Tell Me Who You Are in Five Seconds

posted in: Branding | 0

Your firm may do complicated things, but describing your firm’s identity shouldn’t take more than one concise sentence.

Accounting firms take on more and more complex tasks in helping their clients solve business problems, minimize tax liability and plan for growth and change. That can make a detailed accounting of what it is your firm does challenging in the extreme. Despite the enormity of the big picture, you must be able to boil down the firm’s identity and utility into a single, succinct sentence using simple words that people can understand easily.

We’ve shared posts about the hazards of using buzzwords and the importance of telling your story well in the past. Today we’ll look at another angle of the same puzzle. What is it your firm does? Well, it performs some kind of accounting or you probably wouldn’t be reading this article. But among all the many accounting firms out there, why does yours exist? There are things your firm chooses to focus on and people for whom the accounting services you provide are a perfect fit. Who are these people and what are the services? What do you do best, that makes you stand out from the other firms nearby?

Figuring out the answer to these questions is key to telling your story in a way that resonates with listeners. It’s also key to framing marketing messages that make a big impact, and even to keeping your team on the same page. The answer gives you the mental framework to approach each client with the outlook that lets your services meet their needs in the way that solves their problems and reminds them why they chose you to help them do it.

It doesn’t have to be a fancy answer. Your self-description won’t impress by its use of trendy insider terms or implications of moving in the elite world of high finance. It will impress by its simplicity and the way it communicates actual utility to those who choose your firm. Realistically, your answer doesn’t have to include every single outlying client or the things you do for them, either. One assumes (and hopes) that your total knowledge base extends past the basic one-sentence answer you provide. This answer just needs to give a clear picture of your normal activities and what they offer to the bulk of your devoted clients.

Your firm mainly provides a broad or narrow range of services for a broad or narrow selection of clients with similar needs. Find the words to communicate who these people are and the services they turn to you to provide. Then further refine it until you have one reasonably short sentence that sums it up. Shoot for something longer than “We’re an accounting firm” but definitely shorter than 25 words. We have clients who focus on managing business and personal finances for people in the agricultural industry. Others work on general accounting with a specialty in tax and estate planning. Still others manage large portfolios for high net worth clients or focus on business advisory services for medium-sized companies. There is a niche whose financial needs your accounting firm seeks to meet, and putting this into one sentence is the best way to prepare to add clients to your roster.

Don’t be concerned if it doesn’t sound flashy. There are so many accounting firms because it’s a service almost everyone needs. Maybe your firm specializes in providing complete tax planning and financial management services for normal people at a reasonable cost. If so, say it proudly. There are a lot of us out here looking for just such a provider, and hearing the simple unvarnished truth is highly refreshing.

Now, share your sentence in the comments! We’d love to hear what you do and be able to share it with others.

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Sarah Warlick is responsible for making us and all of our clients sound professional and eloquent as the content director at bbr marketing. In this role, Sarah is in charge of ensuring that all copy is well-written, accurate and free of pesky typos before it heads out the door. Additionally, she is a prolific writer and a frequent contributor to bbr marketing’s blog sites. She spends a good deal of time writing copy for our clients and has a unique way of crawling into our clients’ heads to create ghostwritten copy that sounds as if it came directly from their pen.
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