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Law firms have a special challenge when creating a brand because the competition often is fierce and the customers have no interest in paying attention to the market until they are desperate for the service.

This means the amount of time a firm gets to spend with a potential customer can be fleeting. The first way a strong branding campaign can help grab the short attention of a potential client is with a good logo.

It is a long-standing tradition to name law firms after the men and women who lead the company. A quality logo can play off the strengths of the name or it can minimize the shortcomings. The logo for a firm named after Mr. Miller and Mr. Oxcart can maximize the strong names in the firm. A logo for a firm named after Mr. Fatzenfleffen and Mrs. Ugh can minimize the awkwardness of the names and still stand out.

Miller & Oxcart may go with a serif font and architectural columns to establish tradition and strength. Fatzenfleffen & Ugh may go for a more colorful logo with a sans-serif font and an interlocking thought bubble and lock.

The logo is important because it is often the first impression a firm leaves with a potential client. A quality logo lays the groundwork for all of the rest of the branding effort. A logo thrown together by one of the partners’ nephew will look like it was thrown together.

Each firm’s logo needs to reflect the type of work being done there. If Miller & Oxcart practice elder law, then their logo could be simple and solid appeal to a more mature clientele. If Fatzenfleffen & Ugh have an intellectual property firm, then their logo will need to attract a younger, more tech-savvy client. The logo is the place to start the process of aiming a firm’s brand toward the client that firm wants to sign.

The logo needs to identify the company, tell the firm’s story and differentiate the business from its competitors. A colorful, playful logo will not work for Miller & Oxcart because it will be lost on their clientele. Likewise, Fatzenfleffen & Ugh will not get the same traction if their logo has ornate columns on it because that will seem outdated to their clients.

The new logo may need a short tagline to help further explain the firm’s business. Miller & Oxcart might go with: Guiding • Caring • Protecting. Fatzenfleffen & Ugh, on the other hand, might go with Intellectual Property Security. This gives the prospective client one more level of information from which to work. If the firm is named for the partners, then it is unlikely that the name will tell potential clients what practice area the firm covers. A short tagline will help.

That new Fatzenfleffen & Ugh logo needs to go on all of the firm’s marketing materials. It needs to be on the business cards, the stationery, the bottom of emails and even the front door to the office. From there, the company’s brand will start to gain traction and establish the firm’s positive image.

An experienced law firm marketing firm will sit down with the firm’s partners and talk about the image the company wants to portray. This consultation is an important part of the process. Successful branding depends on understanding the competition and how to create a foothold in the market.

The brand continues to expand as the firm grows and takes on new clients. Firms like Miller & Oxcart that have success with seminars want for the prospective clients to have materials in hand when they leave the seminar so that they go to the company’s website later to learn more. The materials and the website are carefully designed to send a cohesive message that ties back to the seminar and the marketing materials.

Meanwhile, Fatzenfleffen & Ugh may put their firm’s logo on a large banner to display when they sponsor a technology trade show. Fatzenfleffen & Ugh’s branding will take hold on that big banner because their logo is more progressively designed. The rest of their materials at the trade show all carry the logo and continue to promote the brand. Follow up emails from prospective clients gathered at the show will also carry the company’s progressive-looking logo and cohesive message.

A significant part of targeting your firm’s branded message is understanding the needs of the potential client. Technology firms are a good target market for an intellectual property law firm, so that firm needs to be visible and useful in places where the tech firm is going to be – like the expo. Fatzenfleffen & Ugh’s branded newsletter to technology firms could share not only tips and information about intellectual property law, but also could also include a calendar of upcoming technology expos and other tech networking events that the law firm will be attending.

Targeted newsletters can help push the brand at Miller & Oxcart, too. And while that email database will be a bigger challenge to compile, the branding can be no less specific. An elder law firm can speak to that clientele in blogs and can also publish lists of events those clients might be interested in attending. Miller & Oxcart will be at those events shaking hands and handing out business cards with good-looking new logo on it.

It all starts with talking one-on-one with a marketing consultant. A professional can help a firm develop a marketing strategy that will maximize the firm’s business leads and grow the company.

Quality brand marketing can help a firm establish a presence in the community – whether that means a geographic community or a business community. From this new position as a well-branded firm, the business will add new clients and grow to dominate its market.

About Author

Chris Wilkerson is a former contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine.

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