You may hear individuals talk about the need to develop your personal brand, or the need to develop a brand name for your law firm. You may likewise listen to some of us talk about the need to position your firm in the marketplace, or what is called positioning. This can seem puzzling. While not the same thing they are related concepts. The difference between branding and positioning….


Let’s start with branding. If you consider your brand name, or you consider the brand name of anything, what comes to mind? Think about any well-known brand, whether a retailer, manufacturer or service provider. It could be Fed Ex, Amazon, Lexus, or Wal-Mart, each name creates a conscious and subconscious reaction.

Each one triggered a response in part because each worked very hard to establish their brand within their industry. Time and effort was put into calculating the reaction each brand wanted consumers to feel.

Think of Fed Ex. They have spent tremendous capital to have a clear recognizable logo. All Fed Ex packaging is distinct, with a consistent look. They provide shipping options to fit every need. Their delivery vehicles are everywhere. Fed Ex stores and drop off sites are easy to find. They are known for reliability.

Fed Ex has been so successful at branding their name is also a verb. We don’t overnight, we Fed Ex!

For law firms, the question is what is your brand? What do you want to be recognized for? What is the perception of your reputation? As an attorney you are the brand. You are the product and service. Branding is a kind of personality development.

Your brand is a function of:

The service areas of your practice
Your character
Your business process
How you communicate
Your solution to problems
The way you reveal empathy
The way you treat your clients

The outcomes you achieve

You should undertake brand-building for your firm, and individual brand-building for yourself. If you don’t, then the market will do it for you. People will make their own decisions about you and your firm based on information that they find. They may be correct, or badly mistaken. It is far better for you to control the narrative.


Positioning is different from branding. It relates to branding but has its own value. When thinking about the position of your firm and yourself in the market where do you see yourself and where do you want prospective clients to see you? Are you the thought-leaders in your market? The most tenacious? The best priced? Are you and your firm all about client service? Positioning differentiates you from competing firms and attorneys.

A personal and firm mission statement and vision statement help you define what your market position will be. It allows you to understand the placement you wish to have in peoples’ minds.

Your positioning statement can be aspirational. That is what having vision is about. But that vision guides your marketing. And all communications voice that vision, that position.

The Difference Between Branding and Positioning

Once you have defined your brand and position it is vital act on both. Your marketing and internal operations require consistency. If you believe empathy and customer service define your practice, make sure your office reflects those values. Deliver on your marketing promises across the board. If you can’t demonstrate your brand and position to clients, you have squandered an opportunity. Consistent behavior burnishes a reputation (brand), let’s clients know what makes you different, and allows clients to understand why they want to hire you. Branding and positioning are different but go hand-in-hand in a prospective client’s mind. Develop both to elevate yourself and your firm.