13th June 2016

Who's in control?

By Tim Cowan

Make digital part of your seamless brand story

Who’s talking about you online? Can search engines see you? Are you effectively engaged on social media?

As a creative brand consultancy, these are the kinds of questions that keep us up scribbling into the small hours. To answer them requires an in-depth understanding of digital, and how it works as an inseparable part of your brand identity.

When you build a brand, you don’t sit down and say, ‘today, we talk digital content; tomorrow, print; the day after that, comms.’ Authentic branding can’t be compartmentalised like that, it’s a seamless process.

Digital is a set of tools that need to be used specifically and carefully, without ever losing sight of the brand story as a whole.

It’s a jungle out there

The legal market sector is fragmented, dynamic and constantly evolving. With the average FTSE 250 company working with 20 different firms and being marketed to by many more, legal brands have their own set of unique challenges in order to stand out.

It’s crucially important for law firms to use digital marketing to cut through this tangled and unpredictable landscape and differentiate their brand. At Small Back Room we help clients identify the brand attributes which mark them out from their competitors and find creative digital solutions that are scalable and secure to access. We create all-encompassing brand strategies to help you take control of your online presence and rise above the thicket.

Who’s calling the shots?

If you’ve never invested in a digital strategy, you might be thinking ‘what online presence?’ But just because you’re not in control of it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Digital is so broad that someone, if not you, is dictating how your brand appears online. Imagine if a bunch of strangers got together to decide what colour to paint your house. That’s a meeting you’d want to be a part of. In fact, you’d want to lead the meeting. You’d want to be the one calling the shots about how your house appeared to other people.

If you haven’t mastered digital branding, you don’t have that control. Somewhere, people will be talking about your brand – on social media, forums, reviews sites, professional networks – putting an image of your business out into the world.

By building an authentic brand with a strong digital identity, you can make sure that the story out there is the story you want.

Law firms need to be top of mind for potential clients for positive reasons. And if you take a passive role in the digital sphere, you’re essentially giving strangers a free reign to do lime-and-lilac paint job on your house. Things could get ugly.

Nuts and bolts

While digital was slow to take off in the legal sector, it’s now commonplace. These days, it’s simply expected that firms will use digital and social media for specific campaigns and blogs, and for communicating news, hot topics, new hires and charity events.

It’s not enough to simply communicate a positive message. Your digital presence needs to be made up of a set of disciplines, including content, SEO and social media, carefully calibrated for search engine visibility and the analysis of the traffic that comes your way. Thereby giving you priceless data about your customers.

We can do this for you. By studying industry trends, monitoring brand nuances and technology developments, we can offer you industry-leading advice, and make sure your success stories reach potential clients in an engaging and highly-visible way.

Your brand has to stand up to the expectations of an increasingly directional and progressive market, and appeal to digitally savvy candidates and clients, now and in the future.

The heart of the matter

Digital is not a bolt on. It’s not set apart from the people in your business – a clinical thing that exists ‘somewhere over there’. Digital is a way for you to express who you are. By looking at the long game, we predict that every aspect of legal practice will change, from the adoption of Artificial Intelligence in simple customer queries to agile working practices for lawyers.

But digital content must never lose the human touch. People will always be at the heart of the legal industry – lawyers will continue to be crucial for contextualisation, negotiation, advice and all-round brilliance. We don’t want to interfere with that. We’re interested in how the digital brand can improve communication, collaboration and responsiveness. In short: how it can enhance the human experience.

Thinking out loud

We understand the integral part that digital plays in brand building. We’d say we know it like the back of our hand, but hands are too easy – they don’t change much in short spaces of time. Digital is much more fluid and requires much closer attention. That’s why we’re always watching, listening and absorbing what’s trending in the spheres of technology, legal and creative, so that we can craft seamless brand experiences for our clients.

For us, digital is a way of thinking, and we want to share that thinking with you. If you'd like to know more drop me an email on t.cowan@smallbackroom.co.uk