Can I rebrand without changing my firm’s name?

The short answer to this is YES, if the name fits your brand. 

If you’re considering a rebrand you likely already understand why branding is important for accountants. It goes far deeper than the name, logo and visual identity of your firm. It’s the overall impression that you leave with clients and prospects. Whether it’s an in-person interaction from you and your team or the feeling they get when they scroll through your social media or website. 

Your name is important but it is not the only element of your identity.

Hesitation or concern over changing your business name is normal

You’re right to be questioning the need for a change of name. You’ve been operating and signing clients under your existing name for a while now and it seems to be working for you. You may be questioning if people will know that it’s still you running the firm? Will the change make you look unsteady to existing clients? Will the awareness and reputation that’s already been built be wasted?

Change and the unknown can be scary. You might be concerned a change of name could look like a change in ownership of the business and all the work you’ve put in to develop awareness and reputation in the industry or local area will be wasted.  

If the thought of rebranding has even entered your mind it’s likely that you’ve identified a change in your business. You want to attract a better quality of client or you might be feeling that the existing brand is a little outdated. 

Your firm name is part of your brand identity and so you need to think about what you want people to feel when they read or hear your name for the first time.

The question then becomes: Does the risk of changing the name outweigh the risk of keeping it?

Ask yourself: what message does your firm name give?

The bottom line is your firm name needs to align with your brand narrative and strategy. Which is why you need to have explored the brand properly before you come to a decision on the name. 

Your firm name and overall brand identity needs to be given very careful consideration and discussed with creatives and strategists like the PF team. Understanding how your name fits (or doesn’t fit) your brand, helps protect your firm and ensure that you are making the right decision when it comes to your name and brand identity. 

Brand identity, while important, is one of the last things to be discussed during the brand session of foundations at PF. The primary focus is always your client. Their problems and how you and your team show up and help your clients work through their issues. Towards the end of the session the Client Marketing Managers then ask the questions about how well the existing brand attracts the ideal audience you’ve identified together. We’ll dig into the story behind your name and logo to understand how it fits the brand.

After Foundations our team spends time collaborating and discussing the existing name and brand identity of your firm. We look at everything we know about your firm. Your ideal audience and their issues. How your firm specifically helps these ideal clients. How you want the client experience to be. How you want them to feel when working with you. We make recommendations for your brand based on all of this. If there feels like a disconnection or like the name doesn’t fit we’ll suggest exploring a new name through our carefully crafted renaming process. 

How you use your name is also part of the brand name decision

The last time we rebranded and changed our logo we made the decision to abbreviate to PF. When our founder and owner Karen Reyburn began building what was then, The Profitable Firm, 10 years ago it was just her and freelancers working with clients. As the team grew and the business grew it wasn’t possible for Karen to work with every client and we saw a need to highlight the fact that when you work with PF you get a full team of very talented experts. 

Your trading name and the way you represent it within the brand doesn’t need to be the same. 

The official trading name of PF is The Profitable Firm. But you won’t see this anywhere except the footer of our website. Our logo is PF. The way we refer to ourselves, when speaking to clients and through all areas of marketing is PF. We pulled PF into every aspect of the brand identity. Our logo, website domain, social accounts, email addresses were all changed to We even register ourselves at events as We Are PF.   

Consistency is extremely important when making a change like this. You need to go all in when making the switch and make sure the new name is used everywhere. If you dabble using the two names alongside each other “transitioning” you will confuse people and it’s hard to trust an accounting firm when you feel confused. 

When/if you change your name and rebrand it’s wise to do a strategic launch. As part of the preparation for this, make a list of everywhere your name or logo appears. On launch day change your name everywhere all at the once.

Your name and the meaning behind it will help guide the visual identity of your brand 

The following videos are stories of PF clients who have been through Foundations and kept their original name. The videos walk you through the discoveries we made through foundations and decisions we came to surrounding their firm name and how that impacted their new brands. 

DNA Accountants

After joining the Accelerator coaching group Gillian French, owner of DNA Accountants, went through foundations knowing that one of the recommendations we might make was a new website. What she might not have expected was a discussion around the name and brand.

As we got to know Gillian and her business it was clear that the existing logo and website was not reflective of the brilliance that she and the team bring to the service delivery for their clients.

DNA is an abbreviation of the previous partners surnames. Current owners Gillian and Ian took over 20 years ago and didn’t change their name. They transformed the business in many ways but the brand didn’t reflect that. Following Foundations we made the recommendation to change the name but Gillian and Ian were very firm on NOT changing due to strong links and reputation in their local area. 

We used what we learned in foundations to help build a story behind the name so it made sense to the new DNA brand. 

This helped pull everything together so we could rebrand keeping the original name. Here’s their story showing the before and after:

Myers Clark

Named after founders in 1912 Myers Clark, nobody on the team of 40+ people had any connection to its original founders. Their logo had a tagline “Trusted for over 100 years”. Although there was no connection to anyone on the team the name had history and that feeling of stability having been in Watford all that time. 

A name change was considered but that history and experience behind the Myers Clark name was important to keep. What they really needed was a new identity, logo, colours and other supporting brand assets to show feelings of trust and experience rather than telling people they’ve been Trusted for over 100 years. Here’s their story showing the before and after:

Fearless Financials

Fearless Financials were a little different to DNA Accountants and Myers Clark. There were never any questions about keeping the name. Foundations confirmed that keeping the name was the only choice. It was a great name that their ideal audience could relate to.  

The previous brand identity did not reflect the name and the idea of Fearless. The logo had a 90’s vibe and really didn’t make any sense and we didn’t feel that and her team were really living into the fearless name.

Through Foundations and the brand project we really had to dig into the meaning behind the name to understand which direction to take the brand. Was it “Fearless” or “Fear-less”? Being fearless about finances and business or fearing less about finances. These are two very different feelings and audiences. This rebrand was about giving owner Gillian Caughey and the Fearless team the confidence to own the name. Here’s their story with the before and after:

As the stories in the videos above highlight, there’s nothing wrong with keeping your name.  If it’s the right one. If it sends the right message and aligns with the brand.

Like with all things brand, consistency is key. It’s important to think about cohesiveness and how your name is used within your brand. As with Fearless Financials you can have the best name in the world but if you’re not using it in the right way it’s just a name.

Your name and logo are just the vessel. A hollow container. The brand is the tangible and intangible elements that bring life and steam to the vessel. Therefore, it’s important that you do the work prior to deciding on a name to discover if keeping the name really is the right thing for the brand of your firm.    

Every firm’s situation is different. Take the time to explore all elements and areas of the brand before coming to a decision to keep a name or rename your accountancy firm. 

Making decisions about the future of your firm can feel overwhelming. If you could do with some support to come to a decision on a name and the direction of your accounting firm then get in touch by filling in this form and telling us a bit more about you. When you’re ready, we can talk about foundations and our naming process before you make an investment in your rebrand.