A key part of being competitive in any industry is the ability to attract and retain clients. Consumers tend to gravitate towards businesses that care about them, align with their values, and they trust to do a good job. Relationships are a key factor in the decision-making process, and building solid relationships is also important for lawyers. Personal branding for lawyers is a great way to start thinking about marketing in a fairly approachable way.
Personal branding is the idea of positioning yourself in a certain way and is best done organically- don’t force what isn’t there. You can learn more about personal branding in general with this article from Forbes on the “Golden Rules of Personal Branding” published in 2018.
Developing Your Personal Brand
Let’s start by building your personal brand. In marketing theory, there is the Keller’s Brand Equity Model to measure and start understanding your brand. A key takeaway from this theory is the concept of branding building blocks (identity, values, tone, and relationships).
Building a Brand Identity
Thinking of yourself as a brand can be difficult since traditionally, we think of branding as related to companies. Here are some tips to build your personal brand in a communicable way:
- Think of your personality. What adjectives would you use to describe yourself in a professional setting? What makes you unique (in both a personal and professional way)?
- How can you translate some of your qualities into tangible benefits for clients that are unique? Start with your area of expertise and build that out; sharing knowledge and expertise helps build trust.
- What values are important to you? For example, if access to justice or being client-centric is an important aspect of your work, your brand should communicate that.
Also remember- brand imagery doesn’t just include headshots or logos. Brand imagery also includes what comes to mind when thinking about a brand. For example, if we think of Tiffany’s we may think of their very specific blue or Apple’s minimalist packaging for their products.
Translating that into personal branding can be challenging, but developing a clear visual brand identity can include aspects like social media (and what kinds of content being shared there) or business cards and other print collateral.
Above all, being consistent about your brand is important- both online and in-person. If you can maintain a specific tone, imagery, etc., you can convey to clients that you are trustworthy, dependable, and (if done correctly) authentic.
However, when appropriate, that doesn’t mean that you have to stay away from anything personal. If you are comfortable and want to showcase an interest or hobby- do that! For example, a keen interest in art, history, music, or other hobbies can showcase what you do to relax or with personal time. Sometimes it’s easier to develop a relationship by connecting with someone on a specific interest.
It’s important to remember that personal branding can be difficult- especially for lawyers. For further reading about personal branding check out these resources from Entrepreneur and Digital Marketing.org.