Brand Presence Matters, Especially for Small Firms
Professional firms communicate their values to the market by different means. The quality of service is essential to both retain clients and attract new ones. And quality means providing services that satisfy client needs.
A strong brand is essential to communicate those values. It identifies in a word, sentence or image the different elements about the firm: its services, the team, history, past positive experiences, etc. It captures the "fundamentals" of the firm and identifies all of its characteristics.
There could be some legislative limits on branding. For example, in some countries, the name of the partners is required to be the name of the firm. Even in these cases, some components of what composes a brand needs to be considered. A firm’s logo, use of images, typography and colors are all very important communication elements. Today everybody is exposed to thousands of visual stimuli. A strong brand expresses the specific and differential values of the firm, and facilitates its identification in the marketplace.
Is your brand strong enough?
Firstly, consider what the firm wants to communicate. If it is the personal expertise of one or two partners, then use their names. If it is the size or range of services of the team, a more abstract name can be effectively devised. In addition, consider the general market position of the firm: is it local? Specialized? Has it been established or is it new? These factors all impact brand development. Some general tips include:
The name should be as short as possible, easy to remember, and original. The longer the name, the more difficult it can be to remember. In addition, brands that mean something are easier to remember than just a combination of letters, especially if those letters are consonants.
An image can give personality to the brand and help it stand out. Very well-known logos are visual representations of the firm’s attributes or values e.g. quality, stability, innovation, etc. It is not easy to design an appropriate logo, but the objective is to devise one that resonates with the key messages that the firm wants to communicate.
3. Slogan and Taglines
An established name will conjure the firm’s values, but at the end of the day, it’s just a name. A slogan or tagline helps solidify the brand’s identity and express its differential values and characteristics. The slogan or tagline should be memorable and impart a positive feeling about the brand and firm.
Colors will be part of the personality that the firm wants to communicate. It is important to pay attention to the cultural understanding of colors as this can impact the choice. The choice may depend on the image which the firm would like to present e.g. new firms may choose more vibrant colors to reflect their youth and dynamism.
Typography is a significant part of branding. It is imperative that the written language is legible, readable and visually appealing when it is displayed.
It is also important from time-to-time to reconsider an existing brand. It may need to be refreshed when it no longer aligns with the present attributes of the firm, if the firm is planning a strategic change in direction, or if the firm has undergone a merger or acquisition and the firm wants the market to understand that it has significantly changed.
If the firm wants to keep the "essentials" of the old branding, a refresh could still be appropriate after a period of time. The name, logo, colors, typography, and tagline can be maintained or changed to present a different image, which is considered more in line with the firm’s present values.
In summary, all firms need to pay close attention to their brand. It should be viewed as an essential part of the marketing and communication strategy, and seen as critical to both retaining and attracting new clients and staff.