Any business relies on branding to sell itself. With so many operators in the market from the global mega corporations right down to the sole trader running his consultancy business from a laptop in his garden shed, first impressions are of the utmost importance and nothing introduces your enterprise to potential customers quite as immediately or as starkly as your logo and your masthead.
Wikipedia defines a brand as “the identity of a specific product, service, or business. A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, colour combination or slogan. The word brand has continued to evolve to encompass identity – it affects the personality of a product, company or service”.
Law Firms and Branding
There is probably no line of business that depends quite so much on its reputation as the legal profession. By definition, the legal profession should exude expertise, excellence, ultimate knowledge and values. The brand presented by a firm of lawyers needs to suggest the highest levels of confidence, precision and attention to detail.
Branding also needs to be suitable. What may be appropriate for a fast-food chain or the latest pair of trainers would certainly not sit comfortably on the letterhead of a solicitor’s office. Customers employing the services of an expert in legal matters expect competence and discretion, and law firm branding should reflect such expectations and suggest the qualities required for the task at hand.
Branding is About More Than Just a Logo
Of course there is much more to branding than a simple logo. Indeed as a concept a “brand” should reflect a firm’s entire identity – its ethos, its standards, its beliefs and its attitudes. At root the logo is just the picture which summarises a wider corporate experience.
To this end a logo can only achieve so much in isolation. The largest corporations spend literally billions on advertising, and it is worth remembering that the products involved are usually so universally recognisable that there is seldom any need to draw their existence to the attention of the public. In their cases the object of the exercise is the subliminal reinforcement of an already familiar image.
Few legal entities find themselves in the same position. Nevertheless the core principles, whilst allowing for some deviation, are fairly similar. The three essential components comprising the brand of any legal firm can be identified as – positioning, behaviour and image.
In the first instance the company positions itself in the market so that its appeal is directed primarily towards those most likely to be requiring of its services. In the second it considers how it needs to comport itself in order to appeal to those whose business it seeks to attract. And in the third it acts upon those considerations when developing its logo, strapline and other modes of external presentation.
Getting these attributes right and in correct proportion can make all the difference between success and failure, and as such it is crucial that the question of branding is approached with absolute professionalism, which means embracing the expertise of somebody in the field whose talent it is.