ME Inc.: Personal Branding Beyond the Baseline

We often think creating a brand in the marketplace is only possible for big businesses, such as McDonalds, Coca Cola, and Disney. Everyone connects to these companies and the things they offer. Brands such as these create a reputation in the marketplace as experts and better than their competitors, and they make a connection with people that builds trust in their product.

But consider for a moment the power of your own individual brand in the marketplace—the power of ME Inc. Your name can be synonymous with expertise in the field, impeccable client service, and a genuine concern for clients’ welfare. In fact, your brand can deliver in ways that most companies around the world can’t compete with because you are dealing in a space that others do not. Many businesses are working one-dimensionally with people. They deal in wants: I want a Coke, a hamburger, or a pleasurable experience. As an accountant and trusted business advisor, you are dealing in two dimensions. You focus on helping people succeed so they can achieve what they want, as well as dealing at a higher level with your clients’ need to deliver security for themselves, their family, and their staff.

Branding yourself as the accounting professional who can deliver at two dimensions is powerful.  The question is how?

I have seen many accountants develop a powerful reputation in their local market, as well as nationally, by doing several things. First, they deliver first class service and leverage the capabilities of people around them to assist clients. This provides the baseline for being known as someone to turn to for help. However, launching your brand so that your name becomes synonymous with a specific expertise, therefore guaranteeing you work whenever someone needs that expertise, requires going beyond the baseline—and beyond the baseline is where really successful people gravitate over time.

High achievers develop high competency in specialty areas, and then get the word out in ways that other accountants are reluctant of or neglect to do. They join industry associations, they serve on the board of the association in positions that place them in regular company with the key drivers of business, they cultivate relationships, they are constantly learning from others, AND they are open to exploring new ideas and alternatives. Successfully branding your name in the market also involves getting out there to speak regularly to industry groups about issues most critical to their businesses. It requires joining online discussion groups and contributing quality insights to the discussion.

When I was a boy, I once asked my dad, “How did that guy get to be better than everybody else”?

He said the reason was because they were willing to do things that others weren’t, and that made them different.

Patrick Pruett – Executive Vice President at The Rainmaker Companies