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Amanda C. Watts | Do you really need a personal brand?

Updated: Feb 16

Business owners… we recognise the power within you. So does Amanda C. Watts. That’s why we asked her to write a guest article on the topic of personal branding. Here’s what she wrote:

Conventional wisdom says that building a brand is about the colours you choose, the logo you have and what your website looks like.

However, conventional wisdom is wrong.

I remember as a child I wasn’t allowed to go to McDonald’s. But that didn’t stop me from longing to go to the restaurant for a Happy Meal and see Ronald McDonald. Ronald McDonald was the McDonald’s mascot and was featured on the TV and billboard adverts. Ronald showcased the fun children’s parties that you could hold, an abundance of balloons and giggles and laughter of children under the age of 10.

Nowadays, whilst we might see the “Golden Arches” and think of McDonald’s, what people forget is the fact that from 1963 to 2003 Ronald McDonald was the face of this well-known brand. It was Ronald that built a following, made live public appearances at children’s hospitals and events and it was Ronald that had the children screaming with joy.

In fact, Ronald McDonald is second only to Santa Claus in terms of recognition.

Ronald was an integral part of McDonald’s brand. He was what people bought. He was the face of the business – their personal brand.

McDonald’s didn’t try and sell you how great the chips were, or how juicy the burger was. It didn’t sell the services. It sold Ronald and the experience.

So what can the accountancy profession learn from the business that was once one small outlet in California, that became the most well-known restaurant in the world?

Everywhere we look we see examples of businesses that attract more opportunities, stand out in the marketplace, scale with ease and their employees have way more fun.

  1. Richard Branson (Virgin)

  2. Anita Roddick (Body Shop)

  3. Elon Musk (Tesla)

  4. Steve Jobs (Apple)

Certain firms in the accounting profession have cottoned on to the power of building a personal brand. These include:

  1. Mark Telford (Telfords Chartered Accountants)

  2. Alastair Barlow (Flinder)

  3. Alex Huerta (Soaring Falcon)

  4. Simon Kallu (GrowFactor)

  5. Marie Donaldson (Fresh Clarity)

  6. Joshua ‘JJ the CPA’ Jenson

What do all of these people have in common, and what can you learn from them?

A Face To The Business

Studies show that having the presence of a human face can increase lead generation, client acquisition, and conversion rates.

People have always bought from people. Whether we look back to the industrial age through to the digital age. We will still only buy a product or service if we like the person we give money to.

The accounting firms who are attracting attention in the digital age are leveraging their staff’s personal brands. We are buying the people first, and the firm second.

Stand Out

When you want to buy something the first thing you do is turn to Google or social media to research your options.

When was the last time you asked your friends for a recommendation, instead of asking on Facebook or typing into Google? The chances are it was a long time ago.

People buy differently now. Considering it can take 90 days to 2 years for someone to decide which accounting firm they move to, it is your job to stay front of mind.

To stay front of mind you have to cut through the noise.

To cut through the noise you have to be different.

To be different you need to promote more than your services.

To promote more than your services you need a strong brand.

To have a strong brand you need to be heard.

To be heard you need to have a voice.

And that voice needs to belong to the people in your firm.

You and/or your staff must build your personal brand.

Scale Up

There is no secret sauce to scaling your accounting practice. It is simple. The more opportunities you attract (in the way of better staff and better clients) the more you can scale.

To attract more opportunities you need to do 2 things.

  1. Create content: Package your ideas, your intellectual property, your expertise and insights into products. Productise to Multiply. Products can be free content like videos, blogs or a podcast, or it can be premium services packaged into a product that provides value.

  2. Be seen: Share your content with everyone who is your target market, or those who serve the industry you want to get known in. If you are visible and front of mind you will have people asking you to be on their podcasts, write guest blogs and speak on their stages.

These two things will enable you to scale your firm.

What Does The Future Hold?

Personal brands have been the backbone of a businesses success since we have been bartering services, let alone paying for them.

The difference between then and now is just one thing. This one thing now has a name. Personal Branding.

Times haven’t changed, just the tools we use to build trust have changed.

People buy people. No amount of AI or digital will change this.

To find out more about Amanda and how she can help your firm blossom through marketing, why not visit Oompf.

Thanks Amanda.

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