Three secrets to building a superstar accountancy brand
First things first – why should you care about your accounting firm's brand?
You might think ‘brand’ is fluffy nonsense, bandied about by marketing types, obsessed with fonts, colour palettes and logos – but it’s much more profound than that.
Brand is your starting point. It‘s what your firm stands for, its purpose, its meaning. It’s what you want your clients, employees and industry to think of you when you’re not in the room.
Think of big names such as Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Coca-Cola. When you think of those brands you have an emotional response to them, whether that's good or bad. That feeling you get, that's brand.
There are several aspects to a brand which, together, create a point of difference, enable businesses to attract the right clients, and inspire employees.
This is what people say about you, from the service you provide to the way you operate. It’s what the market, employees and ideal clients think about your firm.
Depending on your reputation, it can either open or close doors. Having a strong reputation in the market opens up opportunities, a bad reputation will not.
Tip: Make sure you spend time to plan out what reputation you want to craft in the market. Don’t risk your reputation being shaped for you by others, or leave it to grow organically without purpose."
This is what you’re known for in the market and what will attract your ideal clients. Your firm's expertise is one of the biggest reasons a prospect will choose you over another accounting firm and, of course, it also feeds your reputation.
Whether you’re a compliance-based firm or selling advisory services, your expertise matters. You need to demonstrate your knowledge and skill and prove you are the go-to expert.
Tip: Capture your firm's expertise and package it up with a strong marketing strategy. Consider what challenges you need to solve for prospects and clients to help them do their jobs. By doing so, you’ll win people’s attention and earn their business."
How well known are you in the market? By prospects, your peers or future employees. All the expertise in the world isn’t going to be worth anything if you’re not visible and can’t be found.
You need to raise your firm’s profile and be seen in the places and forums where your prospects look for information and insight. And you need to be there at the right time, with the right solutions.
Tip: Create a marketing strategy that puts you on the map, use your expertise to build your reputation and use marketing channels such as search engines, social media, your website and partnerships to help build your visibility and get your expertise out into the market."
What do you need to work on?
You can see how all three elements need to work in harmony to build your brand.
Now, depending on the stage your business is at and what you want to do with your brand, you’ll need to figure out which elements you need to work on.
If you're a startup, for instance, you may have years of expertise from a full-time job at an accountancy firm but your new firm won’t have brand visibility or a reputation. You’ll want to emphasise your expertise and gradually build on the other two elements as you grow.
If you're an existing business looking to strengthen your brand, you’ll need to work out which areas you're weakest on and work to improve them.
If you're an existing business looking to change market perception of your firm, you’ll need to work on all three but in a different way to a startup. You need to change how people see you or feel about your firm, which may mean unpicking years of historical brand reputation.
In the accounting sector, a business’s brand is one of the most overlooked parts of marketing.
That may be partially down to the confusion over what brand is and the false perception that it revolves around the design elements, rather than what’s central to your firm's success, what defines its purpose, and its reason for being.
Knowing what branding is really about provides you with a competitive edge, because you know who you are, who you serve, what those people value, and what matters to you.
To build your reputation, grow your visibility and demonstrate your expertise, there are a number of attributes you need to have in place.
If you want to find out what those are or you want to know how to create a strong brand for your firm then download our 'Beginners’ guide to creating a brand and proposition'.
In the report you’ll learn:
- What a strong brand looks like
- Why create a brand for your firm
- Ways to differentiate yourself
- What to avoid when creating a brand
- How to create a brand for your firm.
Editorial: Mike Crook, Managing Director, PracticeWeb
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