The Six Cs of Professional Services Branding
Standing out in a crowded professional services world by being markedly different is very difficult, yet it's possible to emphasize key differences between you and the rest of the pack by developing a "master narrative" – your own story, in your own unique tone of voice.
This effectively creates a central communications framework to express the mission, vision, culture, values, and goals of the firm. When investing in and compiling this "infrastructure for ideas," it's worth considering what we refer to as The Six Cs of Brand Messaging as a means to monitor its relevance and resonance.
1. Context: Be honest as to where you and your firm sit in the minds of your market and your competition, and how, precisely, you want that to change.
2. Content: The hardest part of communicating is knowing what matters to those who are listening, and balancing that with the need to be true to who you are. Compelling content is the fuel that drives the relationships all professional services firms need to build success. In short, make sure there's a "there" there.
3. Clarity: This is possibly the most potent weapon you have in communications. Who are you? What do you do? Why should people care? Addressing these key questions is a big step toward founding a communications platform – and finding a singular voice worth listening to.
4. Creativity: Professional services firms have a tendency to be clear yet boring. That just doesn't cut it. Let your intelligence, wit, and - where appropriate - emotion show. Remember, having "soul" matters in business, too.
5. Consistency: This is not the enemy of creativity; rather, it enables and extends its shelf life and credibility. Say what you need to say, the way you want to say it, and repeat as necessary. Then become known for it.
6. Channel: There are too many ways to send a message and too few ways to have a conversation. Evolve in your view and use of media to match your messages to your constituents.
Applied well, these simple guidelines can make all the difference between two other important Cs: merely Communicating and actually Connecting.