How documents can create a killer legal brand

A lawyer’s reputation stems from their brand and – believe it or not – this can be built up by simply being consistent with your legal documents.

The best lawyers in New Zealand pride themselves on a first class reputation. But did you know you could be unwittingly degrading this image through inconsistent documentation?
NZLawyer sat down with Phil Waylen, general manager & co-Founder of Documents with Precision, and talked about the steps that need to be taken to develop a consistent legal brand.
“The first step is to have a document called a brand standards manual,” Waylen said. “This will tell you what fonts, colours and even what images you can use.”
It is important to keep this manual with Microsoft Office in mind, he added, since most documents in the legal profession are created with Word and PowerPoint anyway.
“The next step is to create a template,” Waylen said. “What this allows you to do is have rules around where the logo and branding goes, the types of fonts you can use, and what your colour scheme is.”
This allows staff in a legal firm to simply bring up the right template for letters, envelopes and presentations and have everything ready for them to use right away.
Waylen said following these steps was crucial to maintaining a strong brand, especially for legal firms with offices around New Zealand.
“The classic example is if you have a large client and they go to Auckland for a meeting. They’re meeting with legal counsel and the document looks a certain way. Then they go to a second meeting in another area of New Zealand and the document looks different. All of a sudden, the person is thinking, ‘That’s not the same document I saw last week’ and it can really be of detriment to the firm and their brand.”
When changing your brand standards manual and templates, there is still the potential danger of old documents accidentally being used by staff, Waylen said.
“The biggest mistake is reusing old documents that were created four or five years ago. A lot of people just grab an old document from their desktop – the one they used last time – and they don’t check to see if it is the newest template.”
“When you do a rebrand, you should take your old documents and convert them into the new look and feel so all of your documents are up-to-date.”

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