Ann Prax, head of marketing at Davis Blank Furniss, on why businesses need to be brand savvy...

The Law is a sector like many others that has seen the way it works and communicates change massively over the past decade. Historically, law firms have relied on word of mouth and recommendation to attract new business. That always tended to be enough but competition is getting tougher and with new, more aggressive entrants coming into the market the challenges are set to get a whole lot worse.

It sounds all doom and gloom but it’s not, honestly. As a marketer, I’m passionate about branding and communication. To me, a brand isn’t just a logo; it’s a state of mind and a vision that runs through an organisation - from the very top to the bottom. The visual representations of that are - of course - the logo and website but they need to be carefully considered so they encapsulate the business and its people.

A company’s online presence is now its key marketing window. There’s no point investing in an expensive website or brand proposition if it’s not going to be utilised and tweaked constantly. To both new and existing clients, a firm’s branding – whether it be in law, manufacturing, professional services or any other sector for that matter - provides reassurance and confidence; it’s all about personality as well as conveying skills and experience. This is something we keep at the heart of everything we do.

One of our key objectives is to also add value to our clients and not just provide legal advice. We do this in a whole host of ways from bespoke events, to clinics and newsletters. We try and get under the skin of our clients so we really understand what makes them tick. The content of our website is also updated regularly and we’ve invested more heavily in PR, social media, such as Twitter (@DBF_LAW) and by launching our new mobile enabled website.

All of this may sound simple, but effective marketing and client engagement can be forgotten as senior management time is often spent actually running the business – and who could argue with that?! However, my advice is to take some time to sit back, look at your organisation and identify what it stands for. If you can work that out and devise a way to convey your philosophy - based why you’re different/ better than your competitors - then the future could take an even more profitable direction!