Posted by David Oates 1 week, 5 days ago

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It’s not only possible, but it's also essential.

I saw this play out recently at a client conference in Minneapolis. Panalitix is a renowned coaching and technology service provider specifically designed to assist accounting firms in growing their business. Sia Kal, Vice President of Implementation, led the audience of business owners and partners through a comprehensive, two-day program that helped them work more ON their business instead of solely IN their business. Among the exercises included a brand definition initiative where participants defined not just what their firm does, but the uniqueness of it regarding how and why. 

The curveball came when Sia gave them only five minutes to do it. The audience responded with shock and anxiety as they began to frantically think about how to craft a short sentence that articulated their firm's identity fully. Some even muttered in low, hushed tones about the impossibility of the assignment and the silliness of it.

I saw it differently. Sia showed brilliance in requiring participants to come up with their answers in such a short period. While not disregarding the time it takes to develop a logo and other illustrative products that accompany comprehensive branding initiatives, every business owner should be able to articulate why it exists and why it’s better than competitors without hesitation. This is especially so for professional advisor firms — particularly for small, independent shops — because their brand promise is synonymous with the owner’s core beliefs.

Herein lies the rub. Business owners drive the brand by their actions. Attempting to do otherwise is fruitless and costly. Any branding discussion — most certainly a strategic rebranding project — should keep this in mind. It not only will save owners a significant amount of money, but it will also ensure that the company’s identity is genuine and sustainable. 

All that doesn’t mean that the rest of the marketing plan is easy. Far from it, It takes discipline to attract customers, partners and investors. But the issue remains that no matter how slick the ads and targeted the social media posts, every company does not ground its brand identity based on what the owners hold true will not succeed. A company’s core reason for existence should be readily apparent to its leaders. If it’s not, they should seek help immediately.

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