by Kristy L. Gusick Now is the time of year when firms are typically looking at creating a marketing plan or updating their marketing strategy for the up-coming year. An important part of a marketing strategy for any professional service firm is knowing and being able to consistently communicate your brand. But as we all know, this is much easier said than done. So to help you with this process, we thought it might be helpful if we share some simple definition for commonly used brand language in a professional service firm.
Branding is the marketing practice of creating a message and an image that identifies and differentiates your service from your competitors. In a professional service firm, your brand is the sum total of how your audience perceives your you and your service. Your brand needs to define and differentiate your service from your competitors through your messaging, imagery, culture and client experiences.
The Branding Process
It’s the process used to create your brand image and message. It also includes the creation of the strategy that will be used to communicate your brand to your target market. In our firm, this process involves gaining input from your firm’s leadership, staff and clients as well as looking at your competitive landscape.
Brand Identity, Logo, or Image
This describes the visual aspects used to represent your firm. This describes the graphic design of your firm’s logo, colors and the fonts that will be used consistently.
A style guide is a manual or document that sets the standard for the firm’s logo colors, fonts and different ways you can use your firm’s logo. It often includes the creation of standardized templates for your most commonly used stationary documents including envelopes, Word docs, PPTs and proposal templates.
This is the language used consistently by everyone at your firm to describe who you are, what you do, who you help and the value you bring.
An elevator speech is a short, 1-2 sentence statement that clearly defines who you work with (target market) and the way in which you help them. About 10 seconds long, it’s used primarily at networking events to communicate what you do and potentially stimulate discussion.
A tagline is an effective way to communicate the brand’s “unique value proposition” powerfully, succinctly and memorably. It communicates in a short, unique sentence, what your brand is or what your brand does.
Client Brand Experience
This describes the consistent interaction between a professional service firm and its clients over the duration of their relationship. The experience a client has with a firm reflects how the client feels about the firm in general and how they perceive the brand. Hopefully this information helps give you a better understanding of the branding process in a professional service firm. If you have additional questions around the branding process, stay tuned for future blog posts from PSM! Kristy Gusick is available for 90-minute ‘Marketing Brainstorming Sessions’ to discuss how to maximize your own personal marketing strengths. During this session, she will review with you your personal strengths, your work experience, your target market, your niche and most importantly the goals you have for yourself and your practice. After the call, you will receive a follow-up email summarizing several immediate sales and marketing opportunities you can take advantage of immediately. Click here if you would like to schedule a session with Kristy!