Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Can lawyers establish a brand? - David M. Ward

Investor, entrepreneur, and best-selling author Robert Kiyosaki
said, "If you are not a brand, you are a commodity." But can a
lawyer be a brand?

Probably not in the sense that "Clorox" or "McDonalds" are
brands. Most lawyer's names will never be household words. But
within our various market niches, and certainly among our
colleagues, we can indeed establish a successful brand.

You are an estate planning attorney who targets physicians in
your local market. If a survey is done of those physicians and a
preponderance of them mention you when asked if they could name
an estate planning attorney, I think we can agree that you
qualify as a brand.

And that's a good thing.

Being a brand gives you pre-eminence. You get more clients, more
easily. You can charge premium fees. Clients tend to be more
loyal. You'll be thinner, better looking, and have whiter teeth.

Okay, but what about the opposite end of the spectrum: being a
commodity. If we define that as being "average" is that
necessarily a bad thing? No. Earning what the average attorney
earns is nothing to be ashamed of. But why settle for less than
you can achieve?

Developing a brand is not easy to do on a national scale. It's
much easier for a lawyer targeting a niche market.

How do you do it? By crafting the right marketing message for
your target market and focusing all of your time and creative
energy delivering that message, and no other. No mixed messages.
No ambiguity.

But you don't sell a product, you sell yourself. And so more than
merely delivering a marketing message, you must "become" that

Your identity must be fully aligned with your message and market.
You can't merely be a lawyer who happens to handle a certain type
of client or case. You must be perceived as the top expert in
your market, completely dedicated to that market and the people
in it.

Donald Trump is a brand because everything he does, and
everything he is, is consistent and aligned with the image he has
crafted. When you think of real estate and business, you think of
The Donald. And when you think about The Donald, you think about
real estate and business.

Donald Trump is the brand. You must become your own brand.

Fortunately, you don't have to spend as much money as Trump, or
engage in the pompous rhetoric that has become his trademark. And
yes, you can have normal hair.

David M. Ward


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