Boosting your firm’s leads through personal branding

When we look at professional service branding – and marketing as a whole – we tend to see a focus on ‘macro-issues’ like web design, email communiques and digital strategies. 

But often this leads to a neglect of the less obvious strategies that accountants, solicitors and advisers can use in their generation of leads and overall awareness of their brand. 

And, whilst the big-picture stuff is very important, firms fail to realise the impact that a single, charismatic, or talented person can have when they’re included within an overarching marketing strategy.  

It’s like in Star Wars – the rebels had a great backstory, a growing strength in military prowess and a noble cause, but they wouldn’t have succeeded without Luke Skywalker, Leia, Obi-Wan or Han Solo. 

(Even the more minor characters, like R2-D2, had their part to play in the overall victory over the dark side).  

The same can be said of your firm. 

Individuals – whether senior management or not – can have a major impact on the visibility and reach of your marketing efforts.  

How personal branding efforts generate leads 

To demonstrate how individual personal branding brings in clients, we’d like to bring in three key marketing theories to the discussion.  

  1. Social Identity Theory: Individuals select services to cultivate and communicate their self-identity and group belonging within society. In other words, if they feel a connection with one of your staff members, online or otherwise, they are more likely to make a purchase.  
  1. Brand Equity Theory: Brand equity is the added trust and preference clients have for a firm (or individual), based on their reputation and the quality of previous experiences. So, by having great personal brands, solicitors and accountants can build upon the experiences they provide clients in-house via their social media and other outlets.  
  1. Trust and Credibility Theory: Potential clients are more likely to engage your firm (or the individuals within it) if they believe they are reliable and have expertise, which can be demonstrated through industry insights and blogs, authored by individuals promoted on their social media. 

(Quick tip: You’ll notice in the last point we used the word “authored”, rather than “written,” because your potential clients won’t know that you’re using a marketing agency to produce your content – a useful thing to remember when developing a personal branding strategy). 

Referring back to these theories should improve the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, especially when used in conjunction with one another and when born in mind during your personal branding efforts.  

From a more simplistic perspective, having individuals within your firm develop their own personal brand gives your business enhanced visibility and reach. 

We call this “the multiplier effect of individual networks.” 

How to implement a successful personal branding strategy 

There are a few key components of a successful personal branding strategy that we would recommend to those firms just starting out on this campaign. 

LinkedIn and Facebook profiles are both good places to start, with the former being the most useful to professionals like accountants and solicitors. 

A well-crafted LinkedIn profile, for example, demonstrates that the people in your firm take their jobs, careers, and roles seriously. 

When your prospective clients look into your firm, they’ll often head to LinkedIn to check out your team and some of our clients even include links to individuals’ pages on their main firm website. 

(Again, a marketing agency, like JE Consulting, can help you design and fill out LinkedIn profiles).  

Next comes the trust and credibility aspect of your personal branding strategy – blogging. 

Having senior partners “author” engaging, informative, and useful industry insight pieces or articles of thought leadership, can be a great way to engage potential clients who are looking for information on certain subjects. 

Reciprocity Theory applies here too. A prospective client may think:  

“If this [solicitor/accountant] is willing to provide free, useful information to me via their website or social media, maybe they deserve some of my business.  

“And, if they are willing to give this information away for free, imagine what they can offer their paying customers!” 

Industry-leading blogs demonstrate your knowledge as a professional and go a long way to building your personal brand.  

Finally, a short note on public engagements and webinars. 

When it comes to things like podcasts, webinars and appearing at events, public engagement can be a great driver of traffic. 

Yes, the world is digital, but face-to-face sales are still one of the best marketing methods around today.  

(That’s why you’ll often see Jo Edwards, our Senior Director, appearing at events like AccountEx London to talk about professional service firm marketing and other industry issues).  

This, of course, comes down to the soft skills of the individual – the ability to talk, to sell, to network – which isn’t for everyone. 

These abilities can be trained but it’s not difficult to recognise individuals within the firm who are already capable of handling themselves at events and who can act as the public face of your firm on webinars and podcasts.  

Turning to the dark side: A common concern 

Often, we get questions from professionals considering personal branding strategies that go something like this:  

“What if I spend time and effort on one of my team’s personal brand and then they leave?” 

It’s a valid question – what if they turn to the dark side and leave your firm, taking their brand-spanking new LinkedIn profile with them? 

We generally recommend mitigating against this eventuality through two methods: 

  1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  
  1. Take a pragmatic approach to personal branding. 

The first point should be fairly obvious. Rather than optimising one member of staff’s personal brand, spread your efforts across multiple profiles. 

Even the most loyal, charismatic, and crucial team members will eventually look to retire so ensure you have a broad scope of well-crafted personal brands across your firm, just in case one decides to leave.  

On the second point, it’s important to look at this as part of your overall marketing strategy. 

Personal brand development is not simply a singular effort, it should align with your web design, your email communications, and your other marketing efforts.  

By failing to take advantage of personal brands, yes, you protect yourself from wasted investment, but you also reduce your chances of capitalising on the opportunities it creates.  

Ready to get better at personal branding? 

Developing a high-quality personal brand is a long process and often relies on a whole-firm effort rather than singular individuals. 

It’s a drawn-out process that can’t rely on shortcuts – it must be strategic, data and analytics-driven, and must refer back to the marketing theories that permeate all aspects of branding.  

You’ll need to harness great writing skills for the blogging and industry insight aspect of things, social media skills for the development of LinkedIn and Facebook strategies and perhaps even professional advice for public speaking and engagement events.  

The easiest way to get all of this is to speak to an agency (like JE Consulting) that specialises in marketing for professional service firms.  

We’re happy to provide you with free information on developing a personal brand which is why we’re running a free Continuous Professional Development (CPD) course called “The brand of YOU.”  

  • When: 24 April – 10am 
  • Where: Online via Magpie CPD 

Click here to register! 

This will be hosted by our very own Jo Edwards, who will explore the incredible marketing opportunities that come from your personal image online and within your industry. 

She’ll also go into much more detail on the practical aspects of developing your own brand and utilising social media effectively.  

She’s also an expert on appearing at events, so if you’re interested in webinars, in-person events and conferences you’ll definitely get some useful information.  

To register for our free CPD course, please click here. 

For more help with developing your individual brand, please speak to Jo via email: or call: 0121 355 4774.

Categories: Blog