Branding is not just for soda companies or celebrities.
Your professional brand is your reputation in the market and lets people know what the experience of working with you will be like. It’s what immediately comes to mind when people hear your name—what strengths you have and in which areas you excel. Here are a few tips to find and expand your own lawyer brand.
It Must Be Real
Clients and colleagues alike want to not only know that you can do the work, but also what you stand for, what your values are, and who you are as a person. Attempting to project a false image of the kind of legal professional you want people to believe you are—instead of the one you actually are—is never a good idea. Home in on what makes you unique and highlight those things.
Skills that are technically outside of the law but can help you do your job, bring in more business, and/or make people notice you are important, too. For instance: If you’re a great public speaker, giving lectures or talks, or volunteering to run an event, could be advantageous for you. If you have great tech skills, let that be one of the abilities people associate with you.
Use Networking to Your Advantage
Networking is essential for every part of your legal career, including building and expanding your brand. The more connections you have, the more opportunities you will have. Be sure to make as many of those connections as possible into meaningful, mutually beneficial ones.
Increasing your visibility can only help you and may allow you to find a more extensive range of mentors. Social media provides an unending number of ways to connect with different types of people. That said, you do have to establish a niche; think quality more than quantity. Trying to connect with and appeal to an overly broad range of people will end up watering down your message, and might prevent you from targeting enough of the proper audience.
Use Your Clients
Your clients, and the stories of their cases, are what you want to talk about if you are writing about your work online or speaking about your work at an event. Tell their stories—in specific, down-to-earth terms—with yourself as a supporting character. Potential clients care about how you helped others solve problems, how hard you’ll work to achieve a successful outcome, and how caring you are to those who need your help.
Create a portfolio of your successes, but be careful not to simply brag about your accomplishments and list awards you’ve received. Keep in mind that people are not interested in a recitation of facts and legal jargon, but want a story in which they can see themselves as the protagonist, with your expertise and guidance getting them to a satisfactory ending. Always tell the client’s story, not your own, and others will see you as trustworthy and helpful.
Over the next week, sit down and list what you are good at and known for. This is the first step to creating your brand.