2016 AAM-MAA Recap

What’s good.

I know it seems like I post practically annually now, what with the craziness of my life, but maybe I’ll pick this blog back up again…maybe.  I’m doing slam poetry now in the Hudson Valley, so that’s taken up a lot of my time.

But, I just had to come back and give my take on some of the winners of the Association for Accounting Marketing’s 2016 Marketing Achievement Awards!  There were some pretty cool things this year that I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about.  So here we go.

Integrated Branding Program – Budget > $100,000: LBMC

We’ll start off by looking at the integrated branding platform of this Tennessee-based firm.  Their website is clean and simplistic, with a clear layout that provides users concise avenues to the firm’s services and industries.  The clarity of the site is no doubt synergetic with the organization which LBMC’s professionals bring to their work, as well as the strength achieved by their clients through the client-firm relationship.  Their social media presence is also quite strong, as their Facebook is chock-full of pictures of staff at events and valuable industry insights, their Twitter is updated 3-4 times a day with links back to the blog on the website, and the same can be said for LinkedIn.  This is a great example of a really solid integrated branding program, with a design scheme that resonates with the mission of the firm, and comprehensive social media activity that sets the standard for what an accounting firm’s social media presence should be.

Collateral & Content Marketing – Blogs: Skoda Minotti

Next we’ll move up to Cleveland to view one of the best accounting firm blogs I’ve ever seen.  Why is this blog so great, you might ask?  It’s cleanly organized into all of the firm’s niche practice areas, including Business Advisory, Risk Advisory, and its Wealth Management division.  The blog is updated on an almost-daily basis with content from each of those areas, and many of the firm’s partners contribute articles according to their areas of specialty.  If a firm is able to market itself through custom content reflecting the expertise of its own professionals, that’s always better than buying into a service that produces ready-made content.  Although I’ve been guilty of that in my work at my own firm, we’ve also created our own content, which has been consistent with my objective of authenticity in the presentation of our brand image.

Another cool thing about Skoda’s blog – the colors really pop.  Very nice on the eyes.

Events – Budget Above $25,000: Barnes Dennig

I’ve never written about the events category in this AAM-MAA series, but I find it very interesting that AAM included it in the awards mix.  And it’s fitting that this Kentucky-based firm took the prize.  If the photos on their Facebook page is any indication of the work they put into their niche industry and community events, they’ve certainly got it going on.  Not to mention the great things they do to reinforce a positive internal culture, like holiday parties, 5Ks, soap box derbies and other fun stuff.  Check them out here.

Marketing Campaigns – Social Media: WeiserMazars

I wrote about these folks from the New York area a couple years back when I mentioned their awesome #WhenSharksFly campaign.  Well, they returned this year with a couple other campaigns to market their cool, fun vibe they exude in their daily work.  #BestAdvice depicts the firm’s professionals as they hold pieces of paper (or even sticky notes) that give little pieces of advice they hold dear to their hearts as they move through the strife of busy season.  Seems to me this advice could also be taken by other accounting professionals across the country, which is a pretty cool thing.  Another campaign they marketed which I particularly liked was #DearBusySeason, in which the staff held sticky notes with thoughts they wanted to articulate to the season if it were personified, and if they were given the chance.

One of the best reasons to execute a social media campaign such as this is the increasingly prevalent younger demographic.  Firms across the country are trying to recruit and retain them, and as studies have shown that Millennials are drawn to authenticity, the best communications outlet in this regard is social media, since it’s perhaps the best way to market one’s authentic self.  Not to metion, they will be largest demographic in the workplace by 2020, so if a company can market on their terms, it would only help them in the long run.

Website – Firms Between $10-24.9 million in revenue: Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough (HHM)

I guess for this article we won’t be crossing the Mississippi River, so let’s go back to Tennessee.  HHM’s website has many things that I like – a sleek, bright, minamalist design, the utilization of Parallax scrolling, and the employment of soft, bright, welcoming colors and fonts, all of which create an appealing portrait of the firm’s modus operandi.  I especially like their slogan, appearing in big bold letters upon first arrival, “Moving Business Forward”.  With the train tracks as a background, one gains an understanding of HHM as a firm that constantly looks to the horizon for their clients, and like a train, never falters at anything in its path.  If I’m ever in Chattanooga, in fact, I’d love to visit these folks.  Their website just makes them appear to be that cool and likeable.

Video & Multimedia – Program Budget Above $10,000: Rea & Associates, Inc.

Nope, definitely not crossing the Mississippi.  This Ohio-based firm does things with their YouTube channel that I’ve never seen before.  Not only do they maintain a wide variety of content, ranging from branding videos to videos showing community activities, but they also maintain a collection of Excel tutorials.  This example of content marketing is unique in that we often see firms conveying their expertise in industry matters, but not in the technical minutia of their work.  Their Excel tutorials are extremely informative and comprehensive, and are no doubt relevant to accountants from all lines of work.  According to Jason Blumer from Thriveal CPAs, accountants should be “brothers in arms”, and I believe the Rea squad embraces that philosophy as they selflessly share knowledge for the benefit of the profession as a whole.  Props to them for being an invaluable resource to the accounting community.

And that’s my spiel for this year.  Congratulations to all the winners of AAM-MAA, and I hope it was a fun time in New Orleans at the AAM Summit!  Find me on Twitter at @NickNappoMWM to connect and keep in touch.

Ciao for now!

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