Branding Your Law Firm: More Storytelling, Less Hard Selling

by Nov 11, 2013

Once your law firm understands where it is currently positioned in the marketplace, and has articulated its Unique Selling Proposition, it always a good idea to agree upon what your next round of marketing is aimed at achieving. This will inform which media you choose (budget relative, of course) and the messaging for said media. The more your messaging takes the shape of storytelling, the more effective it is likely to be.

Now, will you be trying to increase the overall brand awareness of your firm in your community? Or, will you be trying to reposition your firm as the leader in a certain practice area? Or, will you be targeting a specific segment of the market to get them to reach out and hire your firm? If you answered “all of the above”, then you better reconsider what you expect your marketing to realistically achieve.

You marketing strategy can’t be all things to all people. It needs to be focused on the real marketing task at hand, knowing that it will help build your overall brand in the long run. Keep in mind that many brands change their marketing objectives every quarter. So, get comfortable with thinking in terms of phases of your marketing attack.

Whether you’re specifically targeting a group or emphasizing a new practice area will impact the media and strategy of the communication per media. Once all key decision makers at the firm agree on what your strategy is for the next round of marketing, then you should explore and agree on which types of marketing you’re going to pursue. This means weighing your budget with your objectives and picking the media that will best serve them.

We’ll be covering specific ways to maximize law firm marketing in the various media in the near future. But, for now, whichever media you decide to use, you should consider them all as vehicles more for storytelling and less for hard selling.

The best brands, law firms or not, use their advertising, marketing and branding to tell different stories to different people. When your strategy is to raise brand awareness, the story you’re telling is to a broader audience and hits on the big picture qualities of your firm, its history, accomplishments and place in the community When you’re trying to actively engage a specific target market to hire your firm, the story is more about them and how your firm can help them with their specific needs, how you’re empathetic to their situation, and how your experience is a great match for their case.

Generalities aside, when it comes to your web presence, think of your web pages and blog posts less as ways to sell your firm and more as ways to tell your firm’s story. Like all of your marketing, you’ll be better served when you frame the conversation in terms of a story for your audience. Admittedly, it’s not always easy, but the more story-like your messages are, the more compelling readers will find them. Most litigators understand the power of stories and know how to tell them so juries feel like they’ve reached their own conclusion as to the story’s moral. The same principal applies to branding these days.

There are other advantages to focusing your marketing efforts into stories. By doing so, you’re forced to develop more conversational ways to talk about what you do, why it’s important, and why you’re good at it. When marketing becomes more like storytelling, everything from your elevator pitch to a radio commercial become more authentic, relevant and less ad-like. Consumers these days are so marketing-savvy that, when brands make an effort to be more like storytellers, they appreciate it. Plus, because there is so much competition for consumer’s attentions, every bit of your marketing needs to be more entertaining than your competitors.

This is a taller order for law firms, whose stories are so much more serious than the average brand, and who are constricted by the state bar’s code of ethics in what they’re allowed to communicate in their advertising. But, whatever your firm’s marketing strategy is, and whichever media you’ve decided to use, by utilizing a storyteller approach rather than one of a hard seller, you’ll find more of your audience paying attention and taking the actions you want them to.

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