Adrian pearson is A VETERAN UK CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT AND the founder of ledgerscope - A SOFTWARE COMPANY MAking great tools for accountants in practice.

Be careful being different

I have seen many accountancy firms describe themselves as "different" on their websites.

By this they mean different from other accountants, and might say "we are not like other accountants" , or "we are surprisingly different" or the classic (unimaginative) "not all accountants are the same".

Why this urge to position your firm as different in the eyes of a prospective new customer? Are you sure this is what you want to do?

If you were complaining to a friend about your raging toothache what would your response be if they said "I recommend you go to my dentist, she's surprisingly different"?

What could that mean? Does she provide cocaine for all of her patients, to make the procedure less painful and more enjoyable all-round? Does she dress in a clown's outfit, to lighten the mood? Does she insist in working outdoors, using only wooden instruments? All of these things would, indeed, make the dentist "surprisingly different" but would that be a nice surprise?

If you just want your toothache to go away, in the least worrying way, you might prefer the comfort of using your trusted, reliable "traditional" dentist.

"Different" can convey negative emotions rather than positive ones. So, if you are going to position your firm as different, please make sure you quickly make it clear why and how: and what that means to the customer. 

Often, if different just means the usual stuff but better, that's plenty different enough.

Accountants: how's your moat doing?

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