Socrates, the classical Greek philosopher, would have made a great marketing man. Like any successful marketer, he understood that before you look across the horizon with your world-shaking plans, look within.
That’s where marketing plans are born. They start with a careful, comprehensive review of one’s brand assets, one’s personality. As a legal professional, where the brand is ultimately you, this process calls for a high degree of objectivity. Not an easy thing to do.
Here’s a thought to keep in mind as you begin your assessment: Your clients don’t purchase your brand. They experience it. And they experience it as all of us do, through our senses. As you work to identify your brand assets I’d recommend you try some role-playing. Step for a moment into your client’s shoes and ask yourself these three questions: “To this target individual and key part of my business, what does my brand 1) … feel like? 2) … sound like? and 3) … look like? ”
1) What does my brand feel like?
Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The emotional component is a powerful asset in any brand. Ask yourself: What benefits am I providing my clients (ex. delivering on promises, meeting/exceeding expectations, etc.) and how do they feel about their experience with me? Warm, comforted, encouraged, secure?
2) What does my brand sound like?
How does it sound when you talk to your clients, on the phone or in person? What are the features, the promises that you offer? Does it sound dependable, reassuring? Does it sound informed, in control? Does it sound like you’ve added value? Does it sound like an attorney your clients would recommend to their family and friends (perhaps the most important sound of all)?
3) What does my brand look like?
A brand’s appearance can be a pretty elusive thing. Your brand is not a logo or trademark, color palette, or the masthead at the top of your website. While all of these contribute to your visual identity, there’s more. It’s how you present yourself – your wardrobe choice, your office setting, the documents you create and present. Do they add up to a consistent look? Does everything your client see and experience look like the trusted legal advisor you want to be? Are you visually instilling the qualities you wish to convey: confidence, pride, service-minded, professional?
Write your answers down, organized by the three questions above. Review them. Edit and revise them. If you can, run them by a trusted client or a business associate who knows you and your practice. Ask them the three questions and maybe incorporate their answers. Make sure what you end up with is credible, but also a little aspirational. When you have a final “sensory” inventory of your brand assets, you’ll have a clearer sense of your brand portrait or personality. You’re now ready to start crafting your marketing message, a topic I’ll be addressing in a future blog.