I know some of you think you don’t need a brand. You might be thinking:
- Brands are just for cows.
- Brands are for consumer products companies, or for larger law firms, but not for yours.
- “Branding” is what got Brobeck in financial trouble, thus causing their implosion because they spent millions advertising it on CNN and similar venues (hogwash).
- During the past decade, the “experts” convinced you it couldn’t be done without huge sums of money, so you abandoned all thoughts of developing and communicating your brand, right?
Yes, I’ve been around for all of that and lived to tell the story.
In today’s AMA [American Marketing Association], AMA Today enewsletter, there was a snapshot of a blog post titled, Your Brand Needs Energy. I’m not a member, so I wasn’t allowed to read the rest of the article, but I didn’t need to because the opening paragraph is what caused me to write this post.
“Unless your brand is one of the exceptions, it needs energy. A brand that has insufficient energy has two potential liabilities. First, it will lack visibility and it will no longer be among those that come to mind when customers consider a purchase. It will be lost in the noise of the environment and will no longer be relevant. Second, and perhaps worse, it can see declines in key image items such as perceived quality and trust. In addition, it could see the degradation of its ability to drive differentiation and loyalty.”
My Definition of Branding
It might help to review my definition of a brand, which I first discussed here in my post, Branding In The Age of Social Media:
A brand is the set of characteristics, the personality, the way of doing business with you that is evident to anyone who does business with you, or who observes you.
- It tells people who you are.
- It tells people what you’re like when they do business with you.
- It tells people what your personality is.
- It tells people what you know…or don’t know.
- It tells people what they can expect from you.
- It evokes a feeling based on all of the above.
My definition hasn’t changed since I wrote that post.
My Truths About Branding
- Whether you want it to or not, your very being communicates your brand to those with whom you come in contact.
- If you never spend a dime on it, you are still branding yourself, your firm and your work.
- Your brand is not your visual identity.
- Your visual identity is but one translation of your brand…the visual translation.
- When you act a certain way, speak a certain way or fail to do either of these, you are communicating a brand.
- When your words or actions are inconsistent, you will confuse your marketplace about what you stand for.
- Individual lawyers, practice teams, industry teams, client service teams, law firm offices and law firms can all have brands.
- If you don’t get involved in determining and communicating your brand, someone or some others, will likely do it for you.
- You must take control of defining and communicating your brand for it to be accurate.
4 Key Takeaways
- If you don’t take control of defining your brand at every level of the firm, from individual to overall firm, you risk miscommunication of what you have to offer your clients.
- You can’t set it and forget it. Defining and communicating your brand doesn’t just happen once. It involves daily care and feeding, and that doesn’t have to mean spending millions of dollars.
- If you want people to know what you and your firm stand for, you have to give them something to talk about, and that is your brand. Give constant spoken, unspoken, written, unwritten, and many other examples of what you are like to do business with.
- You need to do a reality check with your clients on a regular basis to determine whether their perception and evaluation of your brand match your perception of your brand.
How would you define your brand?
Go ahead, give it a go below.
This is an easy chance to show others what you stand for, and what you’re like to do business with.
[Hint. Hint. This is one of those inexpensive written ways I mentioned above that you can use to communicate your brand to the world, so GO FOR IT!]
Additional Personal Branding Posts That Might Interest You
Personal Branding For Lawyers: What Do You Want To Be Known For?
You Damage More Than Your Own Personal Brand With Bad Online Behavior
Branding vs. Positioning: What Is The Difference and Do You Need Both?
In Business, Personal Branding Is Important
Lawyers & Law Firms, Are You Paying Attention To Your Brand? (this post)
Personal Branding In The Age of Social & Digital Media
Can Your Personal Brand Hurt Your Firm’s Brand?
Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers grow their practices by integrating the right marketing practices in order to build their reputations and their relationships, which leads to building their practices.
Also known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, Nancy is a frequent LinkedIn trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement content, social, and digital media strategies that cut through the clutter and are more relevant to their current and potential clients.
She is also a personal branding speaker, trainer, and advisor, helping legal and business professionals in firms understand the importance and the impact of defining and reinforcing their personal brand.
Nancy is also the founder of the hybrid self-study and live online course, LinkedIn Course For Lawyers, where she personally guides lawyers through the sequential creation of their LinkedIn profile and presence.
As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasting, video marketing, voice marketing, and livestreaming. Nancy also works with many firms and lawyers on Zoom and virtual presentation training and coaching to be the best they can be when presenting online.
She also helps lead select law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.