2015 AAM-MAA Awards Recap – Better Late Than Never

“At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flame to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist.  Strange animals, statues, and gold – everywhere the glimpse of gold.”

-Howard Carter, upon entering King Tut’s tomb, 1923

Well, hello, there.

It’s been two seasons since we last saw each other.  I’m sure you understand – it’s been an incredibly busy spring and early summer for me, but incredibly rewarding all the same.

Time has passed in the marketing world, too, and we’ve just recently passed the 2015 edition of the Association for Accounting Marketing’s annual AAM-MAA Awards.  I know you all enjoyed my recap of it last year, so I thought I’d make a return appearance to do another one.

Let’s take a look at just some of this year’s winners.

Branding/Logo: Untracht Early LLC


I must say, this is an interesting logo from this firm, based in the New York metro.  Let’s dissect it, starting with the colors.  Purple is a very soft color, but studies show it can be linked to creativity and wisdom, as evidenced by its use in the logo for companies such as Yahoo!, Taco Bell, T-Mobile, and the SyFy channel.  In this case, we can classify gold as yellow, which is a harder, bolder color, but represents clarity and optimism.  Think Yellow Pages, Best Buy, and National Geographic.  And, of course, the ubiquitous Golden Arches.  😉

The combination of the two colors represents an accounting firm that will provide clarity to a company’s operations using innovative solutions.  Combined with the company’s slogan, “Pivotal”, we can understand that the firm’s professionals provide solutions that are not merely necessary during crucial times, but are insightful in ensuring the long-term stability and growth of a company.  I also like how the “e” seems to continue into infinity, meaning the possibilities for a relationship between the firm and its client are endless.  At least that’s how I see it, anyway.

Content Marketing Campaigns/Blogs: Freed Maxick CPAs

This Buffalo-based firm won last year for their integrated PR campaign, and their blog is no exception to that streak of excellence.  If you visit http://blog.freedmaxick.com/, you’ll find weekly articles written by principals of the firm that are thorough, insightful, and highly referential to current tax laws and economic trends.  I feel that blogs are one of the best ways to communicate a firm’s knowledge of current trends to its publics, and Freed Maxick does a great job of leveraging the knowledge its principals possess to provide helpful insights to its clients from all of the different industries the firm serves.  The variety of posts are incredibly comprehensive as well – just check out the long list of tags on the right-hand side.  The firm definitely covers all its bases with their blog.

Internal Programs/Corporate Responsibility-Above $25 million in revenue: Anders CPAs + Advisors

I must admit, I’d never heard of this St. Louis-based firm until today, but I’m really impressed with their marketing platforms.  They have a beautiful, detailed website, and their inbound platforms such as blogs and social media are current and consistent.  I do want to draw attention, though, to their community service and corporate responsibility programs, which I understand why AAM wanted to commend.  Anders gives to tons, I mean tons of charities and organizations in the St. Louis area – just visit http://anderscpa.com/about/community-commitment/organizations-we-support/ to see all of them.  They also have an active Women’s Initiative, which seeks to enhance the careers of women in the firm through networking opportunities, leadership roles, and other events.

People often ask why being giving back to the community is important for the company, if it doesn’t imminently increase the bottom line.  The way I see it, people are doing business with people.  And these people have thoughts and feelings, and passions that drive them.  To participate in activities in the surrounding community shows these people that a company empathizes with those passions and interests and expresses that empathy through its actions, and for that reason, the people will hold that company in a higher regard.  Because before people do business with a company, they first have to like a company, regardless of the quality of service the company provides, and before people are accountants or advisors…they’re human beings.

Website-Above $25 million in revenue: Clark Nuber PS

To learn more about this Bellevue, WA-based firm, visit clarknuber.com.  What struck me first was the logo in a simple white Helvetica typeface with a red underline.  I’m most accustomed to seeing that typeface in places where the expression of the identity of the entity is meant to be simple and candid, for example, the American Apparel logo or in the game Cards Against Humanity (which I’m kind of awesome at, by the way).  Nonetheless, I think the use of the typeface in the logo, as well as everywhere else in the website, is symbolic of the simplicity, clarity, and honesty the firm provides to its clients through its service.  From a design standpoint, this clarity is also evident through a clear outline of the website’s sections with the subtle use of Parallax, and the nice use of the color red.  All in all, a solid website with a nice hint of understated creativity.  Check out the “People” section under “About”, too.  I love how none of their partners are wearing business attire.  I guess if that’s how they meet their clients, that’s how they wanted to appear on their website.  But that’s really cool, I must say.

Social Media Campaign:  Anders CPAs + Advisors

Let’s go back to St. Louis to finish up.  These guys really know how to leverage social media.  From posts detailing industry trends and insights that link back to inbound platforms on the company’s website, to clever campaigns involving the professionals such as #WhereIsAnders, which logs vacation pictures of the employees, as well as countless pictures of firm events and seminars, this firm presents a holistic campaign across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, chock-full of everything that comprises the firm’s image and DNA.  And that’s what social media is for, y’know?  It’s for communicating the elements of the firm that extend beyond just the work of the firm, ultimately making the firm seem more like a person.  I especially like the Anders sunglasses that make appearances throughout Facebook posts – it’s a really fun addition.

And, of course, a shout-out to the WithumSmith+Brown folks, who won again this year for Multimedia Campaign.  Those State of the Firm videos are absolutely infectious.  Amongst their other great videos, of course.  Visit http://www.youtube.com/user/WithumVids for more.

To see the full list of this year’s winners, visit http://connect.accountingmarketing.org/blogs/aam-staff/2015/06/08/aam-announces-the-category-winners-of-the-marketing-achievement-awards?CommunityKey=8d252816-102e-4546-b912-ece808c1f7a5&Tab=.  Yeah, not the cleanest URL, but it serves its purpose.  Also, connect with me on Twitter at @NickNappoMWM.

Well, time for brunch.  Have a great weekend, everybody!  And a Happy Fourth!


2 thoughts on “2015 AAM-MAA Awards Recap – Better Late Than Never

  1. Hi, Nick. I’m the Marketing Director from Untracht Early. We found your blog post and I just wanted to tell you that, even though our second color is shades of two greens, we’ll take the “yellow” interpretation! I love what you said about our logo and how it relates back to our customers. That’s exactly how we feel about the relationships we have with them. Thanks for taking the time to give your thoughts on it!

    • You’re welcome, Carolyn! And thank you for taking the time to give your thoughts on my post! Now that you mention it, I do see the two shades of green in the logo. However, green is synonymous with harmony and growth, which are both vital to a client-firm relationship, so it works just as well. I also just recognized how the lines spell out “UE” – very clever!
      Thanks again for your comments. I look forward to seeing more from your firm!

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