Building Your Brand in 30 Seconds or Less
February 15, 2011 | The Whetstone Group

In professional services, it can be difficult to differentiate among firms that offer (from the buyer’s perspective anyway) the same service. After all, you all subscribe to the same credentialing programs. You follow the same set of professional practice standards. You all do quality work. On the surface — your firms all appear the same.

During the course of consulting with a firm it’s common for us to ask professionals at various levels (staff, associates, managers, partners, etc.) as well at those with different aptitudes for business development, “why should companies work with you?” Inevitably, we receive as many different answers from professionals within the same firm as individuals we ask.

Most of your firm’s branding is done through your people. Your professionals interact regularly with clients, prospects, referral sources, and even the media. If each of those individuals is telling a different story about what makes your firm great, how effectively will your firm’s brand be built? Branding is about message consistency. And if you’re inconsistent you are squandering your firm’s branding opportunities.

One of the best branding investments your firm can make is to develop a 30-second speech. A 30-second speech is your firm’s answer to the question “tell me what you do”. It consists of standard talking points that everyone in the firm should know and practice. The purpose is to ensure when employees from your firm interact with someone in the community they all talk about your firm’s brand the same way.

Talking points include:

  • Who your firm serves (target market)
  • What business issues your firm helps solve
  • Benefits of working with your firm
  • What makes your firm different

Any facts you introduce about your firm should include a response to “why is that important to a client?”

Once your firm has this useful tool in place, leaders in the firm should present the talking points to everyone, and let everyone practice delivering the points in their own style. Remember, it’s a 30-second speech — so the guideline should be that answers are short and succinct. Practice is important to both keeping it short and making it sound natural. The 30-second speech can also be the basis for all your firm’s other branding materials — brochures, advertisements, website content, etc. This consistency, over time, will help the market understand why you’re the best choice to meet their needs.

And, it all starts with 30 seconds or less.