Most lawyers today know how important it is to have a brand. Their business cards, commercials, and websites all try to build an image and bring customers to their doors. But does your brand meet clients there, or is their in-office experience turning them off to your practice?
What is your law firm’s brand? Are you a “full-service” general practitioner who can handle all of your client’s needs in one place? Do you have a niche practice that appeals to people in a specific industry? Are you affordable? Exclusive? Cutting Edge?
There are a lot of ways that modern law firms try to set themselves apart from the pack. Attorneys spend thousands of dollars on websites and branding to build an image and appeals to a particular kind of client. But if your office presence doesn’t match your brand, you could be turning clients away.
I am blogger and the type of lawyer who is always looking out for new cases and statutes. So I have cultivated a brand as a cutting-edge lawyer. But I recently realized that my office space isn’t telling the same story.
When my office mate and I moved into our space 18 months ago, we weren’t so worried about appearances. We borrowed a glass table and a couple of chairs from his storage to cut costs. We didn’t bother to buy signage or hang much in the way of art. Our office was comfortable, mostly, but not very fashionable.
But recently, I have begun to think more about what that garage-sale furniture says about my law practice. When clients sit down across the table to talk to me, what does my furniture say? Cutting edge? Certainly not.
My furniture and office presence promised that I was a bargain basement lawyer. I didn’t value my image or my space. I wasn’t even overly concerned with people being able to find me. It told clients I wasn’t worth the price I was quoting.
So how can you or I build a consist brand presence, online and off? We need to recognize that a brand is more than a business card. It includes everything that helps tell your story. For me, that will include buying some new furniture, art, and a better sign for my door. I will choose furniture that communicates that I am forward thinking, not stuffy. Comfortable and approachable, not pretentious. I may even want install some technology, like digital signage, to be consistent with my cutting-edge image.
Depending on your brand, your office could be undercutting your message. Try looking at your office with the eyes of a prospective client. What do they see when they walk in your door? Is it telling your story? If not, you may need to make a change.
Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She writes blogs and websites for law firms and small businesses. If you need help refining your brand, contact Legal Linguist to schedule a meeting.