Branding is a Strategic Asset that Morphs into Revenue Generation

Has your brand with its “unique selling points” been incorporated into your marketing initiatives to propel your business development success? Are you using it to demonstrate how and why you are different from others in your space?

The first questions to consider when delving into a brand’s impact involve exploring the clarity of its messaging, its unique appeal, its market position, and the effectiveness and depth of differentiation it offers from the competition.
Consider answering these questions about your own brand:
Are my unique distinctions and areas of focus uniformly and clearly presented in all marketing efforts?

When a new viewer comes to the Home page on my website, do they get who we are, what we do, and why we do it, all within seconds?

Does my LinkedIn Profile pay off my brand and unique essence in the same way? Do my posts demonstrate clear thought leadership and industry knowledge?
Is the messaging throughout my website consistent and clear? Do I offer examples of client successes that pay off my distinctions and areas of expertise?
Have I considered how I am distinct from others in my space and do I offer that up to potential clients? (Why would a potential client/customer choose us?)

Branding is no fool’s errand. It is a deep and involved process that can provide a big payoff in driving revenue. Very few professionals have the luxury of being the only person in their space. Take marketing consultants, for example. I was recently in a Zoom networking meeting in which there were three marketing consultants. Each of us offered distinctive services and positioned ourselves completely differently.

For example, take Susan Gold, of Susan Gold Coaching. Susan’s position clearly shows her position in the marketplace as a “Marketing Strategy Coach working with B2B businesses to help them attract their ideal clients.”

Susan works with her clients digging deeply to uncover the best marketing strategies that will produce the most effective results. https://www.linkedin.com/in/susanmgold/

When Michele Correnti, of Correnti Marketing & Events, explained her line of services we quickly understood that she helps law firms build and clarify their online presence. She offers a niche market service in her well-defined area of focus. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelecorrenti/

When it was my turn to reveal the areas of competence at EM Consulting, I shared our brand or tag line, “Our business is developing yours℠.” I included the words from my LinkedIn Profile headline copy, “Award-winning biz dev consultant driving revenue connecting your distinctions with the unique and sustained client and potential client interactions.”

Our services start by clarifying the client’s brand messaging. Next, we apply it to their website (or create a new one if the site is older than three to four years as web technologies have morphed) and also to LinkedIn. We create solid marketing and business development plans creating a unique and sustained offering. The goal is to combine clients with potential clients in their targeted industries, vertical market, or the space the client plays in. Simply stated, our brand is driving revenue. https://www.linkedin.com/in/merryneitlich/

Three consultants, all marketing professionals, but offering different and specific areas of expertise.

At another meeting I attended, there were three insurance professionals present. Each one worked in a different space and was well branded.

By way of example, take Frank Campbell of Stratus Financial Planning. Frank’s company performs custom analysis of life insurance plans because – wait for it – 88% of all plans do not deliver what the owner of the plan expected. There are a myriad of reasons why so many plans fail. Frank uncovers them and can correct over 80% of those policies’ deficiencies. https://www.linkedin.com/in/frank-m-campbell-clu-98b91040/

Then, there’s Jim Better. Jim shares a personal story of a family member who ran out of funds needed for their long-term care. This had a devastating effect on his family. Jim took his years of experience selling insurance now singularly focusing on helping individuals secure long-term health care insurance. Jim understands the devasting outcome of having no such policy in force. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimbetter/

And finally, we share the story about Aaron May, who heads his company which sells employee benefits for companies’ employees. His firm serves small to mid-size organizations taking great pride in their white-glove and personal service. They work closely with their client companies and their employees taking as much time as needed time to educate them and have them completely understand all of their benefits. The professionals at Ancile Insurance always take the time to answer the myriad of questions to deeply explain coverage offerings, clearing up any confusion. This focus offers true compassion and lots of education creating differentiation for the company in the crowded insurance market. https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-may-930a2572/

Is it the time for you and your company to reflect on your brand’s clarity? Are you using it effectively to create a distinction in the marketplace and to drive new revenue? Branding, after all, is the backbone of strategic marketing. https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/branding-is-the-strategic-backbone-of-84058/

Brand Stories that Position and Drive Revenue

If your website is more than three years old, it might be time to rebrand and get the latest technologies.

Here are the stories of three professional services firms and how they developed their branding to become clear and consistent on their websites. Each was looking to raise their firm’s visibility and to drive an increase in revenue. We worked collaboratively with each firm to uncover their company’s unique distinctions, ultimately creating more robust positioning and clarity for the marketplace. And each entity had its own preferences and goals in how they wanted to use digital marketing.

Stratus Financial Partners

Frank Campbell, the founder of Stratus Financial Partners, sought to develop a more apparent brand and to create a successful implementation of its marketing strategies. In addition to growing his company, Frank had an underlying motivation to help more people. That is Frank to a tee – helping others.

During the brand development process, I was stunned to learn 88% of all life insurance policies don’t pay what is expected. There are numerous reasons why this happens and finding the right person to conduct a policy analysis to discover potential problems can be challenging. It is best to select a professional who is part of a rarified group of only one percent of all licensed insurance brokers: These are the experts who put in the work to become California Licensed Policy Analysts. Frank is one of them and is making a difference to policyholders and their families.

On the company website, www.stratusfp.com, one can read about the Stratus brand, Ensuring families and businesses are protected, and learn about the real reasons policies can fail. The site shares stories of how Frank and his team successfully fix broken policies for a modest fee. There is a small percentage of policies that cannot be righted. When this occurs, Frank’s team explores new policy options for those clients, comparing offerings and rates with over 50 insurance companies to get the perfect policy for each client.

The new website and the personal and company LinkedIn pages are frequently updated with the information clients, potential clients, and referral sources need and want. With this depth of information and deeper brand clarity, Stratus

Financial Partners is positioned for success.

Sumrow Business Law Group

It has become standard practice to replace old websites every three years. We know that the requirements for search engine success are constantly morphing. And after three years, well, those website technologies are simply out of date. The reality is search engines do not favor older sites, especially those which do not offer frequent content updates or have up-to-date technology. The internet and search engines are fickle. They tend to promote sites that are thoroughly optimized and sport the latest Google trends for better analytics. These days, keywords, messaging, and search engine optimization are only a part of the ticket for improving a site’s standing in search results.

Matt Sumrow, the founding partner of Sumrow Business Law Group, knew it was time for a clearer brand and a new website. With Big Law experience and now a solo entrepreneur, Matt’s clients are primarily mid-sized companies that need a corporate attorney to assist with deals, M & As, contracts, and outside general counsel services. Matt prides himself on his new and aligning brand line built from years of experience: Real Insights. Real solutions.

With a bustling practice and no outside marketing support, Matt knew that realistically, he would not be blogging on an ongoing basis nor making frequent website updates. He also knew he needed a new site that offered the latest technology. This new website, www.sumrowlaw.com, was created paying mind to his constraints and goals. Building the site with substantive representative matters, client testimonials, ever-green blogs, and a page of client logos and stories, it was developed it to reflect his expertise and successes. We built-in keywords and organic SEO so the site could stand independently. Matt is a realist. He is not looking to be on the first page of results when potential clients search for a “corporate attorney in Orange County, California.” But he certainly wanted potential clients and referral sources to understand his talents and areas of expertise instantly.

The feedback on his new site produced the results he wanted and needed.

AGA Legal Staffing

For many years, Amy Goldware was a partner with a Los Angeles agency that provided legal staffing solutions. The two partners of this entity split in Q4 of 2021. With a keen focus on client needs and service, Amy needed clear branding and messaging to launch her new company, AGA Legal Staffing. www.agastaffing.com

We collected the most important aspects of what the new company would stand for through the brand development process, incorporating Amy’s tremendous success and skills honed over the years.

The Brand Essence Statement we developed from the branding session stated, “At AGA Legal Staffing, we pride ourselves on delivering lasting solutions. With over 25-years of experience in the trenches, both inside law firms and as recruiters, we believe that good enough isn’t good enough. Integrity touches everything we do. And clients tell us our straightforward approach delivered with honesty, and the ability to pivot on a dime, are the reasons they come back, time and again.”

The website was developed with a client focus, which provides frequent updates on the new website as well as on LinkedIn personal and business pages. The site was highly optimized and filled with the keywords her clients use most often. The transition to the new company became seamless and successfully integrated into the marketplace in short order.

Amy and her staff are committed and focused on their clients’ needs and wants. Through the brand development process, we created the tagline, “More than you expect. Everything you want.” This perfectly represents what Amy and her team had in mind.

Digital & Content Marketing Strategy: Survey highlights and a summary

Just released in July, this 2019 survey, produced by Greentarget and the Zeughauser Group, provides specificity and insight into why content marketing is so important in differentiating your firm and building your brand. Full article here.

According to the survey, the four most important content marketing guidelines readers seek are relevancy, utility, urgency and novelty of the content. Opportunity abounds for those willing to do a deep dive into specific areas. “Many firms spend time defining the problem or issue in their content marketing, but don’t give enough meaningful insight behind the three to five things needed to solve the issue.”

LinkedIn remains the number one business social media platform. Your clients, referral sources and prospects use it to learn, as well as to connect with colleagues and business leaders. Most use LinkedIn to post relevant content to their coveted connections and to tap into groups that align with specific audiences focused on a singular topic.

The results point out the four most important attributes readers seek in social media content. The survey states readers want information to be educational, relevant, easy to read and timely. Although business leaders want drilled down focused content, they are not one-dimensional in their thinking. They don’t mind reading occasional broader topics to learn from – many seek it.

Does your firm have a focused content strategy? Consider who you are trying to reach and who you want to attract. Create a concept that is the core of your social media outreach by posting the relevant and strong information your audience is seeking.

Remember to place content on your website and blogs too. Incorporate key words so that those searching for specific information will find your posts. This will also help to improve the search engine optimization (SEO) of your firm’s website.

It’s 2019 – it’s all about content marketing these days.

How Brand Development can Increase the Value of a Legal Department

These days many corporate legal departments seek to understand a law firm’s distinctions. They want to know how and why they should choose one firm over another – what is the law firm’s differentiation?  ‘Branding’ and ‘Marketing’ are terms that traditionally refer to the ongoing actions implemented by an organization to enhance the sales of the organization’s products and services to increase revenue. And until now, these terms have not typically been connected to legal departments.

It seems to be time to change this. Many legal departments are discovering that their unique brand distinction in how they deliver services to their internal clients may already be there – they just need to be discovered and communicated clearly. Having satisfied clients within the company impacts how the legal department is viewed. It can influence hiring decisions and impact bonuses and salaries. Creating a clear and codified brand allows clients to understand how to best interface with the legal team and what to expect from its services.

You can learn more about increasing the value of the legal department by clicking here.

The Sky is Falling, the Sky is Falling!

The results of the 2019 Altman Weil annual Law Firms in Transition is receiving well-deserved interest from law firm leadership. This year, 362 law firms participated in this annual benchmarking survey. The good news is that most law firms are experiencing improved financial performance. And the issues surrounding what clients are expecting is becoming clearer. Lawyers are busier, per se, and many firms have raised rates.

According to the results, managing partners have long accepted the fact that there is a permanent trend in how the practice of law is and will be practiced. Change is continuing. But increased profits have some law firm leaders relaxing a bit about the impending discussions of “doom” about how the practice of law is changing. Is the sky really falling?

Apparently the sky has not fallen. But at the same time forward thinking firm leaders recognize that high collaboration with firm clients is increasingly essential. And according to the survey, almost all firm leaders agree that the pace of change will remain high or even accelerate.

What do Clients Want?

While clients may not be looking for the low cost leader they are seeking greater transparency and accountability in the delivery of legal services. Over 50% of the firms responded that they are invested in capturing data on the cost of their services. The basics of strong experience and expertise along with a high level of communication, good service and efficient processes remain important criteria for clients when choosing outside firms. And a whopping 96% of law firm leaders agreed that a focus on increased efficiency, and perhaps with it better predictability and innovation, are areas clients are seeking.

A clear, strong and distinctive law firm brand remains important to clients. About half of the respondents of this year’s survey said their firms are clearly differentiated from the competition. But what about those firms that have yet to go through a brand development process to identify, codify and implement a clear brand which consistently supports and reflects their unique distinctions? These firms make it difficult for clients and potential clients to understand why a firm with a muddled brand should be chosen.

The survey results report 78% of firms have created a more collaborative culture resulting in improved firm performance. Altman Weil suggests compensation systems should reward increased collaboration and better client service.

The survey did not explore additional issues that are increasingly vocalized by legal departments such as which technologies are preferred, how they use artificial intelligence, or how to incorporate problem solving solutions such as process mapping to minimize pain points.

Altman Weil’s 2019 Survey states that the demand for law firm services has been flat for years and that the acquisition of new clients is essential for continued growth and sustainability.  And according to the summary, managing partners are highly concerned about the impending recession. The sky may not be falling but savvy law firm leaders are making sure their firms are realistically facing the changing landscape in the practice of law to secure their futures.

The full survey results provide greater details and explanations.

 

Stop Clowning Around: It’s Time to Create High Engagement with Clients

Websites these days can create “high-engagement” if they are designed to offer fresh content which will attract clients, potential clients and repeat visitors. Many law firm websites are outdated and not built with the technology for easy to post strong content which would assist clients in meeting their business goals. Law firms of all sizes should be considering updating to current technologies and website strategies in order to stay relevant and to bring in new business.

When law firms jumped into having websites, most were not designed to extend the firm’s brand and disseminate thought-leadership content. These days, firms must view their websites as more than an electronic version of old-fashioned printed brochures. In this old model, bios and practice area descriptions were considered to be the most important content—and client focused content, such as articles, blog posts, and thought-leaderships pieces, were not offered. Even today, many law firms don’t publish fresh and relevant content on their websites. Rather, they do not update their websites to engage their coveted audiences. Some may post fresh content on their blogs or social media outlets, which does not engage viewers to stay on their website and learn more about the firm, its capabilities and unique differentiators.

Fortunately, this is changing. As the market for legal services has become more competitive firms have begun creating more content as a means of distinguishing themselves from the competition. These firms are seeing their websites as publishing opportunities yielding increased website engagement.

The bottom line is that law firms must invest in themselves and consistently develop fresh and client-focused content to maximize the return on their investment. It only makes sense that now, even firms that have resisted, are stepping up and revamping their websites to maximize the chance that visitors will read the firm’s best reputation-enhancing content and engage more thoroughly on their websites.

With years of helping law firms create client-centric and business development focused websites, we, at EM Consulting, are poised to help your firm maximize the return of investing in your website.

Three Simple LinkedIn Updates that Will make you a Standout

There are a few easy tasks every LinkedIn user can do to easily improve the impact of their LinkedIn profile. Here are several to consider.

The cover image behind your profile picture starts with the default standard turquoise blue background with the lines running through it. You can make a greater impact by selecting a custom image that is 1584 x 394 pixels. (If you are not adept at this, any graphic artist can convert an image for you.) For example, you can take your company logo or an interesting horizontal image from your website and insert that easily into the cover image slot. This immediately makes you stand out from the literally millions of LinkedIn users who stay with the staid turquoise cover image. The down side of staying with this default image is it tends to say, “I don’t use LinkedIn very much.”

Another easy thing to accomplish is to update your Headline statement. Many users type in their firm name in their headline when LinkedIn has already automatically inserted your company name on the right side of your Profile page just under your cover image. Why not take this opportunity to customize your Headline turning it into something that articulates exactly what you do. For example rather than repeat your firm name there, write something more compelling in this space such as, “Trial Attorney Specializing in Business Litigation and Attorney Malpractice.”

Our final tip: review your Profile Summary. You can find it just under your cover image. In your Summary, do you repeatedly say, “I do this, and I do that?” Do you have long paragraphs that seem to go on and on? Or do you take the time to create a more branded approach and describe what you do and how you solve problems for people? We always recommend keeping the copy to two short paragraphs and then perhaps listing specific skills or services that you offer. Keep this simple format so readers can quickly ascertain who you are, what you do and how you do it. Keep some of those details about your firm or company for the “Experience” portion below the Profile Summary.

These few updates can assist those who view your Profile page to get a clearer understanding of what you do. After all, according to research from Forbes, over 60% of individuals will check you out on LinkedIn before they will go to your company website. Don’t you check out contacts or potential contacts on LinkedIn this way?

Branding is the Strategic Backbone of Law Firm Marketing

Law firms are increasingly gaining a deeper and more refined understanding that strong branded efforts can have on a firm’s bottom line. Branding uncovers that unique position and differentiation from other firms in the same space. Corporate America has been successfully utilizing branding forever. When the awareness of branding first began to get the attention of law firms, most were skeptical – it was something new and quite different. Many doubted it was more than just smoke and mirrors. These days, law firms and other professional service providers are gaining client share by developing strong brands and then consistently using their unique messaging throughout their websites, blogs, client pitches, content marketing, events and advertising. This article on JD Supra provides a detailed look at how to use branding as your firm’s strategic asset in developing marketing and business development plans that yield results.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/branding-is-the-strategic-backbone-of-84058/

 

The Crown Jewel of Content Marketing: Storytelling

The legal profession has come a long way, baby. Social media marketing has taken a firm hold in the legal profession. At this point only the laggards remain uninvolved in any social media. And to think the ABA Technology Committee published this quote back in 2016, “Taking control of your online presence is a necessity, and there are few better ways to do so than social media. Used carefully, social media can give your firm a voice, amplify your professional reputation, and help drive new business.

Content marketing is king but the crown jewel of content marketing is allowing your knowledge to shine through storytelling. I mean who doesn’t want to hear a great story? By combining fresh content in your area of expertise or brand with stories about your industry, clients, organizations and experiences, attorneys can provide interesting and compelling reading to clearly and meaningfully demonstrate their knowledge and brand distinction.

Take the boutique law firm of Tredway Lumsdaine & Doyle (TLD Law). They qualified this year to become a member of the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF). Less than 2% of all law firms qualify. The firm recognizes the enormous opportunity it possesses to let its branded culture of diversity and inclusion shine. To TLD, it is more than just having diverse bodies in the firm, it’s also the ability to incorporate a variety of opinions, ideas and concepts when solving challenging legal issues that make this claim come alive. Fortune 500 companies seek out NAMWOLF members to help fulfil their need and/or requirement to hire minority and diverse attorneys. Storytelling, as a part of a well-defined content marketing strategy, can increase the ability for TLD Law to earn more client and potential client engagement.

The firm has embraced storytelling and branded messaging as part of its content marketing to consistently expand its presence in the marketplace with clients and potential clients.

What area(s) do you wish to promote and be known for? Once an attorney or law firm fleshes this out, it’s only a matter of time using consistent storytelling and content marketing to increase your practice’s footprint and business development success.