Law Firm Branding
Essential Concepts for Creating a Memorable Law Firm Brand
Why is Branding Important to a Law Firm?
I was fortunate enough to see Donald Miller speak at a marketing conference and he hammered in two points that changed the way I looked at my messaging and branding forever.
Donald Miller was the first person that ever explained how the human brain’s need for survival directly relates to marketing(I totally recommend taking a deeper dive into his concepts in his book, Building a Storybrand, here).
Donald Miller postulates that because the human brain is constantly driven by goal-seeking behavior (survive and thrive)paired with a drive to conserve energy, your messaging and branding needs to align with those needs at all times.
In other words, if your branding and messaging don’t clearly, quickly, and effectively explain what you are offering, and how it directly supports your potential client’s goals, it won’t work. Period.
This over-riding concept needs to be brought to all aspects of your branding from your logo to your website to your printed marketing materials.
That also means if your marketing focuses on your story and that of your 3 generations of family members who have worked in your business, you lose.
If your marketing materials show how clever you are with innuendo and sarcasm instead of clearly identifying what you are offering, you lose.
If your logo contains some obscure reference to the Crimean War…you get the idea.
If you’ve been sleeping under a rock and somehow missed it, there are more things than ever before vying for your attention.
Think about your average day.
You are probably woken up by an alarm on your cell phone. You pick up your cell phone and immediately have an urge to check email, social media updates, news, stocks, bitcoin, how many crops your imaginary farm created, and if anyone joined you in your latest lipsync…and you haven’t even gotten out of bed yet.
You turn on music for the shower because your brain is addicted to stimulation and are bombarded by melody-backed social commentary, emotion-driven lyrics, and advertisements.
If you were careless enough to actually check any of your social media or email accounts you were bombarded with ads+social indoctrination and peer pressure about how you should feel about your life.
Your towel has a label, your shampoo has a label, your clothes have branding, everything you pass in your kitchen has branding, and if you were crazy enough to turn on the TV to listen to the news or start your Netflix binge for the day…and you haven’t even left the house yet.
How many branding messages has your brain been bombarded with every single day before even leaving the house?
Then you get in a branded car that plays podcasts or radio or internet radio with ads or branding and of course you have to check your phone while you are driving even though you know what that can lead to.
You don’t even notice the billboards you drive past, the brands on the other cars, the buildings with their giant signage, the 50 fast food restaurants you pass or remember the 20 commercials you just heard from your in-car entertainment.
I just mentioned literally hundreds of branding messages you see every day before you even get to your first stop, that you don’t notice every single day. Ask yourself why?
Then think about how the minute you decide to buy a white Toyota, you see them everywhere…
When you missed lunch you notice every. single. restaurant.
Why that one catchy commercial gets stuck in your head all day.
Why? Because Donald Miller is right.
When you are focused on driving to work, driving your kids to school, or driving to get to the post office(do people still do that?) before the line gets out the door, your brain doesn’t see any of those things as supporting it’s goal-driven focus.
However, when you need to justify a big purchase or feed that brain, it notices every single thing that can support that goal.
You might be asking, “what about that maddening jingle?”
And you just stumbled upon one of the secrets of effective branding and messaging.
Ever wonder why it’s so easy to get lost in hours of music, movies, or Netflix binging?
It’s because things that are familiar take less energy for your brain to process.
Why do you think all pop music sounds the same when you really listen to it?
It’s because if it’s familiar enough that it’s easy for your brain to process and relate to, your brain is willing to focus on it just enough to learn the slight nuances between all the other songs that have very similar patterns.
Annoying jingles work because they are easy for your brain to relate to.
It’s the same reason similar companies use similar branding.
Don’t believe me? Do a Google search for bug spray and click on images. It’s a sea of green and orange despite unending results and choices in a brand.
How about investment companies? Blue and black and symbols of strength and trust for days.
Fast food? Don’t get blinded by the red and yellow…
Marketing professionals have known this “secret” for years, that’s why even the oldest brands have so much in common.
It also puts you at a distinct advantage in the information age.
You don’t need to spend millions on an advertising consultant to get the perfect logo, you just need to do a Google search of your top competitors.
Colors, fonts, shapes, sizes, layouts are all there for you to see and steal. Yes, stealing is bad, but paying attention, learning from those that have come before us, and leveraging that knowledge to make your business more effective is good.
The same goes for messaging. Want to find a message that resonates effectively with your ideal client or customer and find it quickly? Do a Google search for your top competitor, search Amazon for top-selling books in your prospect’s industry, search the top videos on Youtube and then analyze what they all have in common.
From taglines to headlines, book titles to video titles, you will have a treasure trove of words, phrases, and topics that get the brains of your ideal clients and customers excited at the speed of Wifi…literally.
The major benefit to leveraging the work and research of those that have come before you is that it makes it that much easier for your prospect to understand and relate to your branding.
You might be thinking, “well if I do what everyone else is doing I’ll get lost in the mix”. But the truth is the human brain doesn’t want to think hard enough to notice your distinctly different branding, figure out what it means, and then put the energy to act on it if it doesn’t have to.