Unfair as it may seem, many people will judge your business solely on its image. After all, it’s the absolute first thing they see, before they have any experience of your services and how well your business is run. And as we all know, first impressions can be vital!
If your branding is amateurish, confusing or old-fashioned, then that’s how people are likely to view your law firm and the services you offer – you’ll come across as out-of-touch and unprofessional.
Here’s are our top signs your brand could do with a makeover.
It’s out of date
Many law firms have a brand identity that makes them look as though they are stuck in the past. Are you one of them? Do you have a logo designed back when your business was one-tenth of its current size, or a website that was the height of flashy modernity when it was designed (eight years ago)? Now it just looks old-fashioned, fussy or tired.
Most major companies give their brands a design refresh every now and again. A bit of refining to make your image cleaner, simpler and up to date – without losing what makes your brand distinctive – could be in order.
It doesn’t reflect who you are
Businesses grow and evolve. If your firm has been around for a while, it’s likely you’ve seen serious changes over the years – up- or down-sizing staff numbers, new management teams or partners, opening new branches, moving offices or expanding into different areas of law.
Is your brand image still rooted in that old ‘firm you used to be’, but no longer are? If so, a design refresh could be rejuvenating.
Of course, for long-standing firms that have been through several brand updates over the years (some less successful than others), a ‘back to basics’ approach could be called for – focusing on your original, core values and identity.
It isn’t consistent
Another problem with expansion over the years is that everything is designed and launched at different times. Were your printed brochures and business cards designed by the same person who put together your website? What about your office signage?
Plenty of professional services firms think that putting their logo on everything is all that’s needed – but it takes more than that to give a truly cohesive visual identity. A brand overhaul could help bring everything into line.
It’s just like everyone else
Your brand image does a very important job – it distinguishes you from your competitors. Although law firm branding isn’t likely to be too wacky and ‘out there’, it should be recognisable and distinctive.
Anyone visiting your website or walking past your offices should be able to immediately recognise that it’s your business. If your branding is generic and uninspired, it won’t help you to stand out from the crowd and reveal what’s special about your offer.
It’s not just like everyone else – it’s worse!
Are you losing customers, not because of price, reputation or customer service, but because your main rival has a slicker, more professional brand image?
Of course, you already know your business is the best out there. But look at your branding and that of your competitors side by side and be really honest with yourself – is your brand identity good enough? Better still, ask someone independent for their opinion – which firm gives the best first impression?
If you come out the loser, learn lessons from your competitors and listen to the feedback you’ve received (after all, it’s free research), and then up your game.
In law, as in other professional services, it’s hugely important that your image is polished and not amateurish. Why would customers trust you to handle their legal affairs if your website looks cheap and there’s a spelling mistake in your letterhead? Attention to detail is absolutely vital.
Try asking a few trusted friends or loyal customers to be honest about whether your brand image gives a thoroughly professional impression.
Unfortunately, sometimes businesses need to recover their reputation when things go wrong. If you’re looking to move on from past mistakes, improve a less-than-stellar public image, or just re-establish the business in a new light, a rebrand could be the solution.
Just make sure that rebranding isn’t an empty PR gesture while failing to address the real issues – the world won’t be fooled.