Branding Basics for Accounting Firms: A Starter’s Guide
First impressions matter. To attract and close deals with clients, it’s important to portray your accounting firm the right way. But how do you do this? In this article, learn the importance of branding for accounting firms, including its non-negotiable branding elements.
What is branding?
Branding is the process of creating a unique identity for your accounting firm to set you apart from competitors. It’s your firm’s personality — who it is, what it stands for, and how people see it.
Why is branding important to your accounting firm?
Financial management is critical to the success or failure of a business. This explains why most clients are meticulous in selecting an accounting service provider.
Before they delve deeper into your services, expertise, prices, and other related factors, one of the first things they’ll consider is the personality of your firm. It includes elements such as your purpose, unique selling points, tone of voice, and extends to visual elements like logo and website design.
Your brand identity is important because it’s an indicator of your consistency with your purpose. For instance, if your firm’s purpose is: “to help businesses improve their accounting processes through the quality and friendly service of our skilled accountants,” then having an excellent customer service team is one of the efforts you can do to prove that your organization is indeed “friendly.” Not only does it show your competence but also your high regard for quality service.
Using your brand identity, you can show your clients why you qualify to be their accounting partner instead of being kicked out from their extensive prospect list.
The non-negotiable branding elements
Start by defining your persona to serve as the foundation of your branding strategy. It must include the following elements:
- Purpose: This is your “why” — the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing.
- Vision, Mission, Goals, and Objectives (VMGO): It creates the alignment between your firm and your staff. It ensures everyone in your organization is working towards a common goal (i.e., your purpose).
- Unique selling point: This is what you stand for and sets you apart from competitors.
- The tone of voice: It refers to the way you deliver your message to your ideal audience. How do you want to come across? Professional, reliable, thoughtful, mature, or youthful? How do you make people feel? Comfortable, confident, alarmed, pressured?
- Buyer personas: These are your ideal clients whom you prefer to work with. If you’d like to work with small business owners, for example, it’s better to use a simple, direct, and conversational tone of voice.
Related: 3 Easy and Inexpensive Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses
Once you have a unique identity, it’s time to start working on your visual and physical branding aspects:
- Logo: Your logo plays a huge role in creating awareness. This is why it’s important to keep it simple yet memorable. Our company logo at D&V Philippines, for example, is composed of letters D and V, and form a forward sign which reflects our purpose to “lead our clients forward.”
- Website: Your website is the best tool to effectively convey your brand persona, especially to potential clients who are still “shopping around” different accounting service providers. Some of the factors you need to consider are the font and typography, color, content, and page speed.
Take a quick look at your website, if you already have one. Set aside your biases and answer these questions honestly. Does your website look professional and trustworthy? How do you feel while looking at it? If you stumble upon this website while looking for a service provider, do you think it can capture your attention?
Branding is also about sticking to your promises
Developing an exceptional branding identity is essential in attracting clients and closing deals. However, it does not give you the guarantee of turning your new clients into loyal, long-term partners.
Branding is an ongoing process. It’s not about the flashy website design or high ad ranking you have. Rather, it’s what you do consistently that defines your identity. Yes, it’s important to gain a positive first impression, but how long will this impression last? Can you make your clients stay by delivering what you promised? Or will you drive them to your competitors by failing to meet their expectations? Remember, their online reviews have the power to affect your branding no matter how hard you work for it.
Supporting the growth of your firm
Do you struggle in meeting your client’s demands and expectations? D&V Philippines can match you with the right talent who can support your firm’s growing needs. If you’re interested in exploring this service, talk to one of our experts today. You can also read our whitepaper, D&V Philippines: Your Talent Sourcing Partner, to learn how we develop our people.