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Plugging into your community and giving back can yield real, demonstrable business growth — the kind that puts you ahead of your competitors. And it’s something you can do without huge monetary investments.
In fact, it is the honest conviction with which you take part and give back — not how many dollars you donate — that makes the difference here.
Today, we look at how a humanized brand cuts through the law firm mold and speaks directly to the potential client trying to choose between your firm and another.
Lawyers Have an Image Problem. Community Involvement Can Fix That.
Nobody loves a lawyer until they need one. You’ve heard that before.
The stigma isn’t your fault. You inherited it from generations long ago. Nevertheless, people expect you to counter it. In other words, to overcome inherent skepticism and distrust among your prospective clients, you need to proactively demonstrate that you and your firm aren’t like “all the rest.”
Getting involved in your community is one of the best ways you can do that. But here’s the thing: your community engagement must be authentic.
The goal is for people to see that your community activity comes from the heart. The best way for them to see that? Do things that actually come from your heart!
Talk with the partners and leaders in your firm and ask yourselves: what does our local community really need, what matters to us, what’s an area we would really feel passionate about being a part of?
This Matters a Lot to Millennials
Millennials show a strong preference for companies and service providers that model Community Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR refers to all the ways your business participates in initiatives that benefit society.
They aren’t just paying lip service to the idea, either. Studies show that Millennials put their money where their mouths are, supporting businesses that seem to have a conscience and a heart.
As we illustrated last month, Millennials are becoming the single most powerful part of the population. Their preferences matter a lot, and they prefer businesses that truly seem to care.
Additional Benefits of CSR
Making your law firm a responsible and active steward of its community has other benefits too, including:
- Setting you apart from other firms (the legal services market has been one of the slowest to adopt CSR, so you have an opportunity to stand out!)
- Top-of-mind awareness for your lawyers
- Many employees (especially Millennials and those with many employment options) prefer to work for firms that take care of their community
- Tax write-offs
- Each time you get involved with another organization, they’re likely to link to your website on theirs (this is great for SEO)
- Picking up mentions in local news (or even national headlines)
- A greater sense of purpose and satisfaction for the attorneys working in the firm
- Lawyers often struggle with what to tweet about, but community activity is great fodder for social media!
- When you work with outside organizations, those people are more likely to refer others to your firm
How Your Law Firm Can Implement Corporate Social Responsibility
There are many ways to integrate your law firm within your community and model authenticity. A few ideas might include:
- Volunteering with local organizations
- Weighing in on issues of local importance in editorials
- Providing pro bono services for people in need
- Emphasizing work-life balance in your employment policies
- Making charitable donations (but don’t think that writing a few checks every year will impress anyone on its own!)
- Blogging about your activities and writing from the heart about why they matter to you
- Simply being present at community functions
Often, the best ideas for community involvement will spring organically from the people and problems in your city, county, or state. Take the time to schedule a meeting with your staff and brainstorm creative ways to get involved.
In all these things, remember that authenticity is key.
Let Network Affiliates Help You Humanize Your Law Firm’s Brand
A lot of this is human nature. People naturally respond to honesty, compassion, and commitment. The more your firm looks and behaves like a caring person rather than a profit-driven organization, the more the public will be naturally drawn to your brand.
Network Affiliates is a team of legal marketing experts with more than 35 years of expertise in law firm branding. Let us help you humanize your brand in a way that pays off. To learn more, call 877.709.0633 or simply contact us online.