The firm wanted to announce the name change through
mailers and press releases but wanted to build awareness beyond
their typical market area, particularly in Calgary. One of the
predecessor Calgary firms involved in the merger had a small practice
with minimal name recognition in the public accounting field.
The city of Calgary has a population of approximately 1 million
people and has been experiencing significant growth over the past
few years. The goal of the firm was to take advantage of the strong
economic growth in the city and increase the size of the Calgary
Most new engagements for Catalyst are the result
of referrals, with a majority of them coming from existing clients.
"To assist clients and contacts in successfully referring
business to the firm, it was determined that we should work to
increase name awareness in the Calgary market," said Gehrke.
Catalyst worked with an advertising agency, TAG
(The Advertising Group), to create the award-winning advertising
campaign, which consisted of four concepts. The series of ads
ran in prominent business publications and was positioned to attract
the largest defined business readership. Stock islands, inside
back pages, and other solo-ad positions were chosen where positioning
and/or full color availability would enhance the creative impact
of the campaign.
The campaign headline ‘We’re serious
about accounting’ showed that Catalyst is experienced, dedicated,
and knowledgeable. "The accompanying visuals were created
with somewhat tongue-in-cheek references illustrating how committed
the employees and partners at Catalyst were to their field,"
One ad is what the firm lovingly refers to as
“the tattoo guy,” which features a man with a conservative
white shirt and necktie, but his crossed arms show accounting-themed
tattoos. "The biker accountant is not only professional,
but so passionate about accounting he’s had custom accounting-related
tattoos inscribed on his arms," said Gehrke.
The visuals work hand-in-hand with the firm’s
new positioning line ‘Innovative Approach. Practical Solutions.’
"The positioning line and creative treatments show that we
stand apart from our competitors, but still have all of the abilities
and talent to get the job done," said Gehrke. "We offer
something unique in a world of ‘sameness.’"
Another ad shows a man and a woman sleeping,
and a bubble over the man’s head shows that he is counting
sheep using formulas. A third ad has a sports-style trophy with
a calculator on top.
A fourth ad, showing a white board from a brainstorming
session with various name ideas scribbled on it, ran in the firm’s
High River office market because the firm wasn’t sure how
the other ads would be received in that more traditional environment.
"We weren’t sure how they would perceive the other
ads, which were more controversial," said Gehrke.
|The total cost for developing
the advertising campaign was $5,250 (Canadian).
The cost of advertising in the business publications was $17,107
Gehrke knew it would be hard to convince her
other partners of these nontraditional concepts. She says that
everyone eventually did recognize that if you are going to be
successful, you have to differentiate yourself. "Accountants
tend to want to say the standard, ‘we believe in quality
service, timely service, we’re professional,’”
said Gehrke. "Differentiation is not just about what you
think you are doing inside, but how you are portraying yourself
to people outside the firm."
Gehrke said that there were no specific measurement
criteria developed but that the return on investment will be seen
over time. The firm has had feedback from people who have seen
the ads and they are getting business in Calgary. "The fact
that they noticed them is important, considering the amount of
advertising that is overlooked by most people," she said.
Well, the six judges for the 2003 AAM-MAA awards
certainly didn’t overlook this advertising campaign. Out
of a record-breaking 136 entries, this creative project stood
out among some very impressive entries.