What accountants and brands have in common
Brands are big business. The most successful organisations all treat their brand religiously and go to extraordinary lengths to protect it. And you know what? It works.
Brands that are recognisable allow you to associate A with B. They shortcut your decision making to make calls on how to interact with that brand.
Before you think this is a typical marketing blog - it's not. It’s a blog for you - accounting and finance professionals.
It’s easy to view an organisation’s brand as an asset - one that provides on-going economic benefit. You can look at it objectively and justify on-going investment in it to reap the rewards it brings.
Have you ever thought of your own professional reputation in the same way as your organisation’s corporate brand? Because they work in very similar ways.
Just like an organisation’s brand, yours needs to be enhanced, protected and maintained. Just like the best corporate brands, people who have powerful personal brands have huge followings and influence. Often these people have achieved great things to earn their position, but a lot of the work was behind building their brand. This is in the same way that a business’s brand equity will be a lot to do with the quality of their product, but also how much effort they put into enhancing, protecting and maintaining their brand.
Corporate brands are enhanced with advertising that’s on message, an active PR strategy, and things like corporate social responsibility. In short, these tactics are to build an association between the brand name and a desired feeling, thought or action (often to buy their product).
Your professional brand is no different. Building your brand could be the difference between closing a deal or getting a new job. You don’t need to act like an extroverted rockstar, but building your brand will earn you clout which will work for you all the time.
Enhance your professional brand by:
Build your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you've filled out all the information fields and connected with colleagues. You can quantify the success of your profile with your ‘social selling score’.
Network. This may be off-putting to some people in the accounting profession, but building your network, and enhancing relationships with those in your outer circles of contacts, will open doors when you least expect it.
Do something over and above the norm. In practice, just having a decent LinkedIn profile and attending the odd networking event should really be the minimum to maintain your brand. People with highly respected profiles speak at conferences, write blogs and articles for relevant publications, write books, or do charity work.
The flip side of enhancing your brand is protecting it. Just as marketing and PR teams have risk mitigation policies and processes for when bad feedback comes their way, you’ll need to be careful to not roll the dice with your own profile. A brand can be destroyed far quicker and easier than it grows - and yours is no different. Most of the time brand-damaging decisions are avoidable, but you’ll need to keep it front of mind. We’ve all read about successful professionals ending up in the media for embarrassing charges from drunk driving to assault. Below the public eye, reputations can deflate quickly from misjudgements at work or miscalculated conversations.
If there’s a key message to take away, it’s to objectively treat your own professional brand like that of an organisation. Just like the valuation of a company is hugely affected by positive or negative events, so is yours. Use it wisely and make it work for you.
Looking to put your professional brand to good use? We’ve got loads of excellent roles - check them out here and step into a new challenge.