The essential steps to rebranding for law firms

The essential steps to rebranding for law firms

It is part of the cut and thrust of the legal world that many firms rebrand, be it through mergers or a general freshen up of their corporate image.

However, the steps to rebranding can often be mired with issues, which can frustrate many of those involved.  Yet much of this could be avoided, with some foresight.

Firstly though, it is important to strike the right balance – remembering to pay respect to your firm’s history, but also what in the here and now you truly represent as a business. There are too many law firms, which seem very similar to their competitors, so it makes it difficult for consumers to choose.  Make sure you put a lot of thought into this at the outset and have a clear strategy for your firm before undertaking any rebrand.

Working with many law firms, we’ve seen this done well, but equally not so well. There are some disasters but, thankfully, none that we have ever had input too.

For instance, whilst many follow the traditional route of naming themselves after their founding partners, it can cause issues, if not reigned in.

Too many names are a bad start, which does not help. Taylor, Rhodes and Le Bon works well (incidentally, those of you of a certain age will know this example is no accident)

However, adding other names to this can be just too much.

One of the worst examples we’ve seen is a law firm with four names, which we had some dealings with. Let’s call them FKPL Solicitors for the sake of their pride. However, when we found them cropping up in conversation some time later, do you think we could remember what they were called?

You can be sure they will have lost business through this unwieldy acronym.

It’s okay to use such acronyms when they are memorable and can be used well. For instance, most people not interested in football will know what QPR means or a better example might be the BBC, but by it doesn’t really matter as the acronym has been cemented into the subconscious.

Our law firm, incidentally are not the only ones who have made this mistake. There are a handful of solicitors who have gone down this unwise acronym route.

Of course, the case may be that Mr Lee from our imaginary FKPL firm may have retired in 1983. In that case, is his name really that vital three decades or more later?

In changing times for the modern legal sector, rebranding to take out a couple of names is one of the reasons a law firm may want to refresh their brand.

If you are thinking of rebranding, ask yourself does the look and feel of the brand look outdated in the modern legal arena.  Will it appeal to a new generation of customers, as well as your current clients?

Has your business evolved and the brand you currently have totally out of kilter with who you are? Asking why you want to change will help ensure your new branding and positioning in the marketplace is the right one.

If you are going for a rebrand though, be careful not to go too wild and wacky. Generally, this isn’t something law firms are known for, but it does happen.

Perhaps it’s just your logo that needs some work, rather than garish lime green letters on a yellow background. Understated elegance is a better option, as reputation is closely linked with brand. A seismic shift in your brand is a risk that can upset your customers, especially the ones who have been with you for a long time.

Once you’ve got your new designs, do a little bit of research and ask some trusted confidantes how it looks.  At the end of the day, imagery is important (logos, websites etc.) but it is important to remember your brand proposition also.  Who are your clients, your marketplace, who are you choosing to communicate your brand too?

And, whatever you do, don’t let too many cooks spoil the broth. A rebrand is obviously something that individuals will feel passionately about, but in truth it’s hugely subjective. With no right or wrong, it’s like arguing over what’s a better colour paint on a Dulux chart. There is no correct answer, so discuss it amongst a trusted few and then let there be a vote.

Also, make sure you introduce your new brand to your clients, explaining through as many channels as you can both online and offline the reasons behind the change. This ensures your stakeholders will buy in and still feel part of the firm.

Lastly, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

Your name, logo etc., may be fine. Perhaps, a new website or some signage is all that’s needed.

Rebrand when it feels right. Take the time to do it right and carefully remember – evolution is better than revolution.

We hope this article has been of help and if you’re in need of any advice, please feel free to talk to us about this.  We’re happy to help.