Have you ever wondered how those really successful businesses became a household name? They conquered branding.
These businesses have such a strong online and offline profile, that when consumers have a specific problem, they immediately know that these businesses are the solution.
Branding is a powerful tool that differentiates your offering in ways that create client preference and allow you to command premium pricing.
Accountants are at the heart of every small, medium and large business.
Great accountants can change a business’s success. Unfortunately, many businesses (and accountants) underestimate the value that they bring to the table.
This limits the growth and impact of accounting firms.
The “Peoples” View
You have a reputation already. Just like Estate Agents, Car Salesmen and Lawyers all have a reputation, accountants too have been put in a box and labelled.
When I tell people that I run a Digital Marketing Agency for accountants their first question is “But aren’t accountants boring?”.
You see the accounting industry has a branding (image) problem. And ironically accounting is anything but boring. Nothing is more rewarding than solving problems for people and businesses. And that is just what the accounting profession does. Most people want more time, money and freedom. And guess what, that is what an accounting firm delivers.
If the accounting industry isn’t boring, then why do people think it is?
Quite simply it is because of the way the profession typically presents itself to the world. It is because of this that the accounting industry has the reputation that it does.
The Good News
The good news is that now, more than ever before, the profession has an opportunity to change the peoples view of the industry and those working in it.
So, this is the point where I could tell you that all you need to do is change your logo and have a new website designed, but unfortunately that is not the whole answer (that would help, but wouldn’t solve the bigger picture). Although design is a superb influencing tool, it is only a small part of what you need to focus on.
As we talk about all the time at TwentyTwo Agency, the aim is to help accounting firms be remembered, recommended and referred.
So how do you ensure this happens? There are the 3 core branding principles needed in your accounting firm
to have an identity that is easily recognisable and respected.
The 3 Core Branding Principles
Your Corporate/Business Brand
Your overall parent company must have a strong brand presence that people recognise for quality, customer service and great reputation. Your company needs to have strong positioning in the market place and be known as a solver of a certain problem for a certain kind of person/business.
Having a strong business brand is useful when launching into new markets as well as launching new products.
Right now you possibly sell your services one at a time. When engaging an accountant your prospects are probably given options of bookkeeping, year-end accounts, payroll and VAT returns for example. These different services are all priced individually, and can be bought individually or together. The downfall of running your accounting firm this way is that you are jack of all trades and master of none (In your client’s eyes).
Creating a product out of your services means that you take a person from pain to having their problems solved (preferably within 12 months) and provide a full and remarkable solution for them. This full and remarkable solution gets known in its own right and you get recommended and referred because of it.
Back in the day only wealthy individuals focused on trying to develop their personal brand. In the present day 5 year olds have already got a personal brand that they are building on. With the likes of Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, everyone can be a celebrity from the comfort of their own home.
If you have children the chances are your 12-year-old is adding pictures to Instagram before they dash off to school. The food they eat is captured on camera and shared with the world to see. Their views and opinions are followed and they haven’t even left school yet.
The importance of having a personal brand has exploded over the years.
Which is why this is the third type of brand you have to build upon to conquer the accounting space. Your personal brand will raise your firms profile, reputation and ability to bring in new leads to your business.
We cannot escape the fact that people buy people, and no matter how great a reputation your firm or service has, it will be your personal reputation that gets you more clients.
Let me give you some examples:
Business Brand – Virgin
Product Brand – Virgin Trains, Virgin Planes, Virgin Money etc.
Personal Brand – Sir Richard Branson
Business Brand – Easy Group
Product Brand – Easy Jet, Easy Hotel, Easy Car, Easy Gym, Easy Pizza etc.
Personal Brand – Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou (We know him as Stelios)
Business Brand – Apple
Product Brand – IPod, IPhone, IMac etc.
Personal Brand – Steve Jobs
Business Brand – TwentyTwo Agency
Product Brand – Prospect Nurture Blueprint™
Personal Brand – Amanda C. Watts
Business Brand – Dent.Global
Product Brand – Key Person Of Influence
Personal Brand – Daniel Priestley
Business Brand – Wow Accountants
Product Brand – The Agency Collective
Personal Brand – Peter Czapp
It’s Time To Change Your Thinking
Because of the developments in marketing, and the ability to be able to reach thousands of people with the press of a button, there has never been a better time to start working on the 3 types of branding strategies needed for your accounting firm.
Who in your firm is going to work on building their personal brand? My suggestion would be pick one or two of the partners (possibly you) to raise their/your profile.
How are you going to turn your services into a product that you can get known for? If you don’t want to/can’t turn your services into a product, what can you create that is branded so that people know you/your firm? Creating a community/events of some kind is a great starting point.
In which way are you going to start to change people’s perception of accountants? How can you position your firm in your clients mind so that you are not seen as a boring necessity, but as an inspiring and transformational part of their business/life?
It is only when you work on all three branding principles that you will see a significant growth in your firms profits and client base. If you want to be remembered, recommended and referred you need a business, product and personal brand for you and your firm.