As consumers, we are surrounded by brands every day. From the Nike swoosh, to the Chipotle pepper, to that woman-like logo at Starbucks, brand images are everywhere. These images are only the visual representation of the brand, but what really matters is the meaning behind the brand. So keep this thought in mind as you read the rest of this blog post: brands are not logos, color schemes and taglines. A brand is a promise of the value that the customer or client will receive. Therefore, the Nike swoosh represents the Nike brand of high performance, high quality athletic gear. The pepper represents convenient, quality Mexican food with fresh ingredients (admittedly, the Chipotle brand took a hit in the recent past due to food-born illness). The Starbucks brand is premium coffee products in a cool setting.
Not only do companies have brands, so do people! Take Lady Gaga for example. Her brand as a pop music superstar starts with her costumes and stunts. She continuously keeps herself in the headlines – many times having nothing to do with her music abilities. She defines herself on a regular basis by not allowing others to do so on her behalf. While she sells out concerts and makes headlines, her message remains consistent. She inspires and encourages her Little Monsters which is an affectionate term for her fans – young women and girls.
While you as a lawyer are not an internationally-known superstar, you can, and should, create their own personal brand. How do you start?
Step One – Do a Self-Evaluation
What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
Do you have core value(s)?
List your interests and passions.
What are your key personality attributes?
Do you have a purpose?
After you do a self-evaluation, test if you are self-aware. Because what you believe may not be what others see. Therefore, for verification, ask three close family members or friends the questions above. This is key: BE AUTHENTIC.
Step Two – Create Your Unique Personal Brand Statement Geared Towards Your Target Audience
What three or four keywords really express your best qualities as a lawyer? These keywords should come from your confirmed self-evaluation from above. The keywords can come from several areas and need to be used in your personal brand statement.
- They can come from your skills and knowledge as a lawyer. For example, I am known for my expertise in the redevelopment of contaminated properties.
- Keywords can come from your personality attributes – my sense of humor allows me to connect with my clients.
- Maybe, your statement is based upon a passion. My love of craft beer has led me to dedicate my practice t representing brewers with their licensing needs.
The options are endless. Think outside the lawyer box.
Step Three – Your Personal Brand Statement Is Complete – Now What?
Promote it and live it. Here are some areas that you should include your brand statement.
- Social Media
- Speaking Engagements
- Writing and Blogging
- Your Bio
- Your Photo
All of your actions need to reinforce your brand. So become your brand and incorporate it into all of your client interactions. Clients will pay more for a premium brand than they will for a generic brand. Think about this next time you are picking up a prescription from the pharmacy.
We will leave you with this quote – “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be the head marketer called You.” – Tom Peters, The Brand Called You.