Dan Hull recently posted that "Law Firm Logos are Goofy, Useless, a Waste of Time and Money." And then he promised to let us know what he really thinks about logos. Seriously, Dan drew on a post from Tom Kane who writes the Legal Marketing Blog. Tom's post on logos drew on a post by Bruce Allen of Marketing Catalyst. Tom, in turn, drew on the thoughts of Dave Opton at Six-Figure Learnings And so on. All have informed my thinking about logos in specific and branding more generally.
I think I am ready to share my current thinking. Logos by themselves probably mean very little. That said, however, logos in the context of a meaningful branding program probably means a great deal. A recent post by Dan Hull passed along the comments of a third year law student:
He asked a third-year law student in the audience if, based on websites, brochures and materials sent to law student recruits, she could differentiate between the many firms with which she was interviewing. She paused for a long time before answering. Finally, she responded as nicely as she could. "Frankly, based on the materials, all of you seem to be the exactly the same."
Based on comments like this and the relative ineffectiveness of law firm branding, it would be tempting to conclude that branding doesn't work. But as you know, I believe that the world of business is a better source for answers to these "business of law" questions. Unquestionably, the answer is that bad branding doesn't work. Equally true is that good branding is a central factor in the success of the well-branded business.
What makes for good branding? Well, this post has gone on too long. But the "what does it take question" will provide food for a number of future posts.