In today's dynamic accounting market, brands are so much a part of our day to day lives that we forget how much we depend on them. Look at successful businesses like McDonalds, Qantas and Coca Cola for example. Their brand is well recognised and the market knows what goods and services they offer.

Developing your Business Advisory Service Brand

Wikipedia defines a brand using the American Marketing Association definition as "a name, term, symbol or any other feature that identifies a seller's goods or services as distinct from those of other sellers."

Whenever I work with an accounting practice my first question is: what is your business advisory service brand name? What is the unique name that you will call you service offering and clients and prospects will readily know what this offering is? Often the answer is "I did not think of that" or "what would you call it?" or "what do other firms use?" or "let's just extend a name onto our practice name to get things going".

So much time is spent working on the brand for the compliance side of a practice. When it comes to business advisory it is often too difficult or linked into another totally different service line. This can often create confusion with the client around the services we offer to fill needs and the type of services they actually want. In other words moving from Compliance to Reliance.

Your business advisory brand sets you apart from your competition. It helps develop your unique selling proposition (USP) and is the link between compliance and reliance. When a current client witnesses the benefit of your business advisory service and tries to communicate that benefit to their contacts what will they call it? That thing you do with a computer and data projector? This is not good enough!

Successful accounting practices brand well and for good reason. Strong brands help:

  • Your clients to remember your service offering
  • Define your practice USP and build client loyalty
  • Make it easier for current clients to refer you to their friends, family and associates
  • Communicate what your clients can expect from your practice
  • Frame your service offering to existing client and prospects
  • Associate your business advisory software to a key service offering

Many practices assume that a brand is an image, or more simply a well-designed and attractive logo. This is only one part of the branding process. The most important thing to remember is that a brand is an assurance. With a brand, you set client expectations so when someone buys your business advisory service they count on those expectations being fulfilled.

With so many software offerings now on the market it is difficult to know what to choose and how to brand your service to enhance the benefits of the application to your client's business. To get a great outline of what is available come to Smithink's Accountants' Technology Showcase Australia (ATSA) at the Sydney Hilton Hotel on October 12 and 13. Click here for further details.

Remember your practice brand is your assurance not just an image. When you make and keep your commitment to your clients, they will keep coming back and refer you to others.

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Mark Holton Smithink