Caroline’s brand didn’t feel right. Here’s how she turned it around.
Caroline was doing great when it came to her business’s social media presence. Working towards rapid growth in two years, she was posting on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram five days a week. The trouble was, she wasn’t gaining any traction. She knew if no one was connecting with her business then her ambitions for growth were going to be hampered. Posting consistently is key when it comes to gaining followers and leads so if Caroline was doing that right, the problem was somewhere else. After seeing little to no difference, she didn’t conclude there was something wrong with social media, she concluded there was something wrong with her brand. This realisation ultimately led to her changing the direction of her firm.
A keen long-distance runner, she was used to putting in the work; Caroline had invested a lot of time and effort up until this point and she sure as hell wasn’t going to give up now.
Social media is where it’s at.
Nowadays, social media is an integral thread weaving through every element of your marketing. If your business isn’t utilising it properly, it’s an untapped resource that’s bursting with potential.
You might find it hard to bridge the gap between accounting and the contemporariness of social media. It’s a very common assumption: your type of lead won’t go to somewhere like Instagram to find a new accountant. And, to a certain extent, you’re right. People like what they like and if your clients are seasoned experts in professional services, chances are they’re not scrolling through TikTok over breakfast.
However, with 4.7 billion people now using social media, your leads are online; it’s just a question of what platform they’re using. If your clients are straight-talking, Type A’s who own a B2B start-up, they probably frequent LinkedIn. If they’re a creative sole-trader, it’s most likely Instagram, TikTok and Facebook (depending on their product). These days, there’s a platform for everyone; you’ve just got to work out what your leads are looking at over breakfast.
Caroline knew the immense value of reaching her online audience, which is why it was fitting she first reached out to PF over Facebook! Ready to get more direction and structure in her marketing, she signed up for Accelerator and joined our 12 week coaching group.
A marketing plan keeps you in line with your brand’s vision.
Early on in Accelerator, Caroline recognised she needed a marketing plan; something which hadn’t occurred to her up until that point. A marketing plan supports you in building relationships with new leads and transforming them into paying clients. It avoids the ad hoc chaos which comes with flurries of online activity and subsequent radio silence. It ensures consistent communication with an audience who come to know your voice and expect your presence. Most importantly, it pulls in the type of client you want.
“I was overwhelmed at the thought of having clients who I didn’t know how to do the work for, or I would have to engage in the type of work I didn’t want to do.”
True to form, Caroline grabbed the bull by the horns and signed up for Foundations. She was going to find out what her brand needed to represent, who her ideal client was and how to create her marketing plan. This would help her achieve both her personal and business goals (this is why we love Caroline; when she does something she goes all in).
A successful marketing process uncovers all the answers you need.
The need for a marketing plan was the first of a quick series of decisions for Caroline. By this point, she was fully immersed in her marketing journey and from it one stark truth emerged: she didn’t feel connected to her company name and logo.
Imagine all the elements of your brand are a big buffet of different dishes you serve to clients and potential leads. You’ll always slide the dish you’re less proud of into the shadows, keeping it out of the spotlight. Think about what this represents for you. What aspects of your brand are you proud of? What do you hide? For Caroline, no matter how stringent her social media efforts were, potential leads wouldn’t be seeing much of her name and logo. Your brand choices hugely impact your marketing presence. If Caroline didn’t like two major design elements of her own brand, the world probably wasn’t seeing much of it at all.
A good company name will get you noticed, a great name will be committed to memory.
Before she kicked off her branding journey with us, Caroline wanted to get the business name right and she signed up for our naming workshop.
Simple in its nature, our naming workshop is something we’ve taken time to craft and perfect, and is something we’re very proud of. Ultimately, we know how powerful it is to have a name you really believe in. Equally, we know how wrong it feels when you’re represented by a name that isn’t really you.
What do you feel when someone asks you what your company is called? It’s likely you’re proud of what you’ve achieved and the name you’ve achieved it under, but it’s also extremely common for business owners to have chosen their name quickly and to question it later.
Our naming workshop consists of three meaningful sessions which result in a shortlist of names. PF then explores all trademark and URL opportunities, and any subsequent issues. Finally, together with our client, we reduce the shortlist again. At this point most clients see the name that most speaks to them, the one they will proudly market to the outside world. For Caroline, there were two strong potential options left on the list. The magical part? The name she chose was one she had thought of herself. Coming from one of our wordcloud sessions, it had emerged through the discussions with her client marketing manager, Ash, and it was perfect. It was an extra bit of ownership and a testament to her creativity. It was wonderful payback for throwing herself into the process.
“I would never have come up with the name Revive if I hadn’t gone through the whole naming sessions with you both.”
Meaning “to give new strength or energy”, Revive Accounting was the ideal name for Caroline’s business to pivot.
“My reasoning for choosing “revive” is that every client I take over from another accountant is likely to be coming over to me because they aren’t happy with their current provider. There will be a period of bringing their accounts up to date…reviving their accounts, and therefore reviving the clients themselves.”
It directly fed into who Caroline is as a person too. An an ex-army linguist who’s big on adventure, the word “revive” sparked an electric synergy between founder and company.
“PF haven’t done it for me, they’ve done it with me, with who I am. They’ve brought it out of me. They’ve done a lot of work with me and made me look into myself and discover who I am.”
You can pick who you work with. You’re in charge.
Up to the point of working with PF, her business served a full spectrum of clients ranging from delightful to difficult. Through Accelerator and Foundations, she learned her brand could speak to just her ideal audience, drawing in people who actually shared her values, and she could pick who she worked with. She realised working on the foundational elements of her brand would shift the balance of that client spectrum. Caroline could just work with ‘the delightful’.
“…very early on I turned away clients because I knew they weren’t my ideal client…that’s been invaluable in discovering who I really am as an accountant and the kind of business I want to have.”
A successful rebrand is more tortoise, less hare.
A rebrand is, by its very nature, a total transformation inside and out. When you decide you are going to do it, it’s because you believe in what it will do for you. It’s really exciting and like most of our clients, once Caroline had seen how valuable good marketing could be, she wanted it all in place. Straightaway.
“I wanted to get everything in place quickly, but…when you’re creating something, you need to spend the time putting it together first…”
It’s hard, but a branding process has to be a slow, thorough process. It’s a process where you’ll uncover your values and who you want to work with (future team) and for (future clients). Once you’ve worked out your ideal audience, you need to figure out what colours, visuals, tone of voice and design will attract them. You need your marketing strategy planned out and ready to implement before you launch.
“It wouldn’t be what it is if we’d rushed it.”
By now, Caroline knew she was heading for a total rebrand and was really excited to get going. We brought in our design team and kicked off Revive’s branding project. Arguably the most exciting part of a rebrand, it was time to visualise what Revive Accounting would look like.
Your brand isn’t for you. It’s for your ideal audience.
The inner workings of a rebrand will kick up the most amazing gold dust. You’ll work out your values and who your dream clients are. You’ll realise good marketing divides and you don’t want to appeal to everyone anyway. You’ll learn every business owner has different ambitions and you’ll map out what you want to achieve with yours.
In Caroline’s case, she learned her ideal client would be positive, communicative and in the health and fitness industry. She learned the design and brand had to reflect them, not her (it just so happened she was into fitness too, but Caroline’s preferred aesthetic would be softer and full of winter tones). Perhaps most importantly, she worked out what she stood for. Revive Accounting values people who listen and take responsibility for their actions. It values open mindedness and good, honest communication. Revive stands for a willingness to learn and crucially, the people of Revive Accounting are always open to fun. These things are what’s important to Caroline and when she launched her new brand, her type of clients would value them too.
“It brought out my values. Before I did this, I wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint them.”
Our branding team created a logo to complement the new name.
Colours can amplify certain elements of the logo, and the team opted to put emphasis on the arrow with a touch of orange for vibrancy. The visual of the triangle was crafted to reinforce themes of strength, growth and motion. The design team agreed a solid triangle was too heavy, so they inserted a cut-out to make the shape more dynamic. Caroline ultimately loved the logo and the colours. Although she mentioned they wouldn’t be what she would normally gravitate towards, she understood who she was trying to attract (and that’s what made her a star pupil).
“I know that I’m not my ideal client and my brand isn’t for me. I love the way you say, ‘it’s not for you, it’s for your ideal audience’.”
This far through the process, Caroline was learning it all led to getting her favourite types of clients. The energy she’d gain from working with the right type of business owners (instead of everyone and anyone) would constantly feed back into the spirit of her work. It’s a gorgeous chicken and egg situation. The right clients are drawn to the brand, you show your worth because you love what you do, and then more clients follow suit.
Social media 2.0
Caroline always had the right attitude toward social media, it was just her original brand didn’t show what she’s truly capable of. This disparity jarred with viewers and turned them away.
When Caroline throws herself into something, she gets results. Now, because her brand is full of life and movement and is aligned in values, visuals and voice – it’s already translating online.
“When I launched my new brand on social media, I got lots of great feedback and realised that people had started noticing me more. I was even able to turn away prospects because I know and understand my ideal audience now and realise I can choose who I work with.”
For Caroline, the road to Revive Accounting was a detailed education in brilliant marketing. A marathon, not a sprint; she didn’t know what her brand stood for but she knew it stood for something. Caroline did the work to find out. She would have opted for different colours but she agreed her ideal clients would be drawn to the ones she has today. Caroline accepted she needed the guidance but didn’t hand it over; she partnered up. Her rebranding journey was a powerful one full of creative ownership, PF was just the conduit.
Whether you’re starting your brand from scratch or have had the same brand identity for years, Foundations will help you uncover who you are, who you serve and how your brand can authentically reflect both. Fill out our discovery diagnostic to tell us about your firm and current brand, and book a chat with one of the PF team to talk through how it’s currently working (or not working) for you.