Creating a personal brand as an attorney is more difficult than for other small businesses. Your brand isn’t just built around your marketing campaigns or your practice niche, it’s about the clients you represent and their images as well. Recently, The Hype Magazine, sat down with attorney John Branca about his career representing the biggest names in rock music, from Michael Jackson and his estate to The Beach Boys and Bob Dylan. Here are some takeaways from that interview that you can apply to your own personal branding campaign.
Know Your Target Audience
Branca says, “I’ve got one side, and that’s the artist’s side.” Whether you’re an entertainment lawyer or specialize in bankruptcy, every attorney needs to focus. Don’t let your clients question your loyalties. With the strained relationships between artists and record labels, a musician who knows that Branca would never represent a label knows that he always has the artist’s best interests as his goal. Using the example of a bankruptcy attorney, you need to pick whether you help clients filing for bankruptcy or if you want to work with creditors for lift of stay motions, not both.
Focus on Your Branding Early
When you start with your target audience and actively work to cultivate your branding image you’ll be saving time in the long run. The clients you want and need will seek you out. Branca notes, “…before an artist/client even comes into the room to interview me, they already have a picture in their mind about who I am and what I stand for. That saves a lot of time.” You’ll see that this goes well beyond a focus on who you want to attract as a client and into how your personal ethos can help you attract that person.
Tell a Story
Decide how your personal values drive your business. Branca makes it clear that he has cultivated the image of the ’60s counterculture, anti-establishment guru. He has the story of being kicked out of school even though he obviously completed law school at some point. Find the stories that define your persona and help you connect with your clients.
When you know your audience you’ll be able to laser focus your personal marketing to find those customers. Use storytelling to build your image and only take the clients that fit what you want your brand story to be. Careful nurturing early on will allow your personal brand to become a self-perpetuating story.