Building a brand in the professional services sector

17th January 2019

‘We are committed to meeting client needs’; ‘we have deep industry expertise’; ‘we have a culture of transparency and trust’. How many times have you heard those statements from a professional services firm when they’re talking about themselves? The answer is probably a lot.

And the reason is that professional services face the complex challenge of selling the intangible. Unlike product brands, their offerings can’t be tested or experienced by audiences ahead of purchase. Instead, they have to market the invisible; a promise to produce a specific future outcome. This means service brands need to work significantly harder to demonstrate their capabilities and differentiate themselves from the competition.

The way to do that is through your brand and, ultimately, your positioning. Intangible services are often perceived as being difficult to understand so it’s important that a brand is able to clearly articulate three things: who they are, what they do and why they are different.

Finding a brand position in a field as crowded and competitive as professional services isn’t easy. Doing this thinking alone without asking for help from people like us is harder again. Our brand discovery process is designed to give some objective perspective, ask the right questions and apply creative thinking to the challenge. Using this strategic approach, we’ve helped to establish an offer on behalf of our clients that is distinctive and motivating for all audiences. We’ve also helped firms with internal audience challenges as their firms have grown or changed in direction following a merger or acquisition.

With a clear positioning model, we then apply creativity to help bring this identity to life. The role of creativity here is to unlock the key components of a brand’s characteristics. With engaging communications, advertising and design across every touchpoint, the brand proposition is reinforced each time a customer – new or existing – connects with the business.