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What do I do if I want a new brand
but can’t afford it?

Dec 20, 2019

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Congratulations! You’ve done some marketing soul searching and come to the realisation you need a new brand. You’ve broken down the wall and now admit that something about your brand or logo isn’t resonating with the right people, or communicating what it needs to. 

But here lies the “problem”. You’ve heard that developing a brand can cost at least £25k or even 50k, and that alone makes you think ‘WOAH, I can’t afford it and it’ll be impossible to start. 

Hold on, don’t give up!

 

Focus on what you can achieve now and start with something

The thing with branding projects is, the costs vary depending on the complexity and intensity of the project. A full, intensive, start to finish brand cost could be in the 25k range (market research, a rename, rebrand, swag reprints, a website overhaul, etc.) but the actual amount you need to invest in your brand to start could be more like £5k, if you determine you only need a smaller project at this time. It will mostly depend on:

  1. what you need 
  2. the speed at which you want to go.

Don’t get overwhelmed with how costly your branding journey could be in total. Our experience at PF is, you’ll probably end up spending half of what you fear it could cost, and twice as much as you wish it would be.

The important thing is to distinguish what you want to achieve. Ask yourself what motivated you to change your brand. Do you want to attract the same kind of prospects or target a different audience? Do you want to stand out from the rest of the accountancy firms you see? Or do you need to do more work to be 100% clear on who you are and what you stand for?


Think about what you really need.


We love what our Accelerator member, Hillary, recently shared with us:

“It’s just that… I’ve always heard that developing a brand costs at least $25,000++.

This makes sense to me for firms that want to grow, grow, grow.


But, I don’t want to grow, grow, grow…

I really “just” want to have about 20 super ideal, spot-on, my exact niche, my kind
of people, fun to work with, clients.


I know that a great brand will help me attract them.”

Like a lot of other accountancy firms, Hillary was daunted by the cost of a branding project at first. But now that she understands the value of her brand – that it gives people something to believe in and stand behind – she’s now even more committed to achieving her goal.

Hillary is now going to sign-up for a branding workshop to decide when and where she is to invest her branding budget and over what time period. The decision will be hers to decide, but PF will be here to provide the viable marketing she can do. Hillary’s experience is a great example of why we recommend the branding workshop first.

 

First, understand the actual brand position you’re in

The branding workshop helps you to decide what changes need to be made to your brand in order to achieve your goal. Depending on what you need, it’ll either lead to a logo refresh or a full rebrand. Ultimately, a refresh and a rebrand serve two different purposes and the approach taken to go through the projects differs significantly.


A logo refresh is like a makeover for your existing brand


A logo refresh focuses mostly on changing your logo’s appearance, giving it a fresh updated look. You recognise the need for change but still want to preserve your values and your brand’s positive aspects. Sometimes, all you need to do is change minor details in order to make your brand more appealing, enhance the important elements and bring it up to date. 

A refresh may involve changing the font, adjusting the colours or tweaking your slogan. It will be different for every refresh project but it’s important to make sure your existing clients can still see the connection between your old and new logo. 

You want them to still be familiar with who you are and how you were before – keeping in their minds that you’re still the same firm they trust, just with a new, improved look.

You must consider a refresh if:

  • You want to modernise your logo because it feels outdated
  • You want the same name but want your logo to stand out more
  • You want the same name but it’s not giving off the right personality
  • Rather than a complete overhaul, you only want some parts of your logo changed

A rebrand is a reinvented identity


A rebrand on the other hand, goes beyond just changing the design of your logo. It’s an extensive process that could involve changing your company’s name, developing or revisiting your values, and changing your whole brand’s appearance and message. It means starting from scratch and getting to the bottom of what your company really stands for. 

You must consider a rebrand if:

  • You see that your current brand is no longer effective for your target audience. (You may have found your niche and want to focus on family businesses for example, but your current brand uses images with solo shots or empty places) 
  • You want to spark renewed interest from your existing audience, as well as attract new clients
  • Your company is going through a change of ownership or a merger
  • You want to change your company’s name
  • You have already had major changes in the business and you want your brand to reflect that
  • You want a complete overhaul which could involve a changing direction and building a new set of values

Going through a rebrand could take 5 to 6 months and can be expensive. But it’s all worth it in the end because a rebrand is about more than just the design. It’s about distilling the character of your company. It defines what you stand for and letting that inform EVERYTHING you do in future. From content, to hiring, to your company’s culture. It’s the foundation of your business, not just your marketing.

5 Questions to help you take action on your brand

Think about where you want to be at the end of next year. Imagine yourself working with your dream clients, with a brand you’re proud of. Start making moves in the right direction today, by answering these fundamental questions and being honest with yourself.

1. What role do you see branding having right now in your firm?

Our clients who’ve  been through a branding project understand why brand is the first foundational element you must nail before you move through the marketing map. You need to recognise the worth of having a brand that works and that you are proud of. Your logo is not the whole brand. Your brand is what you stand for, your values, why you are the accountancy firm you are now, your style, tone of voice and messaging.

There will surely be things like cost, time and effort that’ll hold you back. But ask yourself what the cost will be to you and your firm if you don’t nail your brand? Once you understand who you are and who you serve, and you have a brand that reflects that, everything else follows – a website that resonates with the right people, a marketing plan to communicate with the right people, and your continued marketing actions!

 

2. What kind of prospects are you getting now? 

Are they the type of prospects you want to get? Do you have a target audience or a specific group you particularly want to attract? Did it ever cross your mind that it could be your brand that’s attracting the wrong type of prospects? 

Our client Alexis from Cerebral Tax Advisors, for example, decided on a rebrand mainly because her previous brand was based on her name – Gallati Professional Services. Since she really wanted to focus on the physicians niche, she knew the current name and visuals weren’t communicating well, or connecting with them.

Through the brand workshop, she identified that she’d need a full renaming and rebranding process to better connect to her target audience. Though unique to her, the name Gallati Professional Services wasn’t speaking to the  physicians. Her firm’s new name, “Cerebral”, which came about during her naming sessions with PF, had more meaning and story behind it, aimed at her target audience. 

A logo refresh would not have provided the change she needed. Her brand needed a renaming process and a new logo that completely reflects who she is and who she is serving.

 

3. What motivated you to look at changing your logo? 

Were you motivated to look at changing your logo because you don’t like it? 

Why don’t you like it? Is it the shape, the colour, the font? Is it the slogan or tagline? Or maybe you do like your logo but it doesn’t stand out, it doesn’t reflect who you are as a firm.

Remember, your logo is not for you, it’s for your clients and prospects. So think more about them liking your logo. Ask yourself, does it reflect who we are and what we do for our clients? What do our clients and prospects think when they see our logo? Will they think we look traditional or modern? Are these the right colours? Is it the right name?

If you have deeper reasons, you must opt for a rebrand. If you need to change  your firm name because it doesn’t communicate well with your target audience anymore, or things have changed over the years, your values have changed over time and you’re current brand does not reflect those changes – tiny tweaks to your logo won’t suffice.

 

4. What damage is your current logo doing (or could be doing) to your marketing? what message is it sending or not sending? 

Does your name actually reflect you? Are you going to change your name later anyway? A lot of accountants when starting out, simply use their name as their firm’s name, and their whole brand evolves based on their name. 

For some this works like a charm, but for others it doesn’t reflect the whole personality of the firm, which has changed over time.Your brand represents everything about you and your firm as it is today (not who you used to be), and if it’s not delivering the results you need, a rebrand might be the solution you’re looking for.  

 

5. How do you usually approach big decisions you can’t afford yet? what small steps can you take?

One of the reasons you’re dithering is you know a brand project can take a lot of time and is very expensive. 

The question you’re asking right now is…. Will this brand project put my firm in a better position than what it is in now?

Remember not every firm is in the same place. Some are small and literally have no extra pennies. Some are huge, and have a big budget, but aren’t sure where is the best place to put it. 

We believe your decision on the type of branding project you’ll go through is a reflection of where you want to be in the future, balanced with what you’re (truly) able to do right now. Some firms think they couldn’t possibly afford a rebrand, much less a logo refresh. And then after we have conversations and discussions and a review of their target audience and the message it’s giving, they suddenly realise they can’t afford NOT to change everything. They realise the current brand is dragging them down, and they don’t want that. 

However, other firms are just getting started, and now isn’t the right time for a rebrand because they are still clarifying their values and target audience and purpose. Or a firm may have invested twenty or fifty or even a hundred years in their name and brand, and they don’t want to lose that authority and impact.  

Wherever you’re at, the question is not “do I have the money”, but what does my firm really need?

You may only need a logo refresh, and that will modernise what is already good and giving a good impression to your prospects. 

But if you can’t simply brush up what’s there: if your firm has changed or is changing or the current brand is holding you back, it may very well be time for a big change. Even if it’s a big investment. 

 

Start Today

It might feel scary, but we guarantee that getting the message right now is the best thing you can do for your business. And we’ll be here to hold your hand through whatever change is needed!