How do you know whether it’s a good time to rebrand your firm? Your brand is more than a single piece of marketing, like logo or a website design; it is the embodiment who you are, what you stand for and where you’re going. Your brand is a promise you offer to potential clients about the values you hold and the experience they can expect from each interaction with your firm.
The value of your brand rests with your ability to consistently deliver on that promise in the minds of clients, attorneys and staff. As such, you should treat a rebrand as more than a surface change of a few fonts or colors — or even your logo — but as an overhaul of your entire personality and ethos.
Plan on a rebrand if you realize that you’re facing one or several of these issues:
Rebranding requires serious organization, planning and collaboration. Here are some tips to help you manage a rebrand in a way that circumvents chaos.
Before developing your rebranding strategy, meet with members of your firm to discuss the need to rebrand. Establish clear communications with the stakeholders and agency you’re working with. For long-term success, have everyone with input into your firm’s brand evolution involved from day one.
Discover your reason for rebranding:
While rebranding can breathe fresh air into your law firm’s image and enhance its presence and reach — potentially into new markets — it is never a good idea to rebrand simply for the sake of change. Be sure that you have a specific reason for rebranding, as well as specific goals.
For example, you may want to rebrand because your firm's marketing is visually similar to that of its competition. You may be having trouble attracting prospects, as they cannot distinguish your value proposition from that of other firms. Why should they hire you? Or, your messaging and look may simply be outdated and stale, and no longer reflective of your core identity.
Your goal for the rebrand, then, may be to attract more leads and cases by standing out from the crowd with a fresh, accurate depiction of who you are. You will want your new brand to boost your SEO, get your pages ranked higher in search results, grow trust in your firm, build your authority, and ultimately help you gain more clients. Keep this purpose in mind as you develop and execute your vision.
How do you articulate your reason for rebranding? Answer these questions:
Create a rebranding strategy:
Before diving into any design work or content writing, you will need to come up with a brand strategy. Laying the groundwork of who you are and what you want to achieve will help you understand the types of problems you need to solve through design and messaging.
In order to create a rebranding strategy, you will first need to create a statement about who you are by answering the following questions about your core identity:
Answering these questions will help everyone involved voice their vision as you create your rebranding strategy.
What To Research
No rebrand will be successful without ample research. To flourish, you must have both an understanding of your goals and your place within the markets you want to reach. Be sure to explore:
What other law firms are doing. Assess what you like and dislike about other law firms’ branding. How do they present themselves, and how do they share what they care about? What tone seems most effective? What do you like or dislike about their visual content? Come up with a thorough list of examples to help you brainstorm ways you can creatively express the personality, values and promise of your firm.
What you are doing currently. Take a close look at all of your current content, both written and visual. This includes any taglines or mission statements; descriptive items like attorney bios and about pages; informational content like blog posts and articles; and visual content like photography, videos and illustrations.
Look at your brand voice across all channels. Is it consistent? Does what a visitor sees in your online presence match what they read in your print collateral or experience during an office visit? What is resonating and what is not? Thinking about this will help you get a handle on what to keep and what to improve upon.
How your firm is being perceived. Talk to current and previous clients and members of your firm. What do they think about your brand? What is their experience with you?
Share these insights with those involved in the rebranding.
Keep SEO Strategy In Mind
A new brand must be universally applied across all social media, like Google My Business, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, as well as your website and any guest posting you do. Ensure the branding visitors see on your website is the same as that they see on all other platforms. All aspects of your brand must be up-to-date after a change to help ensure you come up in searches.
Google looks at consistency as one of the many ways it determines the trustworthiness of a source of information, like a website, web page or blog post. If your tone and style, and the information you present, are discordant, search engines may see that as a reason to mistrust your brand and therefore your content. Your brand must accurately reflect both your firm's vision and speak to the needs of your clients in a comprehensive, homogeneous way.
Since creating a new brand is a major upheaval, you can expect to encounter roadblocks and speed bumps along the way. But you can mitigate those chances by simply setting realistic timelines, and providing those involved with the tools and information they need to do their jobs.
Plan For The Future
Rebrand with tomorrow in mind. While it’s hard to predict what the future will bring, it is easy to create a brand that will weather future storms. You will want to build a visual identity that is flexible, so that it can grow as you do. Do not rely entirely on in-the-moment design trends when fashioning a look for your firm, as that can date your brand and cause unnecessary rebranding hassle again sooner than you might like.
Consider how, for example, your logo might be perceived in ten years, anticipating that technology and platforms will evolve. To design into the future, create a visual identity that is flexible to new areas of growth, comprehensive, consistent, intuitively designed and accurately reflective of who you are.
Rebranding requires teamwork and patience, but it can be worth the effort if it helps you gain new leads that successfully convert. At CLM, our team of designers and content developers are here to help, so you don’t have to do it alone.
Cristina Fríes is a MA in English/Creative Writing from UC Davis (2019), and is a legal marketing strategist and content developer for CLM. Her interests include creating compelling marketing content, writing books, and traveling the world.