Can Your Personal Brand Hurt Your Firm’s Brand?

Nancy Myrland - Myrland Marketing & Social Media
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Nancy Myrland - Myrland Marketing & Social Media

Let’s talk about building your brand within your firm, and what you might want to think about in order for that effort to go as smoothly as possible.

Let’s say you are a practicing lawyer within the firm and it’s important to you to be out there and visible and building your brand separate from your firm’s brand.

It could be that you are a business professional, yet you still want to build your brand internally and externally.

Are Your Personal Branding Efforts Consistent With The Firm’s Branding Efforts?

Is building a distinct personal brand hard to do within law firms?

I was a part of a great discussion today on Ari Kaplan’s virtual lunch. If you don’t know Ari, you should. I’ve said that before, and I’ll say it again because I think he is wonderful. Anyhow, we were discussing this today, so I thought I would share with you what I shared with the group.

Your Choice: Blog or Podcast

If you would like to listen to my 2-minute, 50-second episode of Legal Marketing Moments where this blog post originated click here.

A Good Place To Start

We need to start this discussion by understanding your firm’s brand.

Here are a few branding questions:

  • What has the firm decided it wants to be known for?
  • What is the personality of the firm?
  • How does it deliver its messages and its services, meaning what lawyers and other professionals do for clients, and how does your firm deliver those?
  • What is the culture that the firm wants everybody to see internally and externally?

This Is Where Your Brand Comes Into Play

Once you understand your firm’s brand, you then need to think about whether your personal branding efforts are consistent with all of those factors that go into the firm’s brand (answer the questions above for your own brand).

For example, let’s say your firm is very conservative. They are measured in what they say and do because that speaks to the type of clients you have. The firm might want to be known for being the voice of reason, not flying off the handle, not being too out there, and being very smart and measured.

Alongside your firm’s conservative, smart, measured brand, you will then want to build your personal brand. It doesn’t have to be identical, but it should be complementary.

Perhaps you are way out there. If your firm’s brand is 10 miles an hour, maybe your style is that you want to go 90 miles an hour. You are really out there, and your personality is much more assertive.

Let’s say:

  • You like to crack jokes all the time, or
  • You like to talk about your personal life a lot, which can be a mess sometimes, or
  • You like to get very political, or
  • You like to be controversial

It’s Time For Serious Thoughts and Discussion

I think it might be time to say, you know what? I am in this place, in this firm, at this time, by my choice, for a reason.

I recommend you have a serious discussion or give some serious thought to the notion that you can hurt your firm’s brand. It’s not that the firm necessarily wants to stop you from having your own personal brand. I think it is much more intellectual than that by determining if all of this works together for your good and the good of the firm.

Consistent and Complementary?

Think about the 2 people, 20 people, or 2000 people at your firm. Is there consistency there, or are there blips on the radar in the form of very different personal brands that are not complementary to your firm’s brand that could damage, alter or confuse people about what your firm’s brand is?

Don’t Abandon Your Personal Branding Efforts

I’m not saying that your personal branding efforts are a no-go, but to give them some serious thought. Every now and then, a firm will appreciate this situation as it helps set the tone for what is to come, what might exist in some innovative teams or groups, or a host of many other factors we can discuss.

There might also come a time when your brands coincide and there doesn’t seem to be anything that can be done to make everything work as you and your firm wished it would.

I think the steps above are a good place to start this discussion because you can do damage to your firm’s brand.

Important: You can also bolster it with your personal brand, so this discussion is definitely worth the effort.

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Nancy Myrland - Myrland Marketing & Social Media
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