Spoiler alert: Your firm’s brand is more than just a logo or the colors you’ve chosen; it’s so much more than that. It’s the heartbeat of your firm that resonates with each client interaction.
Over time, you may lose sight of who and what your firm actually is. And that will come across in your firm’s messaging (or lack thereof). Gone are the days when accounting firms could rely solely on their reputation or word-of-mouth referrals. Today, your brand says a lot before you even have the chance to.
But…is it sending the right message? As your firm evolves, so should your brand. If you’ve never considered a brand refresh, now may be an opportune time. This means more than just tweaking your logo or choosing a new color palette. It’s making sure your brand messaging aligns with who you are, what you represent and who you serve. So, let’s talk about your brand (and whether or not you need a brand refresh).
Do you know your business model?
Can you name the WHO, the WHAT and the HOW of your business model? Before you touch the aesthetics or voice of your brand, you need to have a firm grasp of these three pillars. They will shape your brand messaging.
- WHO is your ideal client? Think about the clients you love to serve and are good at serving. They form the cornerstone of your WHO.
- WHAT products and services do you want to offer? Consider services that will solve pain points for your clients and where your expertise truly shines. These are your WHAT.
- HOW will you deliver your products and services to your ideal clients? Think of how you can seamlessly and intentionally build your tech stack to provide services. This is your HOW.
Blindly refreshing your brand without anchoring it in your business model is like sailing without a compass. It’s not just about changing colors or fonts—it’s about making sure your brand’s voice resonates with your firm’s identity. Let your WHO, WHAT and HOW guide you as you think through your brand refresh.
Is your brand messaging on point?
The next step when working through a brand refresh is asking yourself these questions:
- Is our brand effective?
- Is our brand consistent?
- Does our brand contribute to our firm’s growth?
It’s important that your messaging, virtual identity and tone are consistent across all platforms. This includes everything from your website and social media to your teams’ sales pitches and content. Your brand’s voice shouldn’t waver across platforms.
Be sure to humanize your firm and show who you are on social media and your website. Does your “About us” page evoke emotions and connect with your audience? You need to consider this when thinking about the effectiveness of your communication and online presence.
Creating consistency builds trust and recognition over time. Are you portraying conflicting messages? If your website screams “modern and tech savvy,” but your social posts are boring or outdated, there’s a disconnect. You want your brand to leave a good impression and make it easy for your clients to recognize you.
For example, if your messaging says, “We provide accounting services,” it’s not very clear. Prospects will have to dig through your website to see if they’re in your niche or if you provide the services they need. Most people won’t spend much time hunting down that information if they have to dig too deep. Consider something like this instead: “We provide accounting, tax and retirement planning services to optometry and dental practices.” Your potential client sees who you serve along with the services you provide.
If your specialties have changed over the years, chances are that your ideal client has also shifted. If your brand messaging still speaks to the clients you served five years ago, it’s time for a brand refresh.
How do you effectively tailor your brand messaging?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand your target audience. If you have a clear business model in place, your target audience is your ideal client. Next, you need to meet their needs and alleviate their concerns. You can do this by:
1. Knowing their niche
You need to understand the specific needs of the niche(s) you serve. For example, there may be specific key performance indicators (KPIs) they should be paying attention to. Use this to create messaging surrounding these KPIs and how it can enhance your clients’ businesses.
2. Understanding their pain points
Instead of attempting to guess where your ideal clients need services, ask them. Interview or survey your clients to see what their pain points actually are. This can help you tailor your messaging so your selling points offer the solution to their pain points.
3. Speaking their language
While tax codes and financial speak are second nature to you, they might be clear as mud to your clients. Ensure your content is relatable and communicate it in ways they understand. It should echo what your clients and prospects are looking for.
4. Focusing on fixing their problems
It should go without saying that your messaging should lay out a path for improving the pain points of your clients and prospects. It shouldn’t focus on your firm and how awesome your products are. (We’re sure they are, but let your services speak for themselves.) Whenever possible, use real-world examples so they can understand how your services can help them.
5. Providing educational content
You want to be a one-stop shop for your clients and prospects, and that includes putting out educational content. Doing this helps boost your brand and gives your clients content that can help them. Write a blog with tips and tricks for the upcoming busy season (i.e., “The ultimate tax season checklist”), send a newsletter that outlines new changes (in non-accounting jargon, of course) or create engaging social posts that link to an informational article.
In everything you do, keep your ideal client in mind. As you’re working through your brand refresh, be sure to create clear and consistent messaging that speaks to their niche, solves their pain points and helps them run their businesses.
How can you clearly communicate your messaging?
It’s important that your firm’s brand stands out from the crowd…and that it’s unique. You want to create a brand that’s instantly recognized in a positive light.
- Know your brand identity. Before you can communicate your brand, you need to understand it. What’s your firm’s mission? What’s your story? Establish a brand message that speaks to your identity.
- Establish clear messaging. Every detail of your brand should have a purpose and be outlined in your style guide. This includes your brand’s voice, logo, color palettes and even your fonts. They should all tell a coherent and engaging story about your firm.
- Have an elevator speech. Make sure that everyone on your team knows your pitch backward and forward. It’s important that no matter where they are, they’re using the same messaging.
When working through a brand refresh, your entire team must be on the same page. Every social post, webpage and piece of content needs to be on brand to stay clear and consistent. And this means communicating in a way that your target audience understands. They’re not accountants; they’re people. Avoid using confusing jargon and keep everything clear, concise and to the point.
Is it time for a brand refresh?
Creating a brand is a monumental task. But refreshing it? Well, that requires introspection, courage and a clear understanding of your business model. Doing a brand refresh the right way ensures you’re not just another name in the sea of accounting firms. Rather, you’re a firm with a distinct voice, message and value proposition.
Reflect on your current brand messaging, make sure it aligns with your business model and don’t be afraid to make a change. Your brand will thank you.
For more information on refreshing your brand, send an email to email@example.com, and we’ll get in touch!