Branding For Accountants, The Ultimate Guide
Branding for accountants may sound niche, and you may be thinking, 'do accounting firms really need to bother with branding?' But as with all companies, branding matters.
What is branding for accountants?
As the accounting industry is highly competitive, having a strong brand that reflects the values of your company is essential. In today’s noisy marketplace, it’s more important than ever for your brand to stand out so you can not only survive – but thrive. Branding is one of the most powerful and versatile tools you can use for your business.
Having a solid brand identity for your accounting practice is crucial. In the first few moments of a potential customer’s or ideal client’s interaction with your business, your branding sets the tone for the rest of the experience. With strong branding, not only can you build trust and inspire loyalty, but you can establish yourself as a reliable and dependable market leader.
Whether you’re a startup, a small business or a global corporation, this guide to branding for accountants explains the importance of company branding, how to get the best results and where to begin. Let’s dive in.
Why you need branding for an accounting firm
Accountants know that the accounting services market is saturated. There are dozens of professional services to choose from, so make sure that you give consumers a reason to choose yours. The question is, how do you do it?
Enter your company branding – which, when properly executed, will differentiate you from your competitors and give consumers a reason to remember you and keep coming back for more.
Creating a powerful brand for your accounting business will help you build trust, make a positive point of difference, attract the right clients, and inspire your staff.
How to approach branding for accountants?
Strong brands are built on the foundation of a clear purpose that extends beyond merely making money. Whether it’s improving your clients’ lives or their businesses, your accounting firm needs a clearly stated and well-articulated purpose. Make sure your clients feel that your services will make their lives easier, meet their business needs, and enable them to reach their life goals.
However, it’s not just about your services. Since most people are familiar with accountants’ duties, try not to get bogged down in the detail and instead focus on your strengths. Let your audience know what makes you unique and why they should choose you over anyone else.
When it comes to the branding process, there are many things to consider, but let’s start with the most critical elements – the branding essentials.
1. Brand Promise and Purpose
In today’s market, consumers are concerned about who they are doing business with. Thousands of accountants provide the same services for a similar price. In light of this, starting with your business is the logical first step in defining your brand.
Consider why your accounting firm exists. How would you describe your vision, mission, values, and goals? What problem is your firm trying to solve, and how will you solve it?
Invest time and effort into creating your brand promise. To craft your brand promise, you need to answer the following questions:
- How do your clients want them to feel when they purchase from you?
- To maintain consistency, what must you deliver repeatedly?
- What can you do to make your clients feel valued and surprised?
- What will you do to make your customer service remarkable?
2. Brand Positioning
Your company’s success – or failure – depends on how you position yourself in the marketplace. The focus is on what you do, who you do it for, and the value you provide.
Consider what you excel at, what your audience is most interested in, and what your competitors seem to neglect when defining your strategic position, and remember – you can tweak your positioning over time as your audience and business strategy change.
You should consider the following:
- What solutions do you seek to provide?
- Who is your target audience or demographic?
- How can you help them?
3. Brand Personality
Forging connections with your customer base requires a strong and unique personality. This is an integral aspect of accounting firm branding today. There is no denying that accounting is about numbers and assisting business growth – but people are also drawn to human qualities they are able to identify and connect with.
This is where your brand personality comes in. Every brand touchpoint – from your website and LinkedIn to your business cards and brand colours – should convey your brand’s personality. Consider the following:
- Does your website’s homepage convey what you’re all about?
- What does your tone of voice say about you? Is it formal, funny, corporate or friendly?
- Are you sophisticated, rugged, sincere or excited?
4. Brand Story
A story separates you from the rest of the world. It’s only possible to differentiate your brand or your accounting practice with one.
To stand out, you must build a company that people care about and want to contribute to (with a mission, vision, and purpose – of course).
Your brand story is why you exist. It’s what customers will resonate with and what will motivate them to invest in your services time and time again. As a result of a strong and relatable brand story, you get like-minded business leads and clients who share your values and philosophy.
5. Brand identity
Defining your firm’s brand identity is critical. The essence of your brand determines how the public perceives it. Your identity strategy should align with your brand image and include everything from your logo, colour palette, font, tone of voice, image style.
Accountants’ branding should work on creating an identity from within. As soon as you’ve established all of the above, think about how you’ll tie it all together. Establish clear brand guidelines and a value proposition that define your brand identity in detail.
What’s the difference between brand, branding and brand identity for accountants?
Perhaps you are wondering how these three terms differ from one another. Understanding the differences between brand, branding, and identity is the first step toward building a solid brand. Your brand’s image and perception are created through each of them, which all function harmoniously to build your brand.
Brand – What you stand for
This is what your brand is all about. It’s your purpose, your meaning.
As Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos said, ‘your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.’ It’s how your brand is perceived both externally and internally. It’s what your stakeholders, clients, partners and employees think of you.
Your brand is the emotions, associations, feelings, and stories that come to mind when people consider your company. Just look at big brands like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Coca-Cola. You have an emotional response to these brands – whether good or bad. The emotional response these brand giants elicit is exactly what has secured their global reputation as robust brands.
Branding – The strategy used to communicate your business
This is all about managing your brand’s meaning. How do you wish to be perceived, as sophisticated, rugged, sincere, thoughtful, rugged, excited or as something else entirely?
Your branding strategy affects how customers think about your brand every time they interact with it. Clarifying what your brand is and is not helps people identify and experience your brand and gives them a reason to choose your products over others.
Combining elements such as logos, designs, mission statements, and a consistent theme throughout all marketing communications and branding helps create a positive perception of a company, as well as its products and services.
Companies that effectively brand themselves differentiate themselves from their competitors and build loyal customer bases. It’s so important that companies who feel they’re missing the mark undergo total rebrands or brand refreshes to get it right. Tony’s Chocolate, Apple, and Nike all know how to tell a story with branding. Customer loyalty is built on these stories – it’s what keeps them coming back for more.
Brand identity – Your brand’s identifying elements
Brand identity and brand image are two sides of the same coin. A brand’s identity is its visible elements, such as its typefaces, photography styles, colours, design, and logo design, which identify and distinguish it in people’s minds.
In essence, identity is why a company chooses its visual elements. Whereas a brand’s image is what results from these efforts, whether they are successful or not.
There’s no doubt that your brand’s identifying elements should always remain consistent. Consumers want to buy from a brand they trust, and feel like they know. It’s imperative to communicate your brand voice and aesthetic consistently with consumers in order to let them know who you are as an organisation. The more consumers feel they can trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you – it’s that simple.
How to attract new clients for an accounting firm?
Client acquisition is the lifeblood of any business. Time is precious, so accomplishing this quickly and effortlessly is essential. To help you get there, we’ve put together five tips to help you attract new clients organically:
1. Use content marketing
Creating and sharing content regularly is a great marketing strategy for improving brand engagement and gaining high returns on investment. You can dramatically affect your firm’s growth and profitability by making the right marketing decisions.
Starting a podcast or creating a blog is a great way to connect with your current customers and reach new ones while building a trustworthy and helpful reputation. Take a look at existing blogs to see what’s out there and determine what you can contribute.
2. Network, network, network
You should get out and about in the accounting world and remember to take your business cards along. Make sure everyone in your local community knows who you are – whether it is potential clients or other local business owners you may be able to work with.
Consider attending events outside of the accounting world. Participants at these events can become your future customers, and even if they don’t need your services directly, they might know someone who does.
By attending these events, you’ll have the opportunity to network with othwe business owners, from whom you’ll be able to learn valuable information. For example, you can adjust your value proposition based on their pain points, potential opportunities, and approaches.
3. Be active on social media.
You can improve your brand’s image by having a social media presence. Whether it’s sharing relevant content for CPAs, connecting with old clients or sharing past achievements – it can be constructive.
Ensure you are familiar with the differences between LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube. You may need to test different mediums because some work better than others.
It is excellent if you are already active on social media, but if you are not, you could miss out on many opportunities. You can participate in relevant online communities when you find your niche.
4. Ask for referrals
The power of word-of-mouth marketing lies in its ability to inspire trust in your brand and services. The process of asking your client for a recommendation seems straightforward. However, it requires strong relationships and sometimes requires some investment.
To get your client to refer your accounting firm, you must first motivate them. What is the best way to do this? Providing excellent service. From here, you can encourage people to leave referrals by creating a referral program or giving discounts to customers who recommend you. Even so, it would help if you didn’t solely rely on word-of-mouth marketing. Positive referrals can be reinforced through digital marketing. Consider writing a LinkedIn post, an article, or hosting a Q&A highlighting your work’s benefits.
5. Ensure that your website represents you well.
Does your website represent your business, and does it make the most of your bookkeeping or accounting services? Investing in a high-quality website is essential whether you outsource or create it in-house. A world-class website not only reflects well on your business but is a powerful lead-generation tool as well. Google can reward you with a top ranking on your website if you use considered content, targeted messaging, and SEO.
Time to invest in your branding?
Increasingly, companies are realising the value of digital marketing and branding for accountants. You are hopefully now more aware of the benefits you can reap from having a strong brand identity for your accounting firm. And, if you’re now looking to build or improve your own, our professional branding services can provide a helping hand.
You can use the right branding strategy to build a strong value proposition, increase your credibility, make your firm more visible, and attract new clients – and as brand experts with years of experience creating identities that resonate and connect, we’d be happy to help.
It is important to never overlook the power of language, so if you want to explore the potential of branding and release the power of words, get in touch. As an agency with a knack for creating visual brand identities, we’re here to help. Feel free to reach out to us if you are ready to start your branding journey.