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Building signage – should we put our name on our building?

I haven’t seen any statistics on this, but as a dedicated branding guy, I pay an unhealthy amount of attention to this particular issue and have analyzed this issue in detail for dozens of clients.

Presuming that we’re talking about signage at the top of a building (not on a canopy or sidewalk), my answer depends on the obvious variables, i.e. (1) how large and visible the sign is, (2) how much it costs, and (3) the quality of the building.

To generalize, I think a prominent sign near the top of an impressive office building can be among an organization’s best marketing and branding investments. It’s a 24/7/365 reminder of your firm and its overwhelming success. It’s a billboard without any of the negative connotations.

Mediocre firms don’t have their names on buildings, leaders do. I was giving a speech in Copenhagen pre-COVID and shot a picture of DLA Piper’s signage on its fabulous historic building in the main town square. I think it conveys extremely positive attributes about the firm, even though it’s not at the very top:

There are a few common mistakes to avoid which are beyond the scope of this response, but if you were looking to dominate the local Wichita or Albany or Taos market, this is a step I’d recommend that you strongly consider, if it won’t blow your budget.

One strong recommendation I always make is to add the word “Lawyers,” or “Law Firm,”  or “CPAs” along with your firm name. This type of general brand-building marketing is like a billboard–it’s targeting a general audience, i.e. anyone who can see your building sign. Most of these people will have never heard of you. If you’re trying to let more prospects know you’re out there and brand yourself as a quality provider, it’s also a pretty good idea to let them know exactly what you do.  So perhaps a sign that said “DLA Piper Lawyers” might help achieve the firm’s branding goals a bit faster.

Or check out Cleveland’s prominent JonesDay building just down the block from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:


For more info, download a free copy of the definitive law firm branding book, “We’re Smart. We’re Old. And We’re the Best at Everything. The World’s First No-BS Guide to Legal Marketing and Branding” available at Amazon here.

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