March 30, 2015

How to Streamline Law Firm Rebranding

Law Firm Rebranding – not quite as catchy as the title of my new favorite TV show about lawyers, “Better Call Saul.” I first fell in love with the main character, Jimmy McGill a/k/a Saul Goodman, when he appeared on “Breaking Bad.” In a recent episode, Saul intentionally ripped off the branding of his legal rival to “fire a shot over their bow.” As fast as you can say, “S’all good man” (the inspiration for his name), he wound up being served a “Cease and Desist Order” to quit using the branding. In this case, Saul failed with his law firm rebranding. In the real world, there are even more rules and regulations related to law firm marketing and branding than in Saul’s world.

Some of my best friends are lawyers. I always marvel at how often they switch firms or experience other changes to their firms’ partnerships. On TV and in real life, everyone wants to make “Partner,” with “Named Partner” being even better because it comes with a corner office, name on all signage and top billing on the letterhead.

Law firm rebranding is much more than just changing the name on the front door. Lawyers understand brand equity and the value of a strong brand. While the trend has moved away from branding the firm with the names of three or more partners to creating a brand with a dynamic, shorter name, changes to the partnership trigger all kinds of law firm rebranding activity.

Think about all of the digital and physical materials that display the law firm’s brand.
One key challenge in law firm rebranding is the sheer volume of printed materials and online templates that need to be changed. We’re talking brochures, business cards, envelopes, invoices, legal documents, letterhead, presentations, websites and white papers.

Law firm rebranding isn’t limited to online and printed materials. For law firms that are active in the community and sponsor organizations or events, their logos appear on banners, booths and promotional items like mugs and pens, not to mention the logos they’ve given to their strategic partners to use on ads, signage and other forms of recognition.

Law firm rebranding efforts involve marketing departments (if they exist) and/or branding consultants, office managers, HR departments, IT departments, other staff members and the lawyers themselves. Looking through templates, file cabinets, and closets to identify everywhere the brand appears is time-consuming. And a conflict often arises between billable hours and non-billable (branding) hours, which is why we recommend using a checklist for law firm rebranding to streamline the process. We also created an “Other Branded Asset” mobile app that gives us the flexibility to build a comprehensive brand touchpoint database for clients regardless of industry.

So the next time you go through a partnership change and law firm rebranding becomes your focus, don’t be like Jimmy. Do it right the first time.