal brand is a summation of what people think about you and your legal services. It’s a description of your areas of legal expertise, your character traits, your reputation, and your skills; it’s your value proposition. Generally, a brand is defined as “an intangible marketing or business concept that helps people identify a company, product, or individual.” In the context of a law firm or a lawyer, the idea of a brand can be expanded to not only include the intangible perceptions about a firm’s or lawyers legal services, but also the implicit assurances that a law firm or lawyers makes to its clients about its services and outcomes.
Why Is Building a Personal Brand Important?
Building a personal brand has both internal and external benefits. By spending time thinking about your personal brand as a lawyer, you’ll have more insight into your own values, interests, and priorities, which can guide your work and leave you feeling more fulfilled. From a legal marketing and client acquisition standpoint, building a brand helps to set you apart from your competitors and stand out in a highly competitive field. Remember, most consumers make decisions based on unconscious urges, including emotions that result from positive or negative associations. Personal branding done correctly can lead to enhanced brand recognition, a sense of trust and authority, and improved law firm marketing and advertising. The latter is particularly important, as most Americans rely on their own research to make big decisions—like who they are going to hire for legal representation—and use digital tools and the internet as part of this. As such, the brand that you portray online could attract or deter clients. By building a personal brand that people associate with reliability, results, and trustworthiness (or other positive characteristics), you have a more likely chance of reaching these people and building your business.
Ways to Build a Strong Personal Brand for Attorneys
Building a brand that is effective isn’t a perfect science, but there are some straightforward things that you can do to enhance your personal brand and brand recognition.
- Identify your goals and attributes. Getting to know yourself is the first step to building your personal brand as an attorney. Your brand should be authentic and a true reflection of your values and goals. Spend some time answering the following questions about yourself, your professional ambitions, and your interests:
- What is your legal focus area? What types of cases would you like to work on more?
- What do you most enjoy doing? What would you change about what you’re currently doing?
- What sets you apart from other legal professionals in your field? What special gifts of skill sets do you have? Why should a client hire you instead of another lawyer who specializes in the same area of law?
- What are your clients looking for? What things are important to your clients outside of legal counsel?
- What values are important to you? Who do you strive to emulate? What is it about this person that makes them admirable?
- What type of lawyer do you want to be?
- Identify and analyze your market and target audience. Once you have answered the above questions and have identified some of your key values and personal characteristics that you think set you apart, it’s time to get really clear about the market you work in and your target audience. In addition to honing in on your niche and the practice areas you want to focus on, it’s also smart to spend some time analyzing your competition and figuring out what you have that they don’t and how you can leverage this as part of your brand strategy. This is also the time to start identifying your target audience and what your target audience needs, wants, and values.
- Establish an online presence. If you haven’t already done so, now’s the time to establish an online presence. Start basic with a website, and then fill the website with content, including blogs, that clearly articulates who you are, what type of law you practice, what your values are, and on what you’re an authority. Using blogs and other mediums to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry can have powerful results. As you create more content, make sure that you’re distributing content on the right channels in order to grow your online presence. For example, LinkedIn can be a great place to network and reach both clients and other professionals in your field.
- Develop a legal marketing strategy. Developing a consistent ongoing law firm marketing strategy is a multifaceted task that requires attention to detail and knowledge of best practices. To strengthen and grow your brand, you’ll need to continue showing up online in numerous places and presenting strong content. Creating a strategy for blogging, posting on social media, distributing press releases, acquiring and sharing client testimonials, and more will be important to your long-term brand success.
- Assess and adjust as needed. Finally, take time to assess the effectiveness of your brand and legal marketing strategy, identify gaps, and make adjustments as needed to maximize results.
Sundown Legal Marketing Can Help
At Sundown Legal Marketing, we are experts in building personal brands for lawyers and law firms and can help you establish yourself as a leader in your field. To learn more about crafting your personal brand and developing an accompanying law firm marketing strategy, reach out to us online or by phone at 800-649-1764 today.