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Making the Chartered brand work for members

Dec 01, 2017
Following the Institute’s month-long advertising campaign in November, here is some guidance on how members and member firms can best leverage the Chartered brand.

In 2016, members were asked which words they would use to describe the Chartered Accountant brand. Almost 3,000 respondents chose phrases like competent, best-trained, highly-skilled, professional and respected. This may be how members see themselves, but how do we ensure that members’ staff, clients and employers also take this view, and place value on these distinguishing characteristics?

The father of modern marketing, Philip Kotler, said: “If you are not a brand, you are a commodity”. Chartered Accountants understand this and members consistently tell us that safeguarding and promoting the Chartered brand is one of the key services that Chartered Accountants Ireland can provide.

Often, the discussion on brand relates to student recruitment as attracting and retaining top talent is a major challenge for member firms and businesses. However, graduate recruiters from every sector compete for high-calibre candidates. In that context, the Chartered brand can greatly assist individual training firms and businesses in attracting the brightest and best by supplementing the advantages of a particular company or firm with the long-term benefits of the Chartered qualification.

Building confidence

The landscape for the consumers of accountancy services is changing and a strong Chartered brand is important in helping decision-makers in business understand the value of hiring qualified Chartered Accountants or retaining a Chartered firm. Members report increasing levels of competitiveness and pressure on fees, while technology is changing the way some work is done. Kotler’s advice is very pertinent here – a distinguishing brand that emphasises the added value of Chartered Accountants can be very important in winning and retaining clients.

Chartered Accountants Ireland supports the Chartered brand year-long across all its services and activities. This includes the annual brand advertising campaign, “Make Sure Your Accountant is a Chartered Accountant”, which ran in November. The campaign message emphasised the core need which Chartered Accountants meet for their clients – confidence. Businesses can have confidence in the training that Chartered Accountants receive, the standards they uphold and the experience they can bring from every sector. This message of confidence was carried across radio, press and online. This year, to maximise the local benefit to firms and members nationwide, a number of regional press and radio channels were used alongside national outlets. To connect the advertising even more directly with our network of over 1,500 practices throughout the island, the campaign was also supplemented by a direct mail initiative. All firms should by now have received a pack with information on how to use the Chartered logo and two high-quality window vinyls for use on their office windows or doors. The purpose of this initiative is to promote the visibility of the recently-refreshed Institute logo on the high street, which will help consumers link the advertising message to their local Chartered Accountant and create a multiplier effect that builds the confidence message for all members.

Cumulative power

There is huge potential in the cumulative power of our 26,000-strong network to build the brand for all members. Fundamentally, the Chartered brand is its members and the excellent service they deliver to clients and customers. However, the impact of this can be amplified and articulated to the wider business community by communicating effectively and consistently at every juncture.

As we developed the campaign, we consulted with the Members in Practice and Strategic Communications committees. We are also very keen to hear wider feedback. For more information, or to give us your comments, visit www.charteredaccountants.ie/brand, where you can also let us know how we can make the Chartered brand best work for you.