Do you want to guess what my viewpoint on this is? Well, I disagree, strongly. When you think of branding, large consumer brands often come to mind–Nike, Apple, Coke. Using great branding to build demand for products has been around for eons but it’s not just for consumer facing products. Your professional services firm should use branding as a way to differentiate and build demand too.
Think about the big boys of professional services. Companies like BDO, Reed Smith, and AECOM, have been doing this for years. They’ve spent time and energy working on a valuable brand image crafted to level up their client base, move the needle in their business, and grow their brand.
Many small- to medium-sized professional services firms haven’t focused on their respective brands because they haven’t had the time, are not fully aware of the benefits, or think it’s not going to help their company grow. Or—and this is often the biggest reason—it’s not how they have routinely landed new clients.
These firms often get new clients through referrals, business meetings, or traditional advertising. They’ve relied on the reputation of the firm and its professionals. And when they’ve considered branding they’ve often defaulted to defining themselves with a traditional mission statement.
This is where an effective brand strategy comes in. Because branding done right has absolutely nothing to do with a company’s mission statement.
So what is branding?
Here is how Ashley Friedlein, CEO and co-founder of Econsultancy describes a brand: Brand is the sum total of how someone perceives a particular organization. Branding is about shaping that perception.
Branding is a combination of unified elements (your logo, copy, site design, etc.) people use to identify, understand, and distinguish the product or service they are going to buy. In essence, effective branding is about delivering a crystal clear message to the right audience.
And why should you brand your professional services firm?
Branding a professional services firm is more about actionable messages directed to an ideal client and built to elicit a repose. Someone viewing your firm’s marketing should quickly understand both your expertise and what makes your company unique. It’s an ongoing message that speaks to them, inspires them on some level, and sparks them to contact you.
What is the first step to branding your professional services firm?
The first step to doing this is figuring out how to position your firm. If you haven’t started this process, take a look at the two worksheets below, starting with the Brand Positioning Worksheet.
Or check out my many posts on this very topic: https://mcbreenmarketing.com/blog/
Branding is WAY more than visual identity.
Effective brand messaging clearly and concisely shows what you do, why you do it, and speaks to your ideal customer. It should be clear who you are talking to, what you will do for them, why their experience with you will be unique, and what their next step should be.
If you haven’t started to define this process, get started today.
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