Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, said “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”.
Your personal brand exists whether you consciously create it or not. So you might as well control the message.
When considering your personal brand, think about your value proposition. Not your law firm’s, but yours.
- What makes you unique?
- Why would a client choose you as their lawyer instead of all of the other lawyers out there?
- How are you different from the competition?
Perhaps you are passionate about your industry, perhaps you used to work in the field before you went to law school, perhaps you only work with a certain type of client in a particular industry, perhaps you give clients your cell phone number and actually answer it when they call, perhaps you are known as the go-to lawyer in a particular field, perhaps your background makes you stand out from others.
There is something that makes you unique from your competition.
Whatever it is, this is how you differentiate yourself from others and build your personal brand.
Once you have determined your value proposition, you need to then determine how you communicate that to prospective clients. Remember, you control the message so you get to decide what you want to say and how you want to say it.
If you are in a law firm, you may wonder whether you need to establish a personal brand. After all, your firm pays big bucks to market itself and its people. Shouldn’t that be enough?
Unfortunately not. The way you interact with and market yourself to potential clients can help you stand out from the crowd and win the work. Once you have developed a rapport with the client and done excellent work for them, they will likely be a client for life. Remember, clients hire lawyers, not law firms.
Even though your firm may have a marketing department, you need to keep in mind your personal brand. How can you ensure that your personal brand shines through? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Law Firm Bio
Your firm may have a generic template that they would like you to use to draft your bio but more often than not, it’s up to you to create that content. In that case, you likely do what most lawyers in this situation would do – copy what other lawyers in your firm are doing. That’s exactly what I did when I was in Big Law.
The only thing this will do is make sure you blend in with all of the other lawyers in your firm. Instead, focus on your value proposition and what sets you apart. For example, if you are a criminal lawyer and you are passionate about helping clients at the lowest moment of their lives, talk about that. A well-written bio is more about your client than it is about you. But that’s a post for another day. In the meantime, ask yourself, how do you help people? How do you solve your client’s pain points? In addition, don’t forget to mention some of your wins. Have you spoken or written at industry events (more on that below)? Make sure to mention those!
2. LinkedIn Profile and Content
Even if you don’t think your clients are on LinkedIn, other lawyers are there. And other lawyers can be excellent referral opportunities. Make sure that your profile is up to date and focuses on the message that you want to get across. You don’t want to say you are a Corporate Lawyer in Toronto who has experience with M&A, Joint Ventures, Incorporations and Financings. Instead, get specific and talk specifically about the type of work that you do. You could say you are a Corporate Lawyer in Toronto who helps entrepreneurs navigate the startup environment. Get creative and use keywords that describe your ideal client.
If you are posting content on LinkedIn (and I hope that you are), make sure that it is in line with your personal brand. LinkedIn is a powerful way to develop your brand (for free!). Post content that differentiates you from the crowd.
3. Marketing Opportunities
Ensure that you market yourself and your services in a way that is in line with your brand. If you are a lawyer for nurses, you want to attend the big events for nurses. Heck, don’t just attend, apply to speak or sponsor a table. Get outside of your comfort zone.
Think about different ways that you can subtly convey your brand. Consider podcasts, writing for publications, speaking at events, or even creating your own videos.
There are many ways that you can develop your personal brand. The key is to know the message that you want to convey and then start sharing that with your audience.
How do you convey your personal brand? Let me know in the comments!
I was trained on Bay Street and worked in Big Law for nearly a decade before going solo. I now help other solo/small firm lawyers launch and build their practices, through 1:1 consulting. I help lawyers implement a marketing strategy, hire help, overcome mindset blocks and build a profitable firm that suits their lifestyle. Interested in learning more? Check out my services page.