You might not think that during the events of 2020, a rebrand and launch of a new website would be in the cards for your firm, but that is precisely what member firm Gray, Gray & Gray, LLP accomplished. The rebrand, the result of a col- orful two-year journey, was embarked upon in order to support the future growth of the firm. We spoke to Laura Hampe, marketing director at the firm to find out about their process and to see if they had any insights or advice for firms thinking about doing the same.
Behind the rebrand
We wondered what was behind the decision for the rebrand. Hampe was clear in describing the back story and said that the rebrand, which included a total revamp of the logo, collateral and website, was something that management and marketing had been talking about for more than two years. The firm had started down the path of developing their business consulting services and knew they had existing brand equity. They wanted to reposition their brand in order to support the future growth of the firm. “We wanted to show that we were still the same great firm that clients had come to know and trust, but now tak- ing it to that next level where we could really add value as advisors and help clients make informed decisions about their business,” said Hampe.
Putting it together
Websites are the face and portal to any firm. Gray, Gray & Gray now had to put together the pieces needed to complete their site.
The first step was to develop a vision and come up with the domain. Their initial domain was gggcpas.com, but knowing that they wanted to reposition themselves as advisors and be viewed as “more than just a firm that offers the traditional accounting services,” they decided to drop “cpas” from the name. After numerous committee discussions and searching for available domains, they selected gggllp.com. Next, they began looking at their existing website content and feedback on it and developed a working sitemap that aligned with the rebrand focus. They then had to decide what the firm could do in-house and what would require outside resources. Hampe elaborated, “We chose to work with our current website developer on programming and building the shell. We used WordPress as our platform to create a user-friendly and responsive site. Internally, our familiarity with this platform and features of its new editor would give us the ability to have more internal control and evolve the site as our business continues to grow over time.”
Hampe said that the firm organized the new website under their four service lines: Consulting; Audit & Assurance; Tax; and Private Wealth. It was also important to the firm to break off their private wealth affiliate with a stand-alone website that had a similar look and feels to the parent Gray, Gray & Gray website. The firm created its tagline, “The Power of More,” and they are committed to delivering on this value proposition. It ties in directly to the firm’s belief in better serving their clients through their expanded offerings. For their visual identity, the new logo depicts elegance with several design elements: three dots which Hampe explained symbolize that there is more to come, and the word “gray” with a superscript “3” as the main logo mark and are a nod to the firm’s founders, the three Gray brothers, Robert, Milton and Mervin. The font is one that is modern and professional. There’s also a new color scheme for the parent brand and each of the firm’s service lines.
Hampe had some words of advice for any other firm that is con- sidering a rebrand:
- Firms should have thoughtful discussions going over the challenges they are trying to solve with the brand. I would encourage them to talk to their clients, their leadership, and staff about the brand perception in order to bridge the gap between the internal and external perceptions about the brand.
- Another thing firms can do is to form a branding committee and identify brand ambassadors. The committee could be a large (or small) group that meets regularly to discuss and review ideas throughout the branding journey. Include representation from different departments to capture vary- ing perspectives. Look at staff at different levels and departments of the organization to serve as brand ambassadors as well in order to get feedback from across the firm and generate excitement.
- With any rebrand, you should consider what needs to change and what needs to stay the same. It’s not about your sign-changing; it’s about how your firm is showing up differently to your clients, the marketplace, and your team. It’s also critical to have the resources for a rebrand in place to not only develop a brand strategy but to be able to successfully execute it.
- Berealisticaboutwhatthecostsarewithbranding.Establish what you are willing and able to spend and ensure that it aligns with the firm’s expectations. Make sure you have the support and the means to go from strategy to implementation.
- Communicate with your team, clients, and business associates. Make sure that everyone understands the reasons and the benefits of the rebrand so that everyone can get behind it.
- Plan for the unexpected. Because of the pandemic, we postponed our launch. We had to adjust our timing and implementation for the launch. The silver lining to this was that it allowed us to step forward and demonstrate the power of more. Ultimately, it helped us to have a greater impact when we did officially launch.
There will be other member firms that will go through the rebrand – ing experience. But there is comfort in knowing they can access others’ expertise. Hampe stressed that being able to leverage other firms that had already rebranded was huge for them – especially at the beginning. Hampe said, “We didn’t know what we didn’t know, so talking with others who had been through this and having the ability to share best practices was very important. Being able to leverage CPAmerica’s association and reaching out to fellow mem- bers was very helpful to us.”
“The rebrand was a great learning experience. We were all driving towards a brand that, internally, we could be proud of, and externally, we knew that we were making a difference for our clients.”