The Importance of Branding to Your CPA Firm

Mar 18, 2022
the-importance-of-branding-to-your-cpa-firm

Your firm’s brand plays a more significant role than you think when it comes to its value. A common mistake that many firms make is neglecting to treat their brand like the asset it is. According to Forbes Councils member Blair Brady, “A company’s brand is its single most important asset.”1 Like any asset, your brand has to be prioritized and protected to help it grow; if done correctly, your brand can be a powerful tool in your firm’s success.

What Is and Is Not a Brand 

Branding is commonly misunderstood. A brand is not a logo. It’s not a name, nor is it a jingle or a mascot.

A brand is the core of what you deliver to your customers. It’s what your customers feel about you and what you’re selling. It’s a promise. How you deliver upon that promise dictates the level of trust and loyalty you build among your customers. Your logo, name, and tagline are tools you use to communicate that promise. 

Where Does a Brand Come From?

Brands are generally built by customer experiences and perceptions, so the customer actually dictates your brand. 

Given that CPA firm work revolves entirely around services, customer experience will heavily influence branding. Each time a team member interacts with a customer, your brand is either being strengthened or weakened. 

Building your CPA firm’s brand is not a one-way street. A strong feedback chain from your management team to your customer service team, to your customer, and back to the management team is crucial. You should be adapting your offerings to meet customers’ needs – which can only be learned through feedback – while also making sure you deliver upon the brand goals set forth by management. 

The Power of a Strong Brand

Statistics show that 80% of a firm’s revenue comes from just 20% of its customers.2 This means a large portion of your business’s revenue comes from loyal repeat customers. The best way to create a loyal customer is through a great customer experience, or from strong brands. 

In addition to becoming a sustainable revenue source, loyal customers of strong brands turn into no-cost influencers for your business. They help bring in new clients for you just by word of mouth. 

Is It Time for a Brand Change?

A brand, like your business, should never become stagnant. It’s a living thing that’s constantly evolving as you grow and change. To determine if it’s time for a brand change, ask these questions:
  • Are you unsure of your brand?
  • Have there been changes to the market that would affect your position or the delivery of services?
  • Are you entering a new market?
  • Is your competition rising?
  • Have you seen a decline in business?
  • Has your current brand become stale and outdated?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to update your brand. 

How Do You Fix a Brand?

If you’ve determined that your brand needs a change, there are several steps you should take to get started. Each rebranding process will be unique, but here are a few of the most important things to do when rebuilding an existing brand: 
  • Assess your brand’s current position.
  • Define and create criteria to evaluate the new brand assets.
  • Engage employees.
  • Define your brand-launch road map.
  • Define how you will measure and track the new brand.

Key to Success

The most important thing to remember about building a successful brand is that customer experience is the driving force. Most other elements of your brand communicate the promise of what that experience will be. If you can’t deliver on your brand promise, you may attract customers in the short term, but you’ll lose them. When you sit down and think about your brand, consider the following: 
  • What experience does the firm want to deliver to customers?
  • What experience are you delivering now?
  • How are they different?
  • What needs to be done to deliver the customer experience that you want?
  • How can you implement actions to create an authentic brand that delivers on the brand promise?  

1 Blair Brady, “Your Brand Is Your Greatest Asset,” Forbes (Feb. 24, 2020).  
2 Johanna Rivard, “The Marketing 80/20 Rule and How to Take Advantage of It,”
Marketing Insider Group (Feb. 22, 2017). 
 

Meredith Foster is marketing coordinator for Communicate By Design-x in Charleston, S.C. She can be reached at meredith@cbd-x.com.

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