Law Firm Rebranding Guide – Is it time for your firm to rebrand?
Without doubt, focusing on developing your brand can help you associate your law firm with certain qualities or characteristics that make you special or unique in the minds of clients and potential instructing agents.
As we have previously discussed in our law firm branding guide here, we often hear that a law firm has “rebranded” only to find that all that has changed is that their logo has been redrawn and is rendered in a slightly different font and colour palette.
Just as the term ‘brand’ is often misused, the decision to rebrand is often taken without any real strategic thought as to how the rebrand will dovetail with overarching business objectives. The decision to rebrandis a serious one and can affect how clients view your company, positively or negatively.
With increased numbers of mergers happening throughout the land and a steady flow of new entrants coming to market, it can be tempting to view your existing brand as tired and outdated and think that rebranding your law firm is enough to keep you competitive in an increasingly constricted market.
Our guide to law firm rebranding covers the following:-
- When should your law firm rebrand? Top 4 situations
- When should your law firm not rebrand? Top 4 instances
- Think digitally – getting your brand to work as hard as it can
When should your law firm rebrand? Top 4 situations
So, to the million dollar question, under what circumstances should your law firm rebrand? (Please note, if you do decide that you need to rebrand, we can help you for considerably less than that. For further information please contact Chris for an informal chat).
1. The phone isn’t ringing
Are you losing clients to your competition? Are you finding new instructions harder to come by? If so then a root and branch review of your business is required, including an audit of your brand. Does the way you present yourself to market still resonate with your target audience? If not, then a rebrand should be considered.
2. Your corporate visual identity is outdated
If your corporate visual identity doesn’t accurately reflect who you are or the services you provide, consider rebranding. We recently spoke with a law firm whose impressive international list of clients belong at the bleeding edge of their respective sectors. The firm’s public facing touch-points are not aligned to their target audience and we are working with them to rectify this. It is important that your corporate visual identity accurately represents who you are.
3. Targeting a different audience
We have spoken to several firms recently who have been affected by the recent changes to legal aid funding and are trying to reposition themselves to appeal to a different audience. Rebranding can assist your law firm with aligning yourself with a new target audience.
4. Change of management
Your law firm’s founding Partner(s) is retiring and the new management team has a different set of values and fresh approach to delivering your services. This may be a good time to rebrand, to show existing clients and potential instructing agents what makes your law firm different and where is it heading.
When should your law firm not rebrand? Top 4 instances
1. Change of management
Alternatively, just because there is a change at the top it doesn’t mean that there is going to be a change in your law firm’s direction or value proposition. Rebranding for the sake of rebranding is not a good idea.
2. Internal issues
If you are faced with internal issues, rebranding your law firm will not act as a magic wand that will cure all ills. The rebranding process should be undertaken once your house is in order and everybody is facing in the right direction.
3. Budget restraints
Rebranding your law firm won’t be cheap. Consider a brand refresh that retains elements of the original branding (such as the same logo or name).
4. Brand strength
This point may not be as relevant to the legal sector, but if your audience has an attachment to the visual aspect of your brand, then you need to give careful to consideration to moving away from the familiar and articulate your reasons for doing so. If you have strong brand recognition, it isn’t always a good idea to change your look and feel as many companies have learnt to their peril.
Think digitally – getting your brand to work as hard as it can
In the current climate, it is vital that your brand works as hard for you as it possibly can, both on line and off. Of course, working with a digital marketing agency as I do it would be remiss of me not to remind you that law firms now need to think digitally. Don’t let your great brand down by an online presence that doesn’t do it justice.
If you are rebranding, from a digital perspective, here are three things to consider:-
1. Your domain
If you are changing the name of your law firm, make sure the new domain is available. The simplest way to find out is to visit www.123-reg.co.uk or similar and search for the domain you want. It also makes sense to purchase as many different suffixes of the domain as possible (e.g. .com, .co.uk) to reduce the risk of cybersquatting. There are also other niche domains that may be of interest eg .scot for Scottish firms, .london for London based entities, .law as a potential option also, and many others. In most instances at the moment, .com and .co.uk are still the key ones to acquire. If the domain you want is not available, it’s possible to find out who owns it by visiting www.whois.net/ or similar and searching for the domain there. If the domain is registered but not in use then there may be a conversation to be had to find out if current owner would be willing to give/sell you the domain.
2. Website (of course)
First impressions count, and your website will very often will be a prospect’s first contact with you or your firm. It’s important to put your best foot forward and, as I mentioned earlier, make sure that your website accurately reflects who you are, what you do, and is targeted towards your intended audience. For further information on what makes a great law firm website check out our recent blog on the subject.
Our Operations Director, Gavin Ward, comments:- “It’s tempting for a law firm to consider completely redesigning their website as part of a brand refresh. And this is understandable. But one of the main pitfalls is that a complete redesign can wipe out great SEO and content marketing work done previously and as a result firms can potentially see enquiries dropping off a cliff. To avoid the panic and reduced profit this can cause, it’s important to ensure the web design team works closely with the SEO experts to ensure complete continuity, if not improvement, on results as part of a redesign/rebrand. Just as one technical example, say your firm wants many new modern images to replace existing images on the site – has your team thought about the alt text behind each image? If the alt text gets de-optimised it could drop your performance in search. There are many considerations so it’s important to be as thorough as possible.”
3. Social media
The power of social media is immense and, when harnessed correctly, can be a great tool to help you build brand awareness and grow your business.
Our social media marketing manager, Stacy Nelson notes “When rebranding, try to grab the social media profiles as soon as possible. It’s vital to include social media in your rebranding timeline. Consider when you’re going to announce it, whether you want to start new social profiles or rebrand the old ones, and how you’re going to ensure that your followers still know where to find you. For more tips on rebranding your social media, get in touch with me here or check out our helpful guide on the subject.”
Thinking about undertaking a complete rebrand or refresh for your law firm? Contact us
Whether you require to undertake a complete rebrand, a brand refresh, or would simply like to improve the look and feel of your on-line collateral, we can help. Contact Chris today for an informal chat.
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