Kinder Pocock's lessons in branding
Former Supergroup CFO Chas Howes set the tone for the Practice Excellence Conference by urging delegates to strengthen their brand by asking: “What can we steal from the people we like to make the brand we want?”
Howes encouraged delegates to take inspiration from everywhere, zipping his LED pointer at how Superdry followed this mandate to achieve success. Howes impressed upon the packed out auditorium to "Access the competitor's strengths and weaknesses to see where the business can fit and never be afraid to copy".
Many delegates were able to put Howes advice to practice later in the afternoon by learning how the practice growth of the year award winner, Kinder Pocock achieved success.
Sharon Pocock, flanked by accelerator coach Rachel Carr and Karen Reyburn, told the standing room-only crowd of accountants how, in these tumultuous times, her practice has thrived through putting her personality to the fore.
Here are some of the lessons in branding the Practice Excellence accountants picked up by sitting under Kinder Pocock’s learning tree:
1. Bring your personality to your practice
Build the brand around you. As we venture into a brave new technological world, the one thing that is clear is change is coming. But your personality is going to become important in differentiating yourself from your competition. With a welcoming smile and speaking with a gentle delivery, Sharon Pocock could easily be crowned the nicest accountant in the world. Pocock's warmth has translated to her practice, and is instrumental in its success.
Rachel Carr concurred, explaining how personalising the practice translated into growth: “People buy people. We want everyone to be better for knowing us and in turn we want to be better through working with them”.
By allowing clients to get to know you makes you more approachable. “Let your personality come out,” said Reyburn. “People want to contact to you as a person.”
2. Internet presence
When the conversation turned to online presence, Rachel Carr advised: “If you haven’t got a website, you need one”.
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The trio instructed accountants to maximise as many social media routes as possible. Accountants are no longer competing for clients on their doorstep, with the prevalence of the internet, geographical restrictions no longer apply.
Follow Kinder Pocock on Twitter. There is nothing complicated about how she thrives on this platform; actually what she does is pretty simple: Talk to people and post a lot.
3. Brand cohesion
Before accountants took the train home from the conference to tip tap on their keyboard, imprinting their brand on the internet, Rachel Carr recommended that they should “Make sure the look, feel and culture of your brand is consistent, and looks the same”.
Clients should be able to recognise your practice across your social media channels and your website. But for some, building your online brand in the ocean of Google can be daunting, but Karen Reyburn offered reassuring advice to those feeling lost, “You do all of the things (social media) until you find that works for you and your clients. This way you get the clients you want.”
4. Picture rather than a logo
Take a glance at Kinder Pocock’s social media profile and you will see a picture of Sharon Pocock, rather than the company logo.
You will appear an approachable accountant through clients seeing your photo. Again, you are bringing your personality, something that is unique to you, to your practice, which will differentiate you from everyone else.
Pocock’s lesson in bringing personalisation to social media was exemplified by the accountants mingling during the sessions: Delegates recognised each other like long lost friends, simply through building a connection through social media.
The chin wagging displayed in the exhibition halls showed how effective a photo can be for networking. Putting your face to your practice helps bridge the relationships with clients.
5. Embrace your achievements
Kinder Pocock proudly shows their gleaming Practice Excellence trophy on the social media account and website. The lesson here is to never hide your achievements.
Reyburn also spoke of how some accountants are shy about shouting about their achievements. Reyburn used an example of an accountant who sheepishly murmured about a recent achievement, but before the client could doubt its relevance, Reyburn insisted that it was website front page worthy. "You already have the expertise, but it's about making your expertise visible," advised Reyburn.
6. Don’t forget your customers
“Get to know your clients and they bring more to your life,” said Carr. “Pick the clients that get you, and you get them.”
Sharon Pocock talked the room through an image of her with a couple of clients. She said how she would do anything for her clients, even answering an email at 10 o'clock, and they in turn they would do anything for her. Her clients would do anything for her, as well. As pocock said, “There’s no point in having clients that make you groan or make your staff unhappy”. Pocock’s cherished client relationship translates to building her practice, as the host for the session, Receipt Banks’ Nelson De Silva summed it up: “If someone values you, they will be prepared to pay for you”.
Heather Townsend in her ‘what clients want’ session agreed with this philosophy, imploring delegates to do focus groups with their clients, find out what they want: “We could be replaced by a robot but if you stay close to your clients, you evolve with them, and not just survive, but thrive.”