Can a PKF be a brand, Part II

This can of worms is still opened.

Once again, Bruce Marcus has weighed in with another article on why branding for PKFs doesn’t add value to customers.

Read his “Does Branding Make Clients?” here.

I find his arguments incredibly compelling. All but a handful of PKFs have a “brand,” in the true sense of that word. Instead, they have reputations.

A brand, by definition, is a safe place for a customer to be, designed to command a price premium. Most branding campaigns in PKFs add no value to the customer, are not used for better pricing, and hence are not true brands.

I know this is controversial, but I think the empirical evidence is with Marcus. What do you think?


  1. I think this a question of definitions. (Isn’t it always!) I think that as you and Marcus are defining brand, you are correct.

    I think most small firms have an over developed sense of “brand.” Yes, they have customers who trust them, but this does not translate to true brand. I agree that all too many small firms worry about this too much.

    This is not to say that a PKF should not seek to have a consistent look and feel from a marketing perspective. I think customers do get a sense of security when a firm consistently delivers on a look with their Web site, deliverables including proposals and project documentation, presentations, and other external materials.

    What I am saying is a consistent experience for the customer is important even for a small firm, but I would not say that this is a brand as you are defining it.

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