Getting personal with professional services
It’s only in recent years that professional services companies have given more than a passing thought to their brand presentation. Partners were solely responsible for generating their own clients, whilst reputations were built and maintained through the work of individuals. Marketing was a dirty word and branding existed only as a company colour or a logo.
How the world has moved on.
Professional services companies are now under pressure from all sides. Low-cost, automated platforms are challenging existing business models by offering cheaper, swifter solutions, whilst in-house capabilities from existing and potential clients are growing exponentially. Gone are the days when a professional services company could ignore brand communications as an unwanted, inappropriate cost. Instead there’s a need for a fundamental change in mind-set that focuses time and resource on the development of a cohesive, compelling brand presentation.
Whilst the creation of a professional service brand is a process that must be lead from the top, it must be embraced and delivered throughout the organisation. This requires company-wide consultation, a collective will and crucially an understanding that ‘the people are the product.’
Professional services companies are living, breathing entities. Reputations are no longer sustained purely on the expertise and experience of the lead partners. Instead there is recognition that the whole team are involved in conceiving, selling and delivering work. This means that the brand development process must define the character and personality of the business in order to communicate the brand emotionally as well as factually.
At Lionhouse, we believe that successful brands are based on inherent truths and an overriding purpose. This applies to legal practices, accountancy firms and architects as much as it does to automotive and fashion brands. So when working with professional services companies, time must be spent with partners, associates, juniors and clients uncovering what really makes the business tick.
This drives the brand development process beyond service capability and sector experience to clarify the values and behaviours of the business. It’s these less tangible but more emotive characteristics that define the true personality and purpose of a brand.
Only then do we begin the creative development process. This then drives the creative development process and ultimately the presentation of a differentiated, dynamic and contemporary professional services brand.
Our client from Walsh, a structural and civil engineering consultancy, underlined this need to put character and personality at the heart of a professional services brand when he said “We’d done a huge amount internally to structure ourselves for growth but we knew that the brand was tired and out-dated. And in a sector where one engineering consultancy can look just like another, we needed a complete reappraisal of the brand.
Lionhouse brought immediate rigour to the process of understanding our values and ambitions. Straight away they got to grips with what matters to us, how we work and why we’re different. It’s no exaggeration to say that the work they then produced for us has been transformational in how Walsh is perceived. Coinciding with a strong track record of new business success we’ve now got a consultancy that is communicating as brilliantly as it’s performing”.