Branding provides comfort
Presley started at the Nashville bar in January 2016—just in time to help revamp the website and database, and fully integrate the two. She spent much of 2016 working on the layout and overall look of the bar’s website, as well as its logo and how it was presented.
“I think that sometimes, we think attorneys aren’t really paying attention to visuals, like the logo,” she said, adding that even if don’t consciously notice such things, the visual elements still subconsciously shape their first impression of the bar and its website and other communication pieces.
A consistent visual brand helps people recognize an organization or company “across the board” and regardless of what medium the person is viewing at the time, she said. In turn, this provides a sense of familiarity and comfort, she added, citing McDonald’s as an example: An American tourist in Japan who saw the famous golden arches would—for better or for worse—instantly know what to expect, even away from home.
Whether it’s the website, the bar’s logo, or any other element of communication, Presley said there are three questions to ask first:
- What is the bar’s mission statement?
- What style or image do you want to convey (e.g., professional, contemporary, fresh, local)?
- Who is your target audience?
Whether you want to appeal to members, the public, or both, she added, it’s important to “keep it simple.” Attention spans are shrinking, she explained, and most people online quickly scroll and scan until they find something that grabs them. “You have about 10 seconds to make a first impression,” Presley said.
When it comes to the logo, Presley said, think not only in terms of how it will appear on the website or in printed communications, but also on social media: Will the logo still come across well when shrunk down to “thumbnail” size?
The Nashville bar’s logo went from more of a traditional style with serifs to a much simpler, more contemporary sans serif typeface. In some places, it appears with the bar’s mission statement, and in other places, without, Presley said, and there’s a sub-logo that can be used by the CLE department, by the lawyer referral and information service, by the young lawyers division, and for the 100% club (for law-firm membership).
Once the new logo is established and integrated into every form of communication, Presley noted, it can be helpful to develop a graphic style guide so everyone knows how to use it appropriately in different settings. And Presley did mean every form of communication: At the bar’s picnic this past summer, the logo even appeared on the cornhole board (if you don’t know, this is a beanbag toss game with a funny name).
Also think about ways to express the bar’s brand in ways that aren’t visual, Presley advised: Even things like how the bar staff answers the phone or behaves at events can say something powerful about the bar and what it stands for.