This post will be the first in a three part series in which I will discuss three fundamental concepts for attorneys to consider with regards to their business development and marketing efforts: 1) Identifying your personal brand; 2) Identifying your key audience; and 3) Using key messages as you network with this audience. In today’s post, I’ll discuss the importance of attorneys giving careful consideration to their individual brands as they seek to differentiate themselves from other attorneys in a competitive marketplace.
Personal branding is all about identifying and articulating what makes you different – positive, professional differences that would lead to a prospective client choosing you over another attorney in your field. Jeff Bullas recently posted a fantastic article on his website about promoting your personal brand via social media. Take 15 minutes to answer the following questions about yourself:
- What makes you distinctive from your competitors? (From other attorneys in your field?)
- What have you done lately.. this week.. last month to stand out?
- What would your colleagues or your customers say is your greatest and clearest strength? Your most noteworthy personal trait?
- What do I do that adds remarkable measured distinguished distinctive value?
- What do I do that that I am most proud of or I unabashedly brag about or shamelessly take credit for?
- What do I want to be famous for?
As an attorney, you may also wish to consider:
- Is there a particular niche within your practice area that you would like to grow?
- Do you have a depth of experience and knowledge in a certain industry?
- Look at other successful attorneys in your area of practice: What have they done to be successful practitioners and rainmakers?
- Do you have an extensive network of contacts that allows you to connect your clients with the people and resources that solve problems unrelated to your practice?
- How do you use technology to better serve clients?
(A quick note on being the cheapest. I would encourage all attorneys to think twice before branding themselves as the least expensive attorney. Differentiating yourself through a rock-bottom hourly rate will only lead to high-maintenance clients who will jump ship for the next attorney who will do the work for $10 less an hour. In the market we are facing today, there will always be a cheaper option.)
Whitney Johnson of Harvard Business Review discusses recent research by a Harvard Professor on 8 different types of intelligence, and how her strengths helped her succeed on Wall Street.