My last blog post, Coupling Strategy for Accounting Firms, offered a specific reasoning and a supporting concept for accounting firms to expand their services. In this article, I want to explore another way of looking at the coupling strategy, or what Harvard Professor, Thales S. Teixeira, defined as “the concept of creating new products that create meaningful synergies with your original product” (2019).
Last time I focused on operations. This analysis focuses on brand.
What Is Brand?
Brand is “a value indicator for various stakeholders. The meaning of the value is subjective and personal; it is shaped by the interaction of company and stakeholders over a period of time and driven by the vision of the organization” (Maurya & Mishra, 2012).
Brand gives you permission to not have to stick to one product category.
It’s what gave me permission to sign a deal with K-Swiss and have a sneaker that puts up great sales numbers. It’s what gave me permission to have a wine brand…. It’s what would allow me to create other products in the future that reflect my persona if I chose to – like energy drinks or hot sauce.
…personas give [brands] permission to enter different categories than what they’re typically known for.Gary Vaynerchuk, 2019
Permission (To Use Your Brand)
Vaynerchuk uses that word in such a powerful way. In fact, the article from which I gathered the above quote has the word in its title and repeatedly uses “permission” (8 times).
Permission is an undergirding concept of freedom based on an accepted reputation.
Knowing the Language Of Business
Accounting is often called the ‘language of business’…because accounting is a primary means by which business information is communicated to the stakeholders.Warren, 2015
Accountants are fluent in the language of business. That’s quite a reputation, no?
That means accountants know and understand and can communicate what is happening in any business, right? Obviously not entirely, but how many business owners discuss business challenges with their accounting service providers?
It’s because the accountants have a reputation (brand!) of knowing business.
The Business Of Higher Purpose
A higher purpose is not about economic exchanges. It reflects something more aspirational. It explains how the people involved with an organization are making a difference, gives them a sense of meaning, and draws their support.Quinn & Thakor, 2018
It is for that reason that I find accounting firms’ ambition so refreshing.
Clients’ well-being isn’t just about materiality for the accounting firm; rather, accounting firms have a human interest in the good fortunes of others. Why not tie the professional (coupling) strategy (scale-up) in with the valuable “language of business” brand to see that ambition through?
The main hurdle of pursuing the coupling strategy is that this may lead your company into vastly different businesses that require vastly different people, skills, and capabilities than the ones your company possesses.Thales S. Teixeira, 2019
Will bookkeeping, accounting and tax services give themselves permission to be (and to feel) successful for a higher purpose? Here, let Rehr Consulting get you started on your way.
In a 30-minute to 1-hour informational interview (in person, telephone call, Skype, etc.) I would get the answers to 3 basic questions:
- Why did you get in business in the first place?
- What are your Top 3 goals, and Top 3 risks?
- Is your business operating in alignment with your personal ambition?
From there, I would work with that client to figure goals, devise ways to achieve the desired business performance (strategy), and strengthen resilience.
Teixeira, T. (2019). Disruption Starts with Unhappy Customers, Not Technology. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2019/06/disruption-starts-with-unhappy-customers-not-technology[Accessed 11 Jun. 2019].
Vaynerchuk, G. (2019). Brands that Have Permission: What if BMW Made Headphones and Apple Launched a Sneaker?. [online] Linkedin.com. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/brands-have-permission-what-bmw-made-headphones-apple-gary-vaynerchuk/ [Accessed 11 Jun. 2019].
Maurya, Upendra Kumar, and P. Mishra. “What Is A Brand? A Perspective On Brand Meaning”. European Journal Of Business And Management, vol 4, no. 3, 2012, p. 128. International Institute For Science, Technology And Education, issn:2222-2839 (online). Accessed 19 June 2019.
Warren, C. (2015). Survey of Accounting. 7th ed. Stamford: Cengage Learning, pp.8-9.
Quinn, Robert E., and Anjan V. Thakor. “Creating A Purpose-Driven Organization”. Harvard Business Review, vol 96, no. 4, 2018, p. 79., Accessed 20 June 2019.