Within professional services, there’s very little that distinguishes one brand from another. Practice areas and services all lead with the same claims: excellent client service, tailored solutions, and global reach. So much similarity makes all consulting firms blend together. Taglines echo. Logos mirror each other. Marketing copy follows the same jargon. Ultimately, they become indistinguishable.
As the shift to a buyer’s market solidifies, competitive rivalries intensify. It’s no longer enough for a firm’s identity to be solely linked to overall profitability or arbitrary rankings. In order to truly compete, more attention needs to be paid to differentiation of values, POV, and behavior to make a firm stand apart.
For most consulting firms, business development depends on the individual star power of partner personalities. Though these individuals may represent the firm’s larger brand, the specific behavior, image, attitude, and message they portray can vary significantly. While clients may feel attached to these individuals, the firm’s reliance on inconsistent personal brands over its greater brand presents an inherent barrier for long-term growth, retention of talent, and overall success.
A purposeful brand strategy helps consolidate all the personal brands into one global brand identity. Here are four things to consider when building a brand strategy for your firm.
What is the overarching brand story?
Everyone within the firm — from the most senior partners to the office administrators — need a consistent brand story that clearly communicates why the brand matters. By laddering up the brand stories of individuals into one global brand story, the brand becomes stronger, more reliable, more resilient, and more respected.
Evaluate a go-t0-market strategy that addresses the top target audiences.
Explore the needs, motivations, pain points, and expectations of your target audiences and go to market with a strategy that speaks directly to them. Brands that make an emotional impact on the people most important to the brand’s success create long-term appeal and loyalty.
When people at all levels of a firm understand how to live and breathe the brand promise throughout their everyday behavior, the brand promise becomes a reality. A guide can help everyone within the firm get aligned and unified, moving forward as the best and most consistent advocates of the brand.
How does the firm want to make people feel?
Successful brand strategy revolves around understanding how your brand makes people feel. Aligning the feelings your brand evokes through your brand’s the voice, messaging, narrative, and visual identity will make your firm more meaningful to the people who matter.
When a firm mobilizes with a purposeful brand strategy that informs and guides the behavior of every person in every office, the brand will stand apart as a top choice for clients and talent alike. Investing in your brand strategy is the most valuable investment your firm will make.
Emotive Brand is a brand strategy firm.
Originally published at www.emotivebrand.com on April 22, 2016.