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Rebranding? Tips for Brand Positioning and Roll-out

Is your brand muddied by years of neglect or “remodeling” by a few industrious staff? You know, the niche leader who adjusts a logo for a sponsorship ad or the administrator who doesn’t stick to the branded colors?

Aside from wrangling internal staff to present a consistent visual brand, the biggest weakness and threat for professional service firms is often the outdated look and feel of their websites. The top offenders?

  • Old font styles
  • Cluttered home pages
  • Content that is too focused on firm services rather than visitor needs
  • Not responsive on mobile devices

Does My Firm Need a New Brand?

A rebrand is in your future if your brand is five or more years old. Also, if competing firms have already invested in updated branding, you can’t lag behind on first impressions. Most cold to warm leads today are creating a short list based on your website and online impression. You can’t afford to ignore your brand when your pipeline depends on it.

Are you ready to rebrand? Check out our branding services.

Branding is more than a visual image or color.  A brand is the promise you make to clients and potential clients about what it will be like to work with you. Your brand promises a certain experience.

The promises of your brand are based on:

  • Stories you and your staff tell about the firm
  • Stories your clients tell about the firm
  • Name of the firm that is easy to pronounce and memorable
  • Strong brand positioning statement, key messages, and tagline
  • Visual image of your packaging, including logo, font type, brochures, stationery, proposals, and website
  • Your delivery of the client experience
  • Your talent brand to attract and retain professionals

If everyone is saying something different about your firm, it’s hard to distinguish your value from the crowd through marketing messages or sales communications. It’s also not competitive to say that your firm delivers “quality service” or “seeks long-term relationships.” Those messages are table stakes that everyone says. You must dig deeper to your firm’s true value.

Why is Branding Hot?

The secret of good branding is in integrating what staff, clients and the public think and expect from your firm. The best branding gains a strong and permanent place in the mind.     

A complete branding process in a professional service firm involves:   

Research

  • Leadership research – Five or more leadership interviews to seek common themes
  • Client research– “A” client phone interviews
  • Competitive research – Research on three to five top competitors
  • Community research– Current marketing materials, involvement and sponsorship/philanthropy review

Themes

  • Create a positioning statement – a summary that distinguishes your firm within a target market or markets
  • Create key messages – essentially the experience you promise to deliver in three to five themes that is different from other firms
  • Gather feedback from leadership and key employees
  • Conduct client focus group(s) to gather feedback on the themes

Tactics

  • Finalize competitive themes and positioning statement
  • Train leaders and staff on use of themes
  • Develop marketing and business development tactics surrounding themes
  • Develop or refresh of visual branding kit, including colors, logo, stationery, website, etc.

 

How Long Does It Take?

This initial branding process can be completed within one to two months, depending on the availability of clients and leaders. But its value for getting everyone to speak the same language about your firm will pay dividends in the consistency and ease of promoting your firm going forward.   

New Brand, Now What?

To the roll-out! Finalize your new brand program by scheduling a firm story/key message training and integration of the brand into everyday use. Make it fun for everyone to embrace the new brand. Change is hard, so get everyone on board early in your roll-out. Consider a small celebration internally before you announce to clients and the world through your materials, client communications and public relations.

Learn how to roll-out your new brand in this blog post.

Remember that good branding is not safe and not always pleasant! If there is controversy about the brand promises or the images used to portray them, it probably means the work is good. It often forces a culture shift. Not everyone may like it.

How Do You Know That Your New Brand is Working?

It’s working when it allows you to talk about your firm with confidence and explain how it’s different from the competitors. It’s working when people respond with affirmative nods and additional questions. Now you have an opening to share your unique story and build stronger relationships. 

See how we created an award-winning brand for Casey Peterson, Ltd.

 

 


 

Five Design Tips for SEO-Friendly Web Design

Is your new website designed for search engine optimization? Robert Wasiluk, design consultant at Ingenuity Marketing Group, shares five design tips to consider for SEO-friendly web design. Learn SEO best practices for your website including video crawling, alt text on images, responsive site design, site speed and 301 redirects. Implement these five tips and enhance your website’s SEO performance.

As mentioned in the video
Site speed test: https://gtmetrix.com/

Learn about Ingenuity’s digital marketing services.


Brand positioning
that gets noticed

Go beyond visual representation when rolling out your brand.

When most people think about their brand, they think only of the logo and the visual representation to their audience. However, in its entirety, your brand extends to the idea of your business in the minds of those you are connecting with and the promises you make regarding your brand. As Robert Wasiluk, our design consultant   said recently in this video on branding, “good brand positioning will help project you as more professional and experienced…and a good first impression of your brand will convince clients and prospects to check out your social pages and website, giving you valuable leads.”

Your brand tells your clients and prospects about your promise to them and communicates what is unique about you. If your brand promise is in line with how your clients view you, then the firm can more easily deliver on its core values and focus on growth strategies. This translates to improved brand loyalty through retention of your best clients, referrals and acquisition of new ones. It can also cultivate improved employee satisfaction and engagement.

How to roll out a new brand

We often get asked by clients how to roll out their brand once the market research and design process are complete. This is often the stage that gets missed to accurately communicate and promote your brand positioning —  not only outside the firm but also inside. Keep in mind that not everyone is involved in the branding process within your firm. The team will need to better understand the value of the new brand in order to embrace it and communicate it. Here are some tips:

  • Develop an internal rollout strategy that includes branding key theme training, sales questions tied to themes, proposal content in line with key branding themes and a fun team activity or celebration. You can also order “gifts” like t-shirts or desk accessories with the new visual brand and create posters of your key themes.
  • With your external rollout, keep your audiences in mind. You will need communications for existing clients to help them understand the value of your brand positioning. If you did client interviews or focus groups, make sure to share your new brand with those clients first and make them feel special.
  • For prospective clients, promote your new brand through social media and updates to your website. Consider adding content that outlines the new brand or specific web features and updates that visitors should pay attention to. Consider a unique marketing or ad campaign to promote your brand positioning.
  • Although this tip is tougher, don’t rule out opportunities for getting press attention for the brand positioning. This could be done through professional associations and industry associations or civic organizations in your region. Occasionally, general or business press will publish the news if your firm is a larger employer in the region. Be prepared with a release and talking points.

There are many more aspects to your brand positioning after the messaging and visual design are complete. Even if you have already created your brand, it’s not too late to put a strategy in place to reinforce it to your team internally, clients and prospects.

Not sure where to start? Get support for brand positioning and rolling out your brand.


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7 Proposal Writing Tips

7 Tips for Writing Winning Proposals

Writing a proposal can be a daunting, but very important, task. In order to win new business, your proposals need to be great. We’ve helped clients from all industries define their value proposition, improve proposals and successfully close the deal.

Here are seven tips for writing winning proposals from our team to yours:

  1. Avoid jargon. Unless you’re specifically using the prospect’s language, avoid using jargon. Reduce wordiness by eliminating unneeded words. Write as if you are speaking directly to the prospect. The proposal should be readable and engaging with consumable pieces of information.
  2. Answer questions posed in the RFP. The prospect will include the problems they are trying to solve. Specifically answer those questions with your solution. For example, does a government agency need to audit their recent tax returns? Use the proposal to explain why and how your firm will not only complete the task, but exceed expectations.
  3. Include a value proposition that sets you apart. What makes your firm unique?
  4. Include pricing levels. The prospect wants to see options. Give them pricing levels, such as gold, silver and bronze.
  5. Use photos and graphs where possible. Illustrate numbers and important figures with infographics and photographs. This will draw the reader’s eye towards the important stuff and help break up the text.
  6. Use the back cover, if possible. This is prime real estate. If you have some freedom with the layout of your proposal, sneak something important on the back cover. Client testimonials are an easy one to include on the back cover.
  7. Respond quickly and keep it short. On average, winning proposals get to the client in less than three days and are less than five pages long.

 

Do you need help with your value proposition, improving your proposals and closing the deal? We do that. Contact dawn@ingenuitymarketing.com.

five of hearts

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Image of closed sign

I Hate to Close

By Wendy Nemitz, Founder of Ingenuity Marketing Group 

Closing a sale is simple.

You wouldn’t know it from how much energy most professional service providers put into avoiding it. You would think it was a root canal; the way most professionals protest, they would rather do anything than close a sale.

Closing a sale is not magic. It is simply making sure that the questions have been answered, necessary issues have been raised, and potential clients know you would like to work with them.

Closing a professional service sale sounds like this:

  • “Your business sounds like a great fit for our firm. We would enjoy working with you and giving you great service. When will you be making a decision?”
  • “We have certainly enjoyed talking through your challenges to profitability. We have gone through the process for cost segregation and how we can analyze the data and help you pinpoint both cost savings and profit improvement strategies. We would enjoy moving forward with this project. When would you like to start?”
  • “I enjoy working with family businesses and have been able to watch many of the succession plans we’ve worked on go smoothly into place and keep both the business and the family happy. Shall we set up a meeting to start working through the major issues?”
  • “I have time to begin this project next week. Is that soon enough for you?”
  • “I enjoyed meeting you and appreciate your trust in our firm. How would you like me to follow up with you?”

I am making a change in my business and as a result am interviewing people to help me. No one closes! Most of the professionals I have spoken with take an hour to meet with me, answer my questions, tell me about their firms and then smile and shake my hand. Almost no one asks when this change will take place or even tells me they would enjoy working with me. Only a few follow up. This leaves me unsure of what to do next and if my company is a good fit for their firm.

Pushy Sales People

Many professionals are afraid of appearing pushy or “salesy” if they close any kind of sales interview. They think they might be pushing people to make decisions they are not ready to make.

Why would they be at your firm if they did not need you? They need you. If you can help them with their problems or concerns, you need to tell them so and tell them you would like to work with them. Closing a sale is not about pushing me or any potential client. It is about assuring the potential client of your sincere interest in working with them and your ability to perform the job. If you do not assure them that you are interested in the work, why should they choose you?

It is a real kindness to potential clients to assure them of your interest in their organizations and your firm’s ability to serve them well. It shows consideration to ask them what the timeline for their decisions are and to suggest a next step. Very few potential clients hire new firms regularly. It is your job to tell them the process and help them get started.

The market has changed and most people now have practice development and new client acquisition in their job descriptions. One of the most valuable things you can think about is how to close a sale. Don’t look for a magic word or phrase because there is not one. Think about something you can say that is sincere, that sounds like you, and that directs the potential client to the next step. You can use any of the phrases listed.

Rehearse saying this phrase a few times and write it down. Ask your potential client good questions about their challenges and opportunities. Be genuinely interested. Tell the potential client about how your firm can help. Find out what questions or concerns they had with their former provider. Address those questions. And when the conversation is done and it seems natural, tell them you want the business. Ask when you can start. Tell them what the next step is and make that prospect into your best new client.

What three questions do you need to close a deal? Send us an email and I’ll send you the slides from my Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) Summit presentation, “3 Questions to Close the Deal and What You Need to Make Them Effective.”

 

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