Launching Your Firm’s Brand

Emily James, CMP, Director of Marketing, Communications, and Events
June 18, 2019

When adding wealth management to your existing CPA practice, it is of vital importance to do one simple thing – tell people about it! It’s not enough to add a few service offerings to your webpage if your existing brand isn’t completely aligned with your newly-earned capabilities. How likely is it for a prospective client to call you for financial advice if your firm name is “John Smith CPAs” with no clear mention of wealth management services?

Whether you’re considering a complete wealth management and CPA firm rebrand, merging two firms, or acquiring a new one, take into consideration these five things when launching your firm’s new brand.

How You Show Up
Your name, your message, your look. At a minimum, your brand includes your firm name, logo, color palette and typography. For firms looking to add wealth management service offerings to their established practices, it may be tempting to start from scratch on the name, the logo and the colors. However, you can achieve maximum lift by building off an existing strong brand, or even rebranding both together. Smith CPAs can easily become Smith CPAs and Advisors* with a subtle logo update and perhaps a slight new take on the color palette. Marketing your firm as one company has huge benefits such as borrowing brand recognition from an established name to reducing design and collateral expenses with advertising efforts.

How You Interact
While you’re refining your website presence, the perfect place to get the word out online is with a financial services profile on LinkedIn. There is a minimum level of content quality expected on social media – you don’t have to include a ton of information, but it is expected that what is posted is high quality and up-to-date. Include a current, high-resolution professional photo along with your name, current title and geographic area that you generally serve (e.g., Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex as opposed to one small suburb). Don’t forget to drop in appropriate disclosures, your education, brief career history, any volunteer or community service efforts you champion and a brief description in your financial services profile.

Where They Find You
There is a basic expectation for all businesses to have a professional website for clients to peruse when deciding whether or not to use their services. There are many website builder platforms out there specifically for financial advisors, such as Advisor Websites or FMG Suite, with varying levels of customization and templates. Include high-quality photos and biographies of partners, advisors, assistants and any other key people with whom clients may interact. Clearly state all the services and expertise your firm offers to clients. Your website should clearly communicate your brand, your vision, your mission and your values. Once you have a website set up, ask yourself: “If someone referred me to this advisor and I visited this website, would I still call and set the appointment? Does this website present in the professional, high quality manner I would want someone to have when handling my financial matters?”

Speaking of appointments, be sure to have a clear way for people to both email and call you if they have questions, want to talk or desire to set a meeting. After you get the web basics handled, consider including a blog section for easy and quick posting of relevant firm news, as well as industry and market articles you’d like to share with your clients.

Your Presence
You have a name, a look, a social media presence and your website set up – now on to your physical office and materials. Clear, professional and visible signage for your office is vital to the first impression clients have when visiting your office. Work to create permanent, high-quality and prominently displayed signage, including your logo and address everywhere possible. For smaller or stand-alone office locations, one sign on at the street entrance may be enough. In other cases, such as some large office buildings, consider several smaller signs, names on virtual kiosks and additional signage on your floor or hallway. Within your office, look for other opportunities to showcase your brand. Pens, folders, appointment cards, reminder post cards, reports and video monitors are all opportunities to reinforce your brand to all visitors.

Open House Client Event
Now that you have a living, breathing firm identity, be sure to celebrate! A new name or logo is a great reason to host a client appreciation or networking event. Invite your top clients to your new office, and show them your new look every chance you can from invitations to branded giveaways. As with all client events, take the time to plan moments that create a delightful experience, leaving clients talking about you and your firm long after the last toast.

When starting a firm-wide rebrand, it’s easy to get stuck deep in the weeds on any of these projects. To get your new brand publicized and “open for business”, focus on doing the basic requirements really well – you’ll be glad you have a solid foundation to build on over time.

*Important Note: The degree to which CPA and accounting firms can be co-branded to include advisory/financial planning services varies from state to state. Firms should verify any changes to the firm’s name, logo or branding with their respective state boards of accountancy.

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