We have moved! Our blog is now located at www.ASLHearsay.com.
Please come visit us there for the most recent posts on branding, stationery and industry news.
We have moved! Our blog is now located at www.ASLHearsay.com.
Please come visit us there for the most recent posts on branding, stationery and industry news.
We all know how powerful brands can be. As consumers, when we choose a product or service, we’re not just looking at price. We often choose to do business with a company because of the company’s overall brand promise. The same holds true for your firm. You’ve built a relationship with your clients and your brand means something to them. That can be a valuable competitive advantage, but in certain circumstances, your brand may be holding you back. If that’s the case, it’s time to look at strategic rebranding.
Rebranding is more than redesigning your logo or website—it is a total makeover of your firm’s public persona. Rebranding can be expensive and complicated, but it is sometimes necessary. So how do you know when it’s time? While there is no specific rule that applies to all firms, below are some of key business indicators that can help you decide if it’s time to consider rebranding.
During a firm name change, you are already going to incur the expense of updating materials including online assets, stationery and printed materials, office signs and more. As such, it is the perfect opportunity to conduct a brand audit to determine if your new firm name fits seamlessly and cohesively with your existing brand. Since many firms include their firm name initials or the first few names in their firm’s brand, it is more than likely that a firm name change will cause a complete rebrand. The trend to shorten the firm name – often to one name – makes it easier to build brand recognition.
When people talk about branding, a firm’s logo is the usually first thing that comes to mind. Branding, however, goes much deeper. It’s the voice of your website, press releases and social media interactions. It’s your office décor. It’s the way your employees, from the receptionist to the partners, interact with clients. It’s your firm culture. As the first impression of your firm is formed, your logo is still one of the most important aspects of your firm’s brand and it’s easy for the aesthetics to become dated. Ten thousand Baby Boomers reach retirement age every day and Millennials now make up the largest generation in the U.S. This generational shift will have an impact on how buyers of legal services will choose law firms.
Add to a dated look, the proliferation of the internet and social media sites has made it much easier for your potential clients to view and learn about your firm and your firm’s competitors’ brand and culture without ever stepping foot in an office or speaking with an associate. The emergence of these channels has resulted in many law firms reevaluating their brands and initiating rebranding projects in order to develop new brands that resonate and stand out more prominently when they are conveyed over these new media channels.
Rebranding affords your firm the opportunity to define who it is today and articulate its unique value making your firm a fresh new option for many potential clients.
Firms usually evolve over time and often these evolutions require a fresh branding effort. Whether it is through new practice areas, new partners, new locations or even a change in your business model, any major change in your firm’s operations may require you to evaluate whether your current brand is accurately representing your firm’s services and philosophy.
If your general practice firm acquires an IP boutique firm, will your brand attract new clients to this practice? What if your Chicago firm opens a new office in Houston? Will your brand convey the same message to both locations? As your firm grows and changes, your brand may need to be refreshed to keep one, cohesive image.
Your brand should convey your firm’s identity and give clients an idea of what to expect when they interact with you. If you have a very inviting, modern persona online, but all of your printed materials are traditional and serious, you will confuse your potential clients.
Every part of your firm’s brand, from your color scheme to your messaging should be consistent with your firm’s culture and identity. Is your firm’s logo difficult to understand? Does it convey your firm’s message and identity? If it doesn’t, it might be time to rebrand to ensure consistency and clearly define who you are from from the first interaction.
When entering new markets, your firm needs to assess whether or not your current brand will reach the correct audience and stand out competitively. Perhaps your firm is now targeting clients in a new region or country. Maybe your firm’s clients were typically individuals, but now the firm is trying to attract corporate clients. If such changes in your firm’s target client base occur, then it may be time to consider rebranding.
Rebranding will ensure that your firm is presenting the right identity to give new clients an understanding of exactly what you have to offer.
Typically, a long-standing brand is a positive because of increased name recognition over time, but if your firm has been associated with a negative incident, it may prove too hard to overcome. The most obvious example is a when a firm experiences a major PR problem or controversy, though sometimes smaller missteps can lead clients to view your firm in a negative way. This can trigger a rebrand.
Changing your firm name or at least the look and feel of your brand (e.g. your logo) can reduce the association and allow the negative event to fade.
If your firm has experienced stagnant growth or decreased profits over 24 – 48 months, a new brand can breathe new life into your business. With the right buzz surrounding it, a successful rebranding initiative should help generate new leads.
If your firm has experienced any of the above, it’s time to take a closer look at your firm brand to determine if it is an asset or a liability. If your firm isn’t prepared for a total rebrand, consider tweaking your brand as part of your daily operations to gradually reposition your firm in the market. Contact us at 800.222.0510 or firstname.lastname@example.org for help including industry samples, trends and advice.
In 2013, Casner & Edwards, a 39-attorney law firm based in Boston, Massachusetts, began a project to “rebrand” the firm by creating a new logo design, website, and suite of stationery and other printed items to convey the new brand.
The firm’s previous brand image had been developed and introduced quite a few years earlier, and the leadership team believed it was time to give it a bit of a facelift. The debut of the new brand would also coincide with the firm’s 40th anniversary.
In the summer of 2013, when the firm’s management team decided to undertake the rebranding project, they immediately informed Tim Hatcher, the firm’s ALL-STATE LEGAL sales representative, about the project, including its objective and parameters. In its initial concept, the rebrand was to include the website and stationery items – letterhead, envelopes, and business cards.
As the project moved into the design phase, Tim worked closely with the management team to review the various designs and provide input on the potential print processes that could be employed to convey the new brand most
effectively. He also provided consultative advice as to potential production pitfalls posed by each design. Once Casner & Edwards selected its final design, Tim suggested an additional enhancement to the letterhead: a custom watermark. He presented information regarding ALL-STATE LEGAL’s CounsellorMark® water-marked paper, including the process, the expected results, and the cost. After listening to Tim’s presentation, the firm opted to incorporate the watermark as an additional design element on its new letterhead.
After the design was finalized, Casner & Edwards decided to expand the scope of the project, and include a host of additional items that would be imprinted with the new logo. Based on his experience with helping many other law firms through rebranding projects, Tim provided ideas and costs for items to imprint and distribute. Ultimately, the firm opted to order several branded items, including
coffee mugs, water glasses, coasters, and tote bags.
As the firm’s new website began to take shape and a final rollout timeline was being established, ALL-STATE LEGAL began producing the new stationery items. We completed all of the work within a month, well ahead of
the rollout schedule, and stored all of the materials at our facility until the firm was ready to begin the rollout.
All of the new stationery and printed items, including the promotional items, imprinted with the Casner & Edwards’ new brand were rolled out to firm members and clients in early February of 2014, which coincided almost to the
day with the firm’s 40th anniversary.
IN THEIR WORDS
“I have been an ALL-STATE LEGAL client since the early 1980s. Casner & Edwards did some business with ALL-STATE LEGAL prior to my arrival, but when I got here I immediately expanded the relationship to include all of our stationery and other printed items.
“ALL-STATE LEGAL is a class act and they know exactly what they are doing. I have had a very long and satisfying relationship with them.
“What started out as simply an image facelift quickly turned into a massive rebrand project, with every single piece of logoed material getting updated. We have rebranded the firm several times in the past, but the one thing I did differently this time was to include Tim in the process right from the beginning. During the design phase he outlined the production issues that we faced with the design and offered as much input and advice as we needed. He did a great job of orchestrating all of the customization as well as the ultimate rollout of all the items. Tim really served as a consultant through the entire process – from the design phase straight through to production and rollout. If we ever rebrand again, I
would do it exactly the same way, and I would ask Tim and ALL-STATE LEGAL to be involved right from the outset of the project.
“I always have, and always will, recommend ALL-STATE LEGAL other law firms.”
Paul Masuret, Executive Director
Contact Tim or any of our Account Managers…aslegal.me/dir/allstatelegal
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ALL-STATE LEGAL Acquires Vizibility,
Creator of Mobile Business Cards for Professionals
Every Box of Business Cards from ALL-STATE LEGAL Now Comes with a Free vizCard™
Cranford, N.J., August 7, 2013 – ALL-STATE LEGAL, a leader in engraving and printing, announced today that it has acquired Vizibility, the company behind the popular vizCard mobile business card platform for professionals, and is now offering its business card customers the annual $999 vizCard Pack at no additional charge.
“As the nation’s premier engraver and printer for professional services firms, we see business cards as the first form of mobile marketing,” said Joe Fuzak, President of ALL-STATE LEGAL. “But with sales of smartphones outselling PCs by 2-to-1, it is time to marry print and pixels. This is an example of how ALL-STATE LEGAL is redefining the traditional business card. Not only can a small QR code be printed on either side of the card, customers will also receive a unique URL to embed in email signatures, text messages and other online sites that will bring up their digital business cards on any device. ”
Vizibility is a personalized mobile business card, or vizCard, which can be easily shared. Vizibility’s founder and Division President James Alexander describes the hosted service as, “the third side of the business card. Vizibility is an engaging, mobile identity management solution that makes it a snap to download vCards, view common LinkedIn connections, set up appointments and share hand-picked profiles, videos and other online content right from the printed business card. We can even connect all of your professionals’ mobile business cards into a mobile directory which helps to instantly validate the deep expertise of your people and your firm.”
Vizibility is fully integrated into ALL-STATE LEGAL’s online print portal providing customers with a smooth, unified process to dynamically create and update mobile business cards and choose to add QR codes to their business card templates. This seamless solution eliminates duplication of effort and delivers a low cost of ownership.
Vizibility mobile business cards are now available in two simple options: the vizCard and vizCard Pro. A bundle of unlimited vizCards, called a vizCard Pack, is available for $999 per year and includes a custom logo, vCard downloading (works even on the iPhone), CardFollow™ for vCard updates, a powerful mobile directory connecting a firm’s vizCards and an online dashboard for easy administration. The vizCard Pro is $79 per year per user and includes everything in the vizCard plus CommonConnections™ to LinkedIn, unlimited links to online content, full metrics on scans, and the patented “Google Me” button with search results monitoring. For $499 per year, both the vizCard and vizCard Pro accounts can upgrade to include robust enterprise-class features such as a custom domain name, a direct URL to the Mobile Directory, auto-redirect of mobile business cards for former employees, telephone support and more.
To learn more about traditional printed and mobile business cards, visit www.aslegal.com/vizibility.
In 2012, Williams Mullen, a 250+ attorney law firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, initiated a project to “rebrand” the firm which included creating a new logo design and tagline and introducing a new suite of stationery and other printed items.
The previous logo and tagline had been developed and introduced quite a few years earlier and no longer resonated with clients. The firm adopted a tagline to clearly reflect what its clients – both internal and external – believe is its core value and what differentiates it from other law firms.
About a year prior to the actual rollout of the new brand and tagline, the firm kicked off the project by enlisting the services of a design agency. The first steps in the project were to conduct a series of interviews with attorneys and other employees at the firm, as well as a number of clients, and then develop several different options for the new logo and tagline.
When the design and tagline were finalized, the firm brought ALL-STATE LEGAL into the project. As the firm’s exclusive stationery provider for many years, we understood the firm’s goals and produced numerous press proofs of the different stationery items for the firm to review and approve. Once the final designs were approved, we printed all of the items for the initial rollout and delivered them to the firm in accordance with the project plan specifications – on time and within budget.
Following the initial rollout, Doug Gardner, the ALL-STATE LEGAL Sales Representative responsible for the Williams Mullen account, continued to meet with his Marketing and Purchasing contacts at the firm to fine tune the ordering and distribution process and to provide advice on additional tweaks to the design that might enhance specific elements of the stationery suite. At the same time, the firm was continuing to collect feedback from firm members on potential adjustments and refinements to the new design.
Based on the feedback collected, the project team made refinements to the design. We then produced press proofs so that the project team could validate the adjustments to the design, which included sizing and placement of various elements. In addition to producing the press proofs, our internal typesetting and design team made several key recommendations regarding typesetting and layout that ultimately were adopted by the firm.
Rather than destroy the old letterhead we had in storage at our facility for the firm to release as needed, we were able to re-purpose the obsolete letterhead by cutting it down and binding it into memo pads – resulting in significant cost savings for the firm.
in their words
“I needed Doug’s guidance on how to incorporate our vision of things – for example the size and position of the logo on the envelopes. It was really helpful to get his input and expertise on mail standards and what other firms were doing.
“ALL-STATE LEGAL had at least 5 people working directly on our project. The team was a great help – always there when I needed them with quick replies to emails and quick answers to my questions.
“I would be very comfortable referring ALL-STATE LEGAL to another
firm that is going through a rebrand project.”
Brian Tomlinson, Purchasing Manager
“When I was first introduced to ALL-STATE LEGAL, Doug showed me a lot of samples of what other law firms were doing with stationery – from the traditional and conservative to the modern and progressive. He is always coming to us with new ideas.
“As the new brand evolved and we went through different iterations of our printed materials, ALL-STATE LEGAL was able to process orders and produce new materials very quickly.
“We need to have a print partner that is flexible and able to adapt with us, and ALL-STATE LEGAL has consistently done that.”
Tyler Harris, Marketing Manager
Planning a merger, rebrand, office move or just want to experience the ASL difference. Call your ASL account manager today at 800.222.0510.
In 2011, Balch & Bingham LLP, a 245-attorney law firm headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, initiated a project to “rebrand” the firm by creating a new image and logo design, adjusting the primary colors used in the logo, and introducing new colors as well as several new printed items.
The firm’s core objectives in initiating the rebranding project were
First, they wanted to create an image and logo that would emphasize the “Balch” name, which they believed would resonate more powerfully in the geographic markets they served than the “B & B” that was the focal point of their existing image and design, which had been in use for most of the past decade.
Second, they wanted to create a more contemporary brand that conveyed modernity and sophistication, yet wouldn’t stray too far from the firm’s roots. To help “refresh” the brand, the firm wanted to replace the traditional forest green color that was prevalent in the existing design with a brighter, more vibrant green shade and introduce some new colors to the brand as it was applied to various printed items.
Given the scope of the rebranding project, the firm decided to tackle it in several distinct phases. They initially engaged a design agency to develop options for the new brand and logo. Once they chose the new logo design, Doug Gardner, the ALL-STATE LEGAL sales representative, introduced the Balch & Bingham LLP marketing team to a graphic artist whom he had worked with on other projects to
help with color selection and layout options.
Once all the decisions regarding product specifications were finalized, the project moved quickly to the production phase. Rather than issue a new Request for Proposal to identify potential print vendors to produce the new product suite, the firm opted to remain with ASL and entrusted us with the entire project, due to their confidence in our ability to produce high quality work at market competitive prices.
As the project progressed, Doug served as the firm’s main point of contact with ASL, and acted as the conduit between our in-house graphic project management and production teams and the firm’s marketing and facilities teams. He drove each aspect of the project forward and ensured that the firm’s specifications were being fulfilled and that any concerns the firm had about any aspect of the project – e.g., production, budget, timing, etc. – were being addressed and satisfied. the outcome
Balch & Bingham LLP relied on ASL to produce all of the traditional stationery items, as well as a host of other items such as mailing envelopes in various sizes and configurations, compliment cards with matching envelopes, several different types of branded labels, and two unique presentation folders. ASL produced all of the items with precise color consistency across numerous paper stocks and several different print processes, and delivered the finished products to the firm’s seven office locations on or ahead of the firm’s project deadline.
“Doug shared a lot of samples with us, including samples of materials that ALL-STATE LEGAL had produced for other firms, which gave us a good feel for trends in the legal market, and confidence that the contemporary, sophisticated, and modern look we chose was the right one for us. He also showed us a number of different paper samples that helped us in our decision-making around which colors, textures, and weights of paper would work best for us. We wanted to introduce new colors and new items during the rebrand and Doug helped us explore many new style possibilities.
“We didn’t consider using a vendor other than ALL-STATE LEGAL
to handle our rebrand. Our marketing team had confidence and
a comfort level with ALL-STATE LEGAL, and our facilities team
endorsed them strongly, too.
“I would recommend ALL-STATE LEGAL for any law firm rebrand project. We were extremely pleased with the service level we received and the quality of the items that they produced. The process went as smoothly as any rebranding could go.” Aimee S. Puckett, Director of Marketing
Want to see more, visit http://www.aslegal.com/balch or contact your Account Manager for samples.
People are researching and buying services and products on their mobile devices in growing numbers. Successful firms must offer a mobile-optimized experience for clients and prospects to learn more about the organization and engage with its professionals, or risk losing business to their competitors who do.
Below is a combination of published data and proprietary usage data from our Vizibility users.
People use mobile devices to make purchase decisions with growing frequency.
Companies without a mobile strategy are driving business to their competitors.
72% of buyers expect you to have a mobile-friendly web site (Sterling Brands and SmithGeiger study 2012)
Mobile friendly organizations engage with customers and prospects better and more often
The top two mobile marketing objectives for businesses are increasing customer engagement (71%) and generating revenue (56%) (ClickZ, 2012)
To be competitive today, organizations must be ready to engage with customers and prospects on mobile devices. And if you needed any further proof about the future, Ping Mobile announced recently that more kids know how to use a smartphone than how to tie a shoe.
Next steps you can do right now