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Using Marketing to Elevate the Value of Your Brand

June 3, 2024
Janel Sykora

Marketing, per se, can mean so many different things to different people. As a career professional salesperson turned marketer and business owner, I bristle when unknowing people use the terms “marketing” and “sales” interchangeably. They are not the same thing. Salespeople are “boots on the ground.” Marketing is the bigger strategy behind what you are trying to sell. And, the right marketing strategies increase the value of a brand and drive revenue.

However, one thing has to happen before sales can be made is a basic (and often overlooked) foundation of marketing. And, that’s…


We can use a really simple business example to illustrate. Have you heard the terms “red ocean” and “blue ocean?”

Essentially, a red ocean is a crowded, competitive, often commoditized market. A blue ocean is a marketplace that has by and large little competition and more room for innovation. 

With the right messaging, you can remove yourself from the red ocean and jump into a blue ocean that offers more opportunity and higher profitability.

In general, accounting services like tax, bookkeeping, and payroll are a great example of a red ocean. There are over 46,000 CPA firms and over 300,000 accounting and payroll firms in the U.S. 

If you are a firm owner, you can relate this…

How many times has someone called your firm just asking for a price? A price for a tax return, a price for monthly bookkeeping, a price for bookkeeping “if” they do most of it (I see you rolling your eyes, btw), a price for payroll services? That’s because the only value they see is in finding the lowest price. There is no value in the service other than it being accurate. Accuracy is table stakes, as I’ll get into in a minute.

Competing on price is a race to zero (and burnout). Talk about a red ocean!

How to dive into a blue ocean

But not every accounting firm swims in that red ocean. What differentiates the brands that have jumped into the blue ocean?

They have mastered the art of storytelling. They have a brand story that puts their ideal client in the center of that story.

Table stakes messaging does not add value to your brand.

As an accounting firm, there are certain expectations of your service that are just, well, table stakes. Things like trusted relationships, experienced professionals, a personalized approach, a commitment to going above and beyond, proactively advising, a highly trained team…

Every firm can and should be able to say these things. And, frankly, saying them is just a snoozefest. It’s a minimal expectation of anyone who does business with you! None of these are genuine differentiators that would cause a business owner to say, “I need to do business with this firm.”

What really sets you apart? 

Mastering the art of storytelling. A critical exercise is to craft a brand story that puts your ideal client at the center of it. This means first identifying who your ideal client is. Understand that ideal client at a deep level. What niche(s) are they in? What do they really want? What keeps them up at night? What is the common problem they all have as it relates to your services? How does that make them feel? How can you empathize with them? What does success look like in their eyes? Why are you the professional with the expertise to solve their problem? What are the most common objections you get from your ideal clients?

Once you have the answers to all of these questions, you can begin to craft your brand story. In layman's terms, too. Many business owners don’t understand the technical tax and accounting terms we are so familiar with, and they won’t resonate. Focus on the results you get for clients , not the tasks you are doing that they don’t care about. And, instead of simply saying you get the best results for your clients, what are they? Get specific, so that ideal prospects can envision themselves in the story of success you are telling.

“I get it. Now, what do I do with it?”

I read your mind, right? Your brand’s story should be consistently applied across all of your marketing and sales collateral including:

  • Website
  • Google Business Profile
  • Social Media
  • Blog Articles
  • Sales Decks
  • Sales Training
  • Video

When you are able to tell a story that hooks your ideal client by identifying their wants, their biggest pain points, and emotions, you get their attention. When you continue that story by showing empathy, guiding them to do something, and casting a vision of what success looks like when working with you, you invite them into your sales process.

Using key messages from your story across all of your marketing and sales channels will deliver a consistent message that showcases your expertise and puts you in a category that is more interesting, specialized, and innovative than your competitors. Hello, blue ocean! And, hello, growth with the right clients.
If you could benefit from a free strategy session for your firm, simply click here and schedule some time with me.

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