The question of how important a law firm logo is in the grand scheme of attorney marketing and practice building is still a matter of some debate online. A recent post on lawyerist.com engendered an unnecessarily confrontational discussion among commenters about the wisdom of spending any time or money on a logo at all. Why bother, some argued; no one hires an attorney based on a logo alone.
The argument boils down to a misunderstanding about what constitutes attorney branding.
When people think of a logo or a brand, their minds generally jump to consumer-oriented brands like Nike or Apple. These companies attract and maintain herds of loyal followers, partly through the quality of their offerings and partly through reputation alone. People feel cool just owning their products.
But an attorney is not a commodity. Hanging out with the right lawyer is not going to enhance your reputation with the cool kids in the same way that new Prada messenger bag might. Marketing firms that make that claim are selling wishful thinking.
Of course, that reality does not make law firm marketing irrelevant. It just means that attorneys must approach logo development and branding with the understanding that their marketing and client building strategies will necessarily be different than those of large retail companies. Your logo is an important tool – one of many – in your marketing arsenal. It must work in combination with your networking, advertising, online marketing, reputation building and achievements to help establish your firm as a trustworthy, memorable leader in your practice area.
Traditionally, a law firm logo, if it existed at all, consisted of a simple type treatment most likely chosen from a small set of standard system fonts. The logo may or may not have translated well online; that point was irrelevant. Now, a law firm logo must work in a wide variety of applications, online and off, to help create memorable impressions.
Here are some things a good law firm logo can do:
Reinforce your firm’s professionalism. Simply listing your experience is no longer enough to convince people to hire you. Prospective clients must also connect with your firm on a more basic, human level. A good logo can help reinforce your experience and professionalism while helping make that connection.
Provide a memorable point of distinction between your firm and competitors. People are visual thinkers. They will remember one well-designed graphic over a myriad of similar textual pieces. The market is flooded with attorneys vying for clients, making a memorable impression can provide an advantage.
Establish trust and credibility. Like it or not, people do judge a book by its cover. People are emotional creatures with a predilection for making snap judgments and decisions based partly on visual cues. Having a law firm logo tells clients and prospects that you are willing to take the time to develop a positive method of communicating with them. It helps create the impression you can be trusted to put the same care into their case.
Provide a method by which you can market yourself consistently across all touchpoints. Gone are the days when law firms had one or two touchpoints with potential clients. Prospects may visit your office or your website or your blog or your Facebook page. There is no guarantee you will even be able to talk to a prospect before they make a decision about your firm. If prospects see your logo repeatedly, they are more likely to remember you.
A law firm logo can be a reflection of your firm’s brand story on and offline. Your marketing needs to speak directly to client needs and tell the story of how you can help them. Obviously, experience and positive results matter. But a logo that helps reinforce that story is also a helpful tool.
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