accounting marketing, brand strategy and design
Since the Big Eight seem to have become the Final Four, regional firms have picked up the pace to compete. Mergers continue apace as super-regionals now challenge clients once the exclusive preserve of the largest accounting firms, which makes branding more important than ever. We are proud to be right in the mix, helping those fast-growing firms define their brand strategy. Capturing attention for your brand message is more challenging than ever, which means your accounting firm website, logo/identity system, email marketing, brochures and advertising must be more persuasive today than yesterday. Smart accounting firms led by smart marketing and business development pros are staking their positions with engaging communications and programs that earn the attention of clients, recruits, their own people and the media. You can see some of our recent case studies here.
Why should you consider the brand strategy of your accounting firm?
• Competition. You have competitors and they are good, too.
• Lagging perception. Unless you control the market message, market perception will lag behind the reality of your firm. Existing clients—and certainly prospective clients—do not stay up at night studying your accounting firm's offerings. Unless you take control of market perception, market perception controls you.
• Loyalty. Give clients and staff a reason to care and continue caring.
• Differentiation. Clients will not remain loyal and prospects will not pick up the phone unless you tell them why they should, explaining clearly the benefits of your firm.
• Alignment. Senior professionals have goals juniors simply may not understand. Junior accountants have goals senior management may fail to appreciate. A brand exercise begins the conversation that puts everyone on the same page. No matter how often you think you've said it, there are folks who still don't get it. We believe we can help you sharpen the message and present it with style.
• Influence. To be successful, you must be able to influence business and market leaders. Strong brands influence others.
• Talent. The future of your firm is the talent that chooses to work with your firm. Attracting the best and brightest is a challenge for every accounting firm. A crystal clear brand can ease the effort to bring today's and tomorrow's stars in the door.
• Misperceptions. It may be that your primary business and marketing challenge is to change the perception of the firm. Not just improve it, but change it to something different. A well-articulated brand can correct misperceptions and bring people to your side.
Hot Topics for Accounting Firms
Mobile Marketing for Accounting Firms
According to Morgan Stanley, by 2014, more people will access the Internet from mobile devices than from computers.
Why this matters to your marketing?
In Google’s 2011 The Mobile Movement study, they found that 24% of smartphone users are looking for business information, products or services through a search engine on their mobile phone. Nine out of ten smartphone searchers have taken action as a result of their search; 68% visited a business and more than half of smartphone searchers made a purchase.
Our own research of professional services buyers in 2010 (Digital Outlook 2010) reinforces the new reality:
Executive level buyers of professional services are online, in droves:
• 94% are online daily for purposes other than email
• 83% report the Internet has replaced other methods of researching completely
• 78% surveyed say they go online to search for outside legal, accounting and consulting professionals, but the majority (50%) do so less than once a month on average.
For more about the state of mobile marketing for accounting firms, check out our Big Idea on Going Mobile.
Accounting Firm Website Best Practices
First impressions count and, as you’ve guessed, you don’t get a second chance. The first tangible evidence a buyer has of most firms is their website. We all agree, right, that your website must be compelling? Yet time after time, businesses introduce themselves to the world with an unfocused message, trite images and rubbery language that fail to convey a personality or brand to the viewer.
There are lots of traps: decorative, unconsidered images, blah-blah-blah me-too messages and generally lazy communication. We’ve said this before, but let’s start at the beginning: What is your brand message? Do the images support that message and are they compelling/riveting/thoughtful? Is the site easy to navigate? Are there interactive features that stop you in your tracks—awesome video or compelling animation? Are you engaged by your own site? Yow! Hard standard, right? If you are not, chances are good your prospective clients won’t be, either.
Check out our article on Your Website's First Impression to get a full list of accounting firm website best practices.