If you operate your own bookkeeping or accounting firm, you obviously want to brand your company so that potential customers will see you as trustworthy, knowledgeable, and affordable.
But shouldn’t a brand be a little more dazzling than the simple promise that you will give your clients the care and service that they need?
Does anyone quote companies who use brands like:
“We do a really good job.”
“We are trustworthy and capable.”
“We know what we’re doing.”
At the end of the day, that’s what you want people to know about you, but somehow just saying the truth seems inadequate in a culture that places high admiration on brand excellence.
Determining the components of your brand
Branding bookkeeping and accounting businesses is challenging as anyone who tries to do it can attest.
That is primarily because we are programmed to think of a brand as merely a good logo and a clever slogan.
It has to be catchy and memorable. It should make us look trendy and on top of our game.
We believe it must make us look unique.
Mostly we are wrong about all of the above.
Your brand is not your logo or your slogan, although they are components of it. And you only need to be really trendy if you sell something really trendy. Bookkeeping services, payroll management, budgeting, and tax preparation are essential to business success, but they are not really trendy are they? So don’t even try to compete with the people who sell neon sneakers, crypto-currencies or the latest in smart-home devices.
Can your service comprise your brand?
If what you do doesn’t allow fodder for impressive branding, then what does? The way you do it? Your service?
Every company worth its salt promises great service, affordable prices and knowledgeable staff.
It’s important that you do as well, but it won’t give you a brand that is discernible from the other bookkeeping firms in your market.
Like a slogan and a logo, your service is a component of your brand, but it isn’t the foundation of it.
The secret of branding
So how do you brand your booking and accounting company?
You tell your own story. That is what you have that makes you different from everyone else.
You set aside the glitter and simplify things. You figure out what your potential clients really need to know about what you do. You tell them what you deliver and how you provide that service in a way that best suits their needs.
You don’t have to overcomplicate your branding strategy.
Who are you? Are you knowledgeable and experienced in your field? Tell your potential clients that and offer proof in the form of certifications and third party endorsements if you have them.
What do you do? Make it clear what your service offerings are. Package your products conveniently and offer fixed prices so they can budget for your services without surprises.
Do you have a specialty? Are you particularly used to working in a niche market like mining or e-commerce or hospitality? Explain what it is.
Are you up-to-date with your technology? This matters more and more so be sure your potential clients know you keep up with everything. Tell them what software you use, demonstrate how you can help their business by introducing new technology ecosystems.
How you translate your story to your brand
Recently we went through a rebranding exercise at AIS Solutions to determine if we were telling our story succinctly and simply.
We adapted the simple slogan “Bookkeeping. Done Right” because that’s what most of our leads are seeking.
We added a tag-line that explains the services we offer:
“Bookkeeping Services and Cloud Accounting Solutions For Small Business.”
It’s clear, it’s concise and it is exactly what we do.
In our story, we traced how Juliet Aurora had founded the firm and a bit about its history. We talked about our guarantee of good service and how every client has duplicate team support with their company so they are never left in the lurch due to illness or vacation. In other words, we talked about what matters not just to us, but to our clients.
We also told them our story about how we won a number of awards culminating with Intuit’s prestigious Firm of the Future Award.
That is our personal story and it is one of the things that makes us unique.
Can you find something in your story that distinguishes you? Can you promise to take care of your clients and explain how you will do that?
That is your brand.
Keep your literature consistent
In our blogs, we continue to try to tell our story cohesively. We have expertise, our bookkeepers are certified, and we are so sure we can help that we offer a money-back guarantee, unusual in our industry.
We repeat this message over and over again in whatever forum we are speaking. Consistency is king when it comes to story-telling. If you tell one version one place and a different one somewhere else, your credibility is hurt.
You must be getting the message now. We’re not selling luxurious autonomous cars or robot assistants. Our business doesn’t snap, crackle and pop.
All we have is our experience, our knowledge and our effort to do right by our clients.
At the end of the day, we need to be able to communicate that clearly to clients, or they won’t support us.
I believe that consistency of your story, simplicity of your approach, and concern for your client’s needs are the foundation of branding strategies for bookkeeping and accounting firms.
And, if we get all of those things right we might just achieve this definition from Scott Cook, the founder of Intuit: “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is — it is what consumers tell each other it is.”
If you would like to learn more about branding I highly recommend that you read “What Great Brands Do by Denise Lee Yohn – a renowned expert on branding. She describes a brand this way, “Your brand can ’t just be a promise; it must be a promise delivered.”
Take a straightforward approach to your message and it will stand by you well as your business grows.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Until the next time. Take care.
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