Jul 10, 2024

Management of Professional Services Brand.

A brand is an entity that engenders an emotional response from a group of human beings so that they pay more than they probably would for the purely physical or rational components on offer.


brand strategy

The power of brands. 

Brands are among the most valuable and powerful business propositions for which the marketing community has been responsible. They differentiate the offer from competitors, create a price premium, enhance margins, and encourage buyer loyalty. 


A reprise of relevant brand concepts. 

1. Brand integrity is the success basis of all brands. It means that the promise and expectations created for buyers by the brand name are always delivered when they use the product or service.  


Many of the enduring brands became market leaders through consistent delivery to the expectations of buyers. Specifying, designing, and managing consistent service to meet a brand proposition is very important, because brand integrity rests in the service experience, and also very difficult, because the people who deliver the service and the environment in which the service is experienced must match what is communicated to the market.  


2. Fame


Actors, musicians, singers, politicians, and even criminals are admired and followed for their recognition and/or skill. People feel a connection and a sense of warmth and interest in them. Brand fame and familiarity with different groups of buyers is part of its success. Even at the very highest levels, fame, or brand awareness, plays its part.  


3. Brand essence or personality


Every company has its truth or essence which it leaves in the mind of its target buyers. This is a promise that creates expectation and demand. In clarifying its brand essence, the companies seek to understand the fundamental truth about the firm´s promise to the client and to build its presence in the market around this truth. Over time, this brand essence creates a brand´personality, to which buyers relate. 


4. The concept of the corporate brand and its importance for service companies


A product company can create a brand entity that has a presence in the market. When a brand is properly managed, buyers respond to the proposition, incorporating it into their purchase habits and returning again and again. The dynamic with service brands is completely different, because the emotions engendered by the buying process are different. 


5. The concept of financial brand value and brand equity 


Many businesses now consist mainly of intangible assets, and, commonly, one of the most valuable intangible assets is their brand. A brand´s value or equity is based upon the response it commands from a group of people willing to buy. The emotional response it engenders causes them either to pay a premium price for the perceived benefits or to remain loyal to the brand (buying again and again) or, in fact, both. Brand equity consists of assets like brand awareness, perceived quality, brand associations, and brand loyalty. Techniques like conjoint research help understand consumer preferences and the role of branding in decision-making.  

Overall, understanding and managing brand value and equity is essential for businesses seeking to thrive in today’s competitive landscape. 



Brand issues unique to the professional services industry. 


1. Partners/ ”stars” and the brand 

In the professional services industry, the brand is closely tied to the reputation of key practitioners, particularly partners who have built a specialist skill set over the years. However, there’s a danger when partners discount the firm’s brand due to personal reputation, potentially damaging their value if they leave the firm. It’s crucial to maintain a balance between individual reputation and the firm’s brand strength. 


2. The brand in employee behaviour 

Employee behaviour is a significant aspect of the professional services brand. Clients perceive employees’ appearance, language, and behaviour as part of the service and value they’re buying. Therefore, brand managers must focus on employees, ensuring they align with the brand’s values and behaviours. Designing the brand strategy should involve input from both employee’s and clients’ perceptions to ensure relevance and credibility. 


Testing brand concepts with employees helps ensure credibility and fosters unity within the firm. Once finalized, a detailed communication plan should be implemented internally before launching externally to clients. This approach ensures consistent brand representation across employee-client interactions, ultimately leading to increased revenue and client satisfaction. 



Adopting brand strategy and management. 


1. Political Will and Leadership Vision:  

To thrive in the changing professional services market, firms of all sizes need to take a hard-headed look at brand management. It is time that professional services firms became less supplier-driven and learn to create true branded value propositions, just as many predecessors, some in the professional services industry, have done over the last century. 


2. Steps in creating a brand: 

  1. Decide which client segments to serve.
  2. Determine the rational and emotional needs of clients and understand employee views.
  3. Create a brand strategy, including architecture, values, and essence.
  4. Create a brand implementation program: design framework, internal and external communications, financial rationale, measurement


3. Developing brand strategy and architecture: 

The architecture of a brand has the following components: 

A monolithic, master brand strategy or sub-brand strategy- it is common for professional services brands to invest in one major “master brand”. To succeed, all communication pieces must reinforce the values and image of the master brand. 

Brand extension- some professional services brands might decide to extend their business into new areas by developing their brand franchise. Product companies have been very successful at this, especially cosmetic companies. But it also happens in professional services such as accountancy and consulting firms. 

Positioning- positioning tools are used to understand client values in a market and the franchise held by suppliers to the market.  


4. The design elements of a brand management program include: 

  • A color scheme for the entire public face of the organization 
  • Scope 
  • Straplines 
  • Linguistics 
  • Ongoing management: the “brand police” 


5. Communication aspects of a brand management program 

Brand management involves more than just advertising; it’s about shaping how people perceive and experience a brand. Successful brands aren’t solely built on pricey TV ads; they can evolve through various means. 



Shaping reputation.

Experience: The way a service is delivered creates a reputation, which in turn builds the brand. For professional services, like law or consulting, employees must understand and convey the firm’s identity consistently. However, many firms lack a clear and concise brand message that everyone understands and supports. 


Public Relations (PR): PR plays a significant role in shaping a brand’s reputation. Through targeted efforts such as media relations, sponsorship, and publicity, companies can enhance their brand image without massive advertising budgets. Understanding the competitive landscape and clients’ perceptions is key to effective PR strategies. 


Broadcast Marketing: While advertising on TV and radio was traditionally limited to professional services, it’s becoming more accessible. Effective broadcast marketing requires careful planning and targeting to reach the right audience. Sometimes, less expensive media like radio can be more impactful than national press ads. 


Regardless of the method chosen, consistent investment in brand communication is essential. Regularly allocating funds to enhance the brand’s visibility and reputation through direct communication with the market ensures long-term brand success. 


Brand management is a potent tool for professional service firms, boosting revenues, and client loyalty, and setting them apart from competitors. As more firms adopt brand programs, mastering brand management will become essential. Hiring specialists with a proven track record in brand building is crucial for success, but it also requires strong support from the firm’s leadership. 



Tags: brand, brand strategy, Management, Power of Brands, Professional Services