Branding For Accountants

Brand/branding is one of the things I see Accountants ignoring at their peril.

You will hear me use the term Progressive Accountants. Progressive accounts see that what has been the status quo for so many years is now dinosaur thinking.

“What got you here won’t get you there”

To date spending time and money on branding your Accountancy Firm hasn’t been necessary; you have been able to rely on referrals and local business. But as discussed in my previous blog “Why Accountancy Firms Need To Shift Their Thinking”; The Cloud, Social Media and Digital Marketing have changed the status quo.

Your accountancy practice needs to have a strong identity, and when a prospect lands on your website they need to trust that you can help them with their problems. They also need to like you. And this is the power of branding for accountants; you can gain trust, fast. Your brand will go a long way to position you in the marketplace.

If you look up the term Brand online it is described as

“Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind (see positioning). Thus brands help harried consumers in crowded and complex marketplace, by standing for certain benefits and value.”

One of the things I cover in our one day BOOST PROFIT Intensive is branding for accountants. During my 24 years working in marketing and branding it became clear that there are 5 key components for a powerful and successful brand.

These 5 key components are:

  1. Brand Promise
  2. Brand Positioning
  3. Brand Personality
  4. Brand Story
  5. Brand Visibility

Let me explain each in more detail, and how you must apply them in your accountancy firm.

BRAND PROMISE

Your brand promise can be summed up in one sentence. “What do you want people to say about you when you are not in the room?”

Your brand promise needs to be crafted by you, and you cannot rely on just delivering year-end accounts and hope that you have a strong brand. Time and effort needs to go into crafting your brand promise so that when clients, suppliers and your prospects speak about you, they say what you want them to say.

Some key questions you need to answer to craft your brand promise include:

  • How do you want your clients to feel when they purchase from you?
  • What do you need to deliver time and time again to ensure that you are consistent?
  • How can you surprise and delight your clients?
  • How will you provide remarkable customer service?

Answer these questions and you will be on your way to creating a strong brand promise. Be honest with yourself, have you ever really thought about these questions on branding for accountants in your accountancy firm? If not, now is the time to start.

BRAND POSITION

Positioning. Your business will live or die by how you position yourself in the marketplace.

When I first started learning and implementing marketing ideas I used the old system of Demographic Classification. This is a classification that is used less and less as businesses realise that people cannot just be judged on income. For years marketing was planned around your target market being A,B, C1, C2, D or E. The classifications were split into social class and chief earners occupation.

This is now outdated thinking and Progressive Accountants are understanding that positioning yourself in the market place is more about whom you help and the VALUE that you provide.

Some key questions you could ask to help you craft your position in the market place can include:

  • What problems do you solve?
  • Who are the people having these problems?
  • Out of these people whom do you want to serve?
  • What do these people really want?

Can you see it’s not about the demographic of your ideal clients, but actually about YOU and whom you help as an accountant. This is why niching is really important, but I will cover that in another blog.

BRAND PERSONALITY

Yep, you heard me. Your accountancy practice needs to have a strong personality. It is all part of modern branding for accountants.  People buy people and whilst you are all about the numbers and helping businesses grow, we also want to connect with you.

The great news is that you can craft your brand personality through the colours you use on your website, the tone of voice (formal, funny, corporate, friendly) the language you use and the attitude you convey.

Have a look at these three screen shots of accountants. The first is a very traditional and bland image of a homepage of a local accountants. I have left off the name on purpose.

The other two images are of progressive accountants websites. Can you see how the language, colours and design of the website is completely different.

Their websites have been crafted. They have delved deep to create a Brand Personality, part of modern branding for accountants.

Where does your website sit, is yours bursting with personality, do we know what you stand for? Are you outdated, or progressive?

BRAND STORY

If you don’t have a story you are just another commodity. A replaceable cog in the consumption machine. You have no way to differentiate your brand or your accountancy practice.

It’s about building something that people care about and want to buy into.
Your Brand Story is also your big WHY. When accountants ask me why I help accountants with marketing, this is where I share my story; here is part of it for you…

You see I have not been an accountant, nor did I take any formal exams to be an accountant. In fact my flurry with accountancy stopped abruptly when I was 18. I was taking my A levels and was most surprised when my Accountancy A Level came back with a big fat “E” written on it. It was at this point I realised that marketing was the path for me.

But this isn’t my story, my WHY. My story is actually very close to my heart. My story goes back to when I was 15 years old and my father got made redundant from one of the big 4 accountancy firms (then the big 8 but they merged).

He is a Tax Technician, and was doing exceptionally well in his career in the 80s and 90s.

But then there was a merger, which resulted in redundancies. So in his mid 40’s, instead of finding another job he bought into a tax franchise business.

All his redundancy money was ploughed into this franchise venture where they promised him a system and marketing to get him clients. Unfortunately the business he bought into did not deliver on their promises. To cut a long story short my father lost his money, the business never succeeded as they promised and our family were financially strapped for a long time.
All businesses need leads and clients. Without them it will die. And to get leads and clients you need to master the art of marketing, branding and sales.

If my father had been able to learn and implement marketing activities to get clients his business would have flourished. But he is a Tax Technician, not a marketer. And this is why accountants need help with marketing.
You don’t need me to be good at accountancy (which is a bit of luck as I am a grade E) but what you do need me to be is great at helping you with marketing.

And that is my story. I am passionate about helping accountants, as I do not want to see them suffer like my father did.
You are a master of your craft. I have 24 years doing what you don’t know how to do, but need. This is my WHY. To ensure your accounting business grows, and you get leads and clients.

There will be a story behind what you do too. You need to share this story with your prospects. Story is a great part of modern branding for accountants.  Your mission is to find the story, your big WHY, so you can share it and have prospects align to your values and thinking.

BRAND VISIBILITY

Going to networking meetings with a business card is not what we call being visible. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great place to start IF you are doing it right, but I want you to think more deeply about how you are showing up for your prospects, and if you are visible enough for them to find you and subsequently do business with you.

One of the most powerful things you can do is work “on” your business not “in” it. This is why I keep giving you questions to help you think outside the box.

Answering these questions should help you shift your thinking and help you work “on” being visible.

  • Where are my prospects hanging out online?
  • Where are my prospects hanging out offline?
  • How can I enable my subscribers to look forward to my emails?
  • How can I inspire and create a community on LinkedIn, Facebook or other social media platforms?
  • How can I go above and beyond others in my industry?

Conclusion on Branding For Accountants

Creating a powerful brand for your accountancy firm will ensure that you build trust. You will be able to transform your presence and your identity.

Companies like Coca-Cola, Apple and Disney have long realised the power of their brand to connect with their audience.
Progressive accountants such as iHorizon and WOW are also using branding to catapult their success.

Isn’t it time that you invested in your brand?


To download our ebook and get a list of 100 marketing ideas for your accounting practice click here for the 100 Ways To Market Your Accounting Firm 


What do we do at TwentyTwo? 

At TwentyTwo Agency we specialise in helping you create a strategy, attract ideal prospects, convert them into clients and get remembered and referred. Our specialities include content marketing, blog writing, email newsletter management and social media management. We are a content marketing and digital experience agency for accounting firms. We ensure you get remembered, recommended and referred. 

To find out if we can help you, reach out to our team by emailing [email protected]