I hate buzzwords. I hate corporate speak. I’m not going “leverage modular inclusion of work already completed” (yes, someone actually wrote those words in an email in my old office) or “synergize” (a word which invokes memories of Star Trek episodes) or whatever the heck else.
“Integrated marketing” is a corporate buzzword. But it’s one that stuck with me, and it’s a lot more descriptive and handy than “stay true” and a bit less cliche than “be yourself!” But that’s partly what it means. (The old bosses say that it means a lot more than that — consistency in branding across mediums, an eye on specific goals, complementary tactics to get there, etc. All good points, but I’m going to stick with branding here.)
To me, the most important part of marketing your practice is consistency. Send a consistent message across all of your advertising platforms: radio, television, online, billboards, whatever. Keep your brand consistent. Use similar imagery, logos, and colors across all mediums so that you build brand recognition. You don’t want to be the edgy guy on the radio, the boring billboard guy on the streets, and trustworthy experienced stuffy guy in person. You can’t be the budget DUI lawyer in the television advertisements and the high-end white collar guy on your website. And pretending to be seven different lawyers can be exhausting. And from a more practical standpoint: consistent branding means each time they see your ads, they’ll recognize you. (And when they need your services, you’ll hopefully be one of the first names to pop into their heads.)
I say: be yourself.
For me, personally, it’s as simple as that. My lawyer bio has a few of my interests, a picture of my puppy (along with a warning that he is sometimes at the office), and some rambling about my passion for family and family law. And throughout my website, I’ve put a little bit of my personality into everything — my blog posts, ads, and even the discussion on fees.
Why? Two reasons: (a) I’d rather be myself at all times and (b) if I were the client, I’d rather find a human being that I can connect with than a diploma in a suit. I’m not the only one who feels that the traditional lawyer bio is a little stuffy either.
For you, consider this: how many graduates has the legal education system pumped out in the last ten years? How many of those have started their own practices because they couldn’t find a paid gig? Competition is heating up and nearly all of us have shiny diplomas and padded resumes. But are you someone a client wants to lean on in a crisis?