Last week, we discussed some key steps in building your law firm’s brand — researching, defining your personality and drafting a brand mission statement and vision. Defining your brand voice — the way you speak to and interact with your target audience — takes your brand one step further. Your law firm’s brand voice goes hand in hand with your brand’s personality, bringing it to life in scenarios like advertising and marketing, client communications and networking events.
A strong, consistent brand voice will not only help bring in new clients and form trusting relationships with your customers, it’s the bedrock of your firm’s marketing.
That’s because your law firm’s brand voice touches every aspect of your law firm, including the people you interact with regularly and those you’ll market to in the future. Clients, prospects and your local community will come to associate you with that voice, and, hopefully, will relate with your voice and hire your firm.
But, how do you find your voice exactly? And, how can you do it when you’ve already got so many cases you’re working on?
Step 1: Explore Brand Voices You Admire
As with the rest of your law firm brand development, a good way to find your own voice is first to look at others. Every brand has a unique voice, and this step will help you learn more about yourself and who you want to be. So, take a look at other brands you like, whether legal or consumer. Why does their voice resonate with you? Or, maybe, why does it not resonate with you, and turn you off? Pinning down a brand’s voice isn’t always easy as it sounds, so be sure to look at different types of content: their website, talks from the CEO and the type of people that engage with the brand.
What is the company trying to convey to their audience with their voice? Is it friendliness? Confidence? Intelligence? Relatability? Again, these traits might not be readily apparent, but when you like a brand, think about why.
Step 2: Understand Your Own Voice
Now it’s time to start defining your firm’s voice and tone. Your law firm’s brand voice and tone helps you communicate consistently with current/potential clients and the industry at large. It also provides consistent guidelines for your social media, advertising and other marketing efforts.
Perhaps you already have an idea of what your voice is — maybe your clients have commented on it. Comb through your reviews and see what your clients have said about you. Remember, you can always redefine your voice if your audience doesn’t yet perceive your law firm as you want to be perceived.
Defining your firm’s voice and tone can be achieved by first asking yourself some questions and doing a few exercises:
- Look at your current content, including your website, advertising and blog posts. Does it represent who you are as a firm? Does it use words or phrases that speak to your audience in the way you want? Highlight wording you like/don’t like. This includes looking over your brand materials again, including your mission statement and vision.
- Ask yourself, “What are we?” and “What aren’t we?” You can’t ask others how they perceive your firm until you know how you perceive yourself.
- Conduct an internal and external survey. What do your customers say about your voice? How would they describe it? Do the same internally with your legal team and compare the results..
Step 3: Define Your Voice
Maybe you already like the voice you have, and it seems others like it, too. This is now an opportunity to build on your voice’s foundation.
But if you don’t already have a voice or you want to change yours, hopefully the previous steps have taught you a lot. With that information as your armor, take the next step to building your voice and tone — maybe not completely from scratch, but with a fresh perspective.
To define your tone and voice, ask yourself:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how bold vs. conservative do you want to be?
- Do you want to sound friendly? Supportive? Aggressive? Think of 3-4 adjectives that describe how you want your voice to sound. This list might include words that you’ve already identified from your current voice or when building your brand.
- If your firm was a person, what would its personality be like? If it had a voice, what would that voice sound like? Who would both the personality and the voice remind people of?
Step 4: Establish a Voice & Tone for Every Scenario
Once you’ve narrowed down the traits of your law firm’s brand voice, it’s time to think about how your voice remains consistent across different scenarios: your tone. Your tone changes based on the context in which you’re speaking. For instance, you might use a different tone depending on whether you’re talking to current or prospective clients, bar associations, your colleagues, etc.
Think of your voice as a tree: The trunk remains the same, but each branch is a different variation of that same voice. You should never fully change your personality, or voice, when you speak, but you might talk to your friends from work a bit differently than your friends from home. It’s the same with your firm’s voice and tone.
As with any stage of building your brand, it’s always OK to hire outside marketing help to define your law firm’s brand voice. They’ll provide even more guidance on speaking clearly and consistently — no matter your audience