Law Firms, Let the Tagline Be Your Guideline
Here’s a fun game to play. Whenever you encounter a law firm slogan or tagline, say, “Prove it.”
Most taglines crumble in the face of this command. Decades of being subjected to commercial messaging have made us wary. Whether we know it or not, at some level, when we encounter marketing, we all say, “Prove it.” Websites that can’t respond to this constant challenge will not connect with visitors.
Too many taglines are like drive-by shootings. A quick rhetorical hit before the website speeds away on other business.
Fortunately, law firms can deliver on their tagline’s promise in a number of ways. By fleshing out the tagline’s meaning in content on “About” or “Mission” pages. By using the tagline as inspiration for blog posts. As a unifying theme for a series of case studies. Through copywriting that tells stories that make the tagline meaningful and real to prospective clients. Through visual imagery or through profiles that give the firm’s attorneys opportunity to deliver on the tagline’s promise. Or simply through the design of the website. Let me show you what I mean.
What follows are several actual law firm taglines. Pretty good ones too, I think.
“Out in front.” This tagline sounds good. But what does “out in front” mean? Is the firm a market leader in terms of clients or revenue? Or is the firm “out in front” in the sense that it is a thought leader?
There are many ways for the firm to demonstrate that it is indeed “out in front.” Does it serve clients on innovation’s cutting edge? Let’s see these clients. Is the firm “out in front” in technology adoption and client service? Let’s hear about that. Does the firm have attorneys who are truly “out in front” professionally? Show us.
Is the firm “out in front” in thought leadership? If so, the firm should feature news and thought leadership on the website’s front page.
“Power innovation, defend success.” To most readers, “defend success” means IP protection. But what is meant by “power innovation?” I’m intrigued, yet in the dark. The phrase “power innovation” could be supported with storytelling and success stories. Helpful as well would be copywriting that explains how the firm’s attorneys work with clients to deliver the tagline’s promise.
“Connections you need. Experience you trust.” Connections and experience are both highly valued attributes for law firms. So show us the connections! And tell stories that make the firm’s experience tangible. Connect that experience to desired client outcomes.
“Traditional values, innovative thinking.” An intriguing tension exists between “traditional values” and “innovative thinking.” Case studies demonstrating how the firm marries traditional values with innovation will be necessary to clinch the deal.
“Legal strategies. Business Solutions.” With a tagline like this, the reader is going to want to read case studies or perhaps explainers providing details on the firm’s deep knowledge of their clients’ business.
“Our clients mean the world to us.” This is a very challenging tagline to prove out. It’s strongly connoting “family” and “seriousness of purpose” to me. Storytelling and imagery showing the firm’s lawyers on the premises with their clients could work here. Also stories of real “above and beyond the call of duty” effort on behalf of the client.
“Thinkresults” Results are great. Clients love results. However, once the tagline has the client imagining positive outcomes, it’s incumbent on the firm to demonstrate, at least in words, how it has delivered results in the past and what sort of results it can deliver. Also: Has this firm adopted an alternative billing method that focuses on results instead of hourly rates?
“Relationships. Resources. Results.” Every word in this tagline is a question that should be answered by copy on the website. Relationships? Tell us about that. Resources? Such as …? Results? Absolutely: tell us the results you’ve obtained on behalf of your clients.
“Accomplishmore.” This tagline suggests that the firm delivers service at a level above and beyond its competition. Or that clients can expect better-than-average outcomes. Without materials that suggest — at least at a high level — what “more” clients can expect from the firm, the tagline struggles to rise above the level of cotton candy.
Three Websites That Deliver on Their Tagline
The following examples show law firms can follow through with content that delivers on their tagline’s promise:
“Real challenges. Real answers.” Polsinelli demonstrates the “answers” part of the tagline with a menu of case studies documenting the firm’s service to other clients.
“Making your issues our issues.” Schiff Hardin follows through on its tagline with four blue boxes leading to discussions of critical business issues and legal trends.
“Make it happen.” To back up this claim, Boston-based Feinberg Hanson lists dozens of acquisitions, debt and equity financings, joint ventures and licensing agreements they worked on for clients.
All of these websites “show” rather than “tell” the meaning of their taglines. Modern, digitally enabled readers prefer to make decisions after conducting their own research. They’re not going to buy into the firm’s tagline without supporting evidence.
Finally, a tagline can provide a strong organizing principle for the entire website. It also helps answer the question, “What new content can we put on the site today?” If the firm’s tagline is “Accomplishmore,” then the marketing department’s initial brainstorming session should start with a notebook full of client success stories.