Attorney Marketing Fails- Marketing and Branding Mistakes to Avoid

Every few months or so, you start to see the attorney marketing fail pictures and videos circulate around the internet.  In fact, we’re quite fond of watching some of these videos ourselves.  Any advertisement that includes the following is an instant classic fail in our book: thug life lawyers, awkward storylines that seem to come out of nowhere, pitches that would make a discount warehouse dealer or car salesman proud, and the costumes.  It’s enough to make the tears start pouring down our faces.  Let’s be honest, are you looking for a gimmick in your marketing and considering one of these angles? Before you don a hat with a feather, a gold chain and a pimp cane to make your point, let’s discuss why this could be a very bad idea for your business.

Don’t Hinge All of Your Marketing on a Tacky Gimmick

You got into the business of being a lawyer to practice law.  You imagined yourself winning cases, arguing the subtle nuances of legal codes, and helping clients in need.  You did not imagine yourself sitting in front of a camera wearing an elaborate costume or waving props around like a used car salesman.  This isn’t your business and it’s not a smart branding move for your business.

Odds are, someone creative sold you on the idea of going “viral.”  You can do this without branding yourself badly.  Many serious attorneys have had some fun and produced viral content that didn’t cross the imaginary line between fun and tacky.  Here’s what you need to know:

  • Your advertisements communicate your personal and professional brand.  Consider your advertisement an introduction to your desired clients.  Would you want someone scanning the web or television to see your advertisement and think why on earth was that lawyer wearing a chicken suit? This doesn’t exactly communicate the trust and experience that an attorney generally wants to convey in his or her advertising.
  • Hokey gimmicks often backfire. I know, the old adage is all press is good press.  Well, not exactly.  If you find yourself splashed across the internet and being called nasty names, odds are that any client who finds you online will say methinks not!  Yes you may enjoy being ribbed here and there, but if the overall message is that you clearly can’t be trusted to practice law, you should be rethinking your image.
  • Inconsistent branding fractures your brand.  Any first year marketing student, let alone marketing professional, will tell you that you need to keep a consistent image.  By fracturing your brand, you confuse consumers and cause them to wonder who you are as an attorney and what your core services and capabilities really are. Confusing potential clients is not a good idea as they often just move on to someone else.
  • You may attract the wrong kind of clientele. If your marketing is focused on hokey gimmicks, but content light, you may attract the wrong kind of clientele.  Consumers can’t be expected to read your mind.  When they see an advertisement and jump to conclusions, those may be the wrong conclusions.  It’s up to you to communicate who you are, what you do, and how you can help people.  It’s not up to consumers to decipher your hidden message.

When in Doubt, Hire an Attorney Marketer

Not all marketers are created equal.  Some marketers just don’t understand the unique challenges attorneys face in their marketing and branding.  If you trust someone that doesn’t know the rules, you may look like a fool or run afoul of the Bar.  And then where would you be?  Do it right the first time and trust attorney marketers to communicate your brand in a thoughtful manner.