Your firm already has a logo and a website. Your branding job is done, right? Not exactly. Gone are the days where simply having an online presence and an eye-catching logo were enough to attract new clients and set you apart from your competition. Today, clients want an experience and meaningful interactions. So, how do you give them that? Branding.
How a company is identified and distinguished, also known as branding, is essential for any business no matter the size, industry, clientele or years in operation. It leaves an impression on your customers, lets them know what they are getting and builds their trust. How you brand your firm can greatly influence your success. Businesses that show consistent branding increase revenue up to 23%.
Follow the below tips to help set you apart from your competition.
Be authentic. How you demonstrate your business’s core values, credibility and ethics all play a part in your brand’s authenticity. The easiest way to do this is to tell your unique story. Who are you? Why do you exist? What value do you bring? Your core values become more apparent as you go through the details of your story and pinpoint what matters most to you. Make sure to convey these core values in your communication with prospective or current clients — whether it’s in the “About us” section of your website, on your social media pages or in your first meeting.
Credibility stems from your trustworthiness and expertise. Are you transparent? Are you dependable? Do you offer quality services? A “yes” answer to these questions will help you gain trust. As a CPA, your expertise is obvious. You have gone the extra mile to show that your knowledge and skills go above and beyond what is required to be an accountant. Think about what else you can provide to clients to help distinguish your firm.
You adhere to a code of professional conduct as a CPA — so you’ve got the ethics part covered.
Be clear. The services you offer and how you deliver them should reflect your brand. If your brand revolves around being innovative and technologically savvy, the products you offer should provide opportunities and client solutions that are just that.
The CPA brand can also provide a clear way to distinguish your services from other non-CPA accountants. Using resources such as the newly launched .cpa domain for your website can clearly distinguish your business as a CPA firm. It also provides an extra level of security for you and your clients through a harder-to-spoof online identity. The CPA logo will help highlight your designation.
Be consistent. Your messaging should be consistent through every point of contact — whether in-person or online. Your website, social media accounts, giveaway items and even the content you produce all work together to provide an overall customer experience. Being consistent helps potential clients remember you.
Be deliberate. The clients you target and the channels you choose to market your firm all help build your brand. Consider doing demographic research to better define your target audience. This will help ensure your targeted demographic isn’t too narrow, excluding potential clients and isn’t too broad, attracting clients who wouldn’t benefit from your services.
Be memorable. Consider aligning your business with a cause that also shares the same core values. This shows that you are consistent in what you support and provides another way to distinguish your firm from others. If aligning your business with a cause isn’t an option, consider what you can do to make each potential client interaction special and valuable.
Whether you are an established firm or just getting started, following these tips can help grow both your brand and your business.
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Originally published by AICPA.org