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20th September, 2023

Episode 6: Different has more authenticity than better

In this episode of Fiscal Therapy, Richard Miller, brand director at Crisp and Co and founder of tech startup Poddiy, discusses the importance of building a competition-crushing brand.

He emphasises that being different is more advantageous than being better because when you strive to be different, you eliminate the need for direct competition.

Richard explains the difference between brand and branding. Brand refers to what people say about you when you’re not in the room. It is the personality and reputation of your business that remains consistent regardless of the context or audience.

On the other hand, branding is how you represent yourself visually and through various marketing channels such as advertising, logos, colors, and shapes.

To create a competition-crushing brand, Richard suggests finding your unique selling proposition (USP) or point of difference.

However, he cautions against approaching this process superficially by simply coming up with catchy words.

Instead, he emphasises the importance of discovering your genuine mission and vision. Why are you in business? What is your bigger purpose beyond making money?

By identifying and articulating your purpose in a language that resonates with your target audience, you can differentiate yourself and attract like-minded individuals who want to join your tribe.

Authenticity is key in branding

In today’s highly competitive market, it is no longer enough for businesses to simply offer a good product or service.

Consumers are looking for more than just functionality; they want to connect with brands on a deeper level.

This is where authenticity comes into play.

Understanding brand is particularly important for professional service organizations like accounting practices.

These industries are often seen as dry and fact-based, but that does not mean they cannot have a strong brand.

In fact, in an industry where most firms offer similar services, it is the brand and authenticity that sets them apart.

Clients want to work with someone they can trust, and the brand is a key factor in building that trust.

Branding creates team cohesiveness

When a practice establishes a clear brand identity and communicates it effectively to its team members, it brings them together as one.

One example of how branding creates team cohesiveness is demonstrated through the case of the Pisani Group, an accounting firm in Adelaide.

The firm had been in operation for over 20 years and had established a strong reputation in Port Pirie, where it was originally based.

However, when the firm expanded and opened a second office in the city, it became essential to align the branding and messaging across both locations.

The impact of this rebranding effort went beyond just the external branding. It had a profound effect on the internal team as well.

The new lease of life brought about by the rebranding led the practice’s owner, Stephen Pisani, to invest in a wellbeing consultant and cohesive team exercises.

The benefits of team cohesiveness resulting from branding are numerous. Firstly, it enhances staff engagement and retention.

When team members feel connected to the brand and its purpose, they are more likely to be motivated and committed to their work. This, in turn, leads to increased productivity and a positive work environment.

Brand consistency builds trust

When a brand is consistent, it creates a sense of reliability, authenticity, and trustworthiness in the minds of its audience.

This trust is crucial for building strong relationships with clients and potential employees.

One of the benefits of brand consistency is that it saves time and energy for businesses.

When a brand has a clear and consistent identity, it becomes easier to make decisions and work through different components.

This reduces stress and allows businesses to focus on more creative and strategic aspects of their work, rather than getting bogged down by mundane tasks.

Moreover, brand consistency also leads to increased efficiency and scalability.

When a brand has a strong foundation and clear direction, it becomes easier to expand and introduce new products or services.

The consistent brand architecture ensures that these new additions fit seamlessly within the overall brand, rather than looking like separate entities.

Consistency is also closely linked to trust. When a brand is consistent in its messaging, visual identity, authenticity, and overall brand experience, it builds trust.

Acknowledge strengths, fill in weaknesses

Richard also shares that he is a high-energy person who wants to do everything, but recognises that he has limitations.

To compensate for his weaknesses, he has recruited people around him who can fill the gaps and complement his strengths.

One of Richard’s strengths is his creativity, particularly in words and colours. However, he admits that he dislikes numbers and is not good at processes.

To address this, he employs a good accountant and bookkeeper to handle the financial aspects of his business. He trusts them to take care of the numbers and only involves himself if there is a significant issue.

By acknowledging his weaknesses and relying on others, Richard is able to excel in his areas of expertise.

This approach to acknowledging strengths and filling in weaknesses is valuable advice for anyone in business.

It is essential to recognise our limitations and not try to do everything ourselves.

By surrounding ourselves with people who have complementary skills, we can create a well-rounded team that can tackle various challenges.