Re-name, re-position and re-brand an Accountants practice



The partners of Berkshire-based Chartered Accountants, PAW Consulting asked us to re-brand their practice, as it has changed out of all recognition since it was founded in 1998 by Paul Worthington. Developing a new market position, we then created a new name - ‘WoodWhite’, designed a new brand identity and re-launched the company at the end of 2021.


As part of the process, we also helped to launch NEXTGEN, a new competition for budding entrepreneurs in early 2022, which was set up by WoodWhite Accountants.

Business and branding go hand-in-hand

Business is about growing and sustaining relationships and branding is about developing and expressing personality in ways that helps companies to positively engage people inside and outside of their organisation.

How do other accouNTANTS position themselves?

We started by reviewing the way that competitors in the Thames Valley position their accountancy practices in the market. We interviewed a selection of PAW Consulting clients and colleagues and asked them what the organisation and the name meant to them. There were positive feelings towards the company based on the great client experience, but neutral feelings towards the name as it was sometimes mis-pronounced as ‘poor’ rather than P.A.W, Paul Worthington’s initials.



Most competitor websites talked about providing a first class service so there did not seem much to separate them all. With one exception, they all focused on themselves and what they could do and not show visitors that they understood them or clearly articulate the intangible and emotional benefits of their practice over others.



Competitors talked generically about services, not about client experience or the impact on their clients’ businesses. In Reading and the surrounding Berkshire area there are approximately 15-20 accountancy practices, which is a lot to choose from and so it is vital to look and sound different from all of them.

Recommending a new market position

From our findings, we outlined four key building blocks for the proposed new positioning, which were to be expressed through the website and all communications. This was achieved by demonstrating an understanding of the challenges that clients face, using strong headlines, unusual images and copy that talks about benefits and impact. The positioning was also designed to inspire everyone who works for the company and to make them feel proud about what they do.



Three positioning concepts and themes tested

Then we outlined three possible positioning concepts and debated the merits of each before settling on ‘transform’. Testing three different themes before agreeing that the strongest was; ‘transform your business potential’. Because it is based on the outcomes and benefits to clients’ businesses rather than the process or the journey of transformation itself. To help decide which was the best route, we drafted a few paragraphs of positioning copy to convey what it would sound like.



People are not interested in why a company is changing name, unless there is something in it for them. So emphasising that ‘business people deserve better business support’, would be far more engaging. This also underpins why the WoodWhite client experience has always been outstanding, since Paul Worthington started out, he has been continually surprised by the low standard of service and lack of understanding of technology that many accountants have in the industry.


This will not be a surprise to the many business owners and entrepreneurs who have suffered because they could not find an accountant who understands them or their business.




Business owners and entrepreneurs need help driving their businesses forward, but many are frustrated by their accountants. “If they had better support, they could achieve so much more”, says Paul Worthington.

A new name was needed

As a result of our research, we discussed the need to change the company name. This decision was not taken lightly by the partners as we discussed the pros and cons. Because it can be very risky, especially for a company with such a long and strong heritage.




How did we develop the new name?

Once satisfied with the new market position and proposition, we started the naming process. This helped us to create a name that would resonate with modern entrepreneurs and business people. As it had to be outward looking, dynamic and focus on business growth because the company helps clients to be more successful.


Developing a new name for a company is like creating the title for a new book. It is easier to write the manuscript first and then create the title afterwards, than do it the other way around.


WOODWHITE WAS CHOSEN

We looked at 15 different ‘types of names’ including abbreviations, made up names and even ones without vowels in, before generating more than 90 possibles ones, shortlisting four and our client chose one - WoodWhite. For due diligence, we checked the name for usage as a trade mark, company name, domain name and social media handle before a final decision was made.


Why the name WoodWhite?

Wood White is a species of butterfly found in the South of England and crucial to the survival of plants. As business pollinators, WoodWhite Accountants is critical to their clients’ success, through every stage of their business lifecycles, helping them to transform their companies. No other companies in this space are using this type of analogy and language, which makes them sound distinctive and engaging.




We’ll let Founder, Paul Worthington explain why the name was chosen.



A strap line explains a lot in few words

We also developed a number of alternative strap lines to work with the new name and the chosen strap line was; ’Accountants for Forward Thinking Businesses’, as it describes what the company does and who it works best with.




Developing a new brand identity

Communicating a distinct personality and new brand identity is more than just designing a new logo; it includes the new name, colours, fonts and images as well as a distinct tone of voice for copy.



 

The design of the ‘WW’ logo is in the shape of a simplified butterfly.


 


New icons

New, simple icons were created to help communicate key information on the home page.



new contemporary Colour palette and font

A new colour palette and corporate font were introduced.




Filming an interview with the founder

We filmed an interview with Paul Worthington, during which we discussed the launch of WoodWhite Accountants and the NEXTGEN competition. Then we edited it down to twelve separate short clips, added simple graphics and subtitles to be used on the new website as well as in social media posts.



What is NEXTGEN?




Communications materiaLS AND merchandise

We designed business stationery, email signature, e-newsletter template and PowerPoint slide deck and drafted the copy for a proposal document. Our client selected a small range of promotional items to be used as giveaways at the launch party and in a direct mail programme.



Signage and office

We designed simple signage and the new brand colours were used on key walls in the reception and meeting rooms in the new offices.




Website design and key messages

We proposed a new design for the website based on a theme from Total Solutions, who are a specialist provider of websites and content for accountants. We re-drafted the copy for key pages and linked these to a new suite of images we searched for, combining these with strong headings to communicate the key messages.



News release, media pack & social media schedule

We drafted a news release and media pack to announce the change of name, as well as the new identity and positioning and then adapted it to be used as posts on LinkedIn. The news release was also sent to a hand selected list of publications, websites and editors whose audiences would be interested in reading about WoodWhite Accountants.



Internal launCH, followed by party with clients

We provided an initial draft for an internal presentation that the partners adapted and shared with colleagues. We also drafted an email invitation for the launch party for existing clients and contacts to introduce the new name and brand identity and to announce the launch of NEXTGEN.



The results

Initial feedback from colleagues and clients has been amazing and everyone feels excited about what the company is setting out to achieve in the future.


Need to transform your company?

If you have a company that operates in a competitive marketplace, have ambitious plans for growth and need to transform the way you are perceived, then contact Craig Thatcher now.