AAM-MAA Winner Spotlight: Adams Brown, Strategic Allies and CPAs

Illustration spotlighting AAM-MAA Winner Strategic Allies and CPAs||Illustration spotlighting AAM-MAA Winner Strategic Allies and CPAs

The Association for Accounting Marketing’s Marketing Achievement Awards recognizes outstanding achievements in accounting marketing. The AAM-MAAs are awarded to firms finding the best, most innovative ways to connect with their clients and prospects. The following AAM-MAA Winner Spotlight highlights Adams Brown, Strategic Allies and CPAs’ 2021 win of the Video and Multimedia with a budget below $9,999 award.

This AAM-MMA Winner spotlight interview is with Korby Boswell of Adams Brown, Strategic Allies and CPAs.

Firm HQ: Wichita, KS

Firm Locations: 12

Partners: 19

Last FYE Revenue: $30 million

AAM-MAA Winner Adams Brown, Strategic Allies and CPAs

What did you win your AAM-MAA for? Tell us about the project/initiative.

Branding: Integrated Branding Programs budget below $99,000

In 2020, Adams, Brown Beran & Ball, now Adams Brown, decided to rebrand. It’s an idea we kicked around for several years and finally decided to move it forward, for a couple of different reasons. We were moving to a different entity and ownership structure in addition to recognizing that our old brand was stale and not all that strong. Also worth adding, most people couldn’t say all four of our names, we found out in our brand research. A full rebrand, with a focus on who we are today and who we want to be in the future, is what we set our sights on.

What was the goal you were trying to accomplish?

We originally thought this was a logo refresh but paused after realizing that we needed research and data to guide what our name should be moving forward. The goal was to position the firm for who we are today and who we want to be in the future. Our goal is to be a Top 100 firm by 2024 and the rebrand feeds in nicely to that initiative. We knew we needed a name and brand that resonates well, embodies who we are and who we want to be, and communicates a promise to those we serve – across each of our market geographies and beyond.

What feedback did you receive from your intended audience?

Feedback have been positive. Some comments received from clients include:

  • “Classy new logo! The name fits well also!”
  • “Great presentation, one that brings ABBB to a new generation in this ever-changing world.”
  • “Congratulations. Wow. Really Wow. It looks fabulous, professional, and innovative. Very impressive and I think the name is perfect.”
  • We’ve been with you for 30+ years and always called you Adams Brown! Congratulations on the update. It has a more progressive feel to it.

Partners and Principals in many of our locations reached out to share how well they thought the rebranding went and how excited the staff is. A few of those comments include:

  • “Everyone is very happy with the outcome and I know you were a critical piece to our success. It’s great to have you as a part of our team!
  • “Great job to you and the whole team that put in so much due diligence in creating the new brand and worked so hard on the launch. The results are excellent. The launch party was outstanding and exactly what employees needed after this stressful and bizarre year.”
  • “A potential “of counsel” addition to our firm looked at our website before committing and wanted me to tell you that it was really well done and that the video on the name change is “top notch.”

Why was this project/initiative a success?

Taking the time to gather insights and data from clients, prospects, and employees was the smartest move we could’ve made. Without this background and insight, we wouldn’t be where we are today. In addition to research, the backing of our leadership team made this initiative a success.

Is there anyone else who lent a hand in this project/initiative you’d like to recognize?

I couldn’t have pulled this off without Katie Tolin. She’s incredible and really helped us bring all of the pieces together. Her knowledge from several other rebrands was an invaluable part of the process. We are incredibly thankful she was part of the team!

What one thing did you do as part of this project/initiative that other marketers should emulate?

Don’t be afraid to challenge your marketing agency. I’d guess we looked at 30 or 40 different logo options before narrowing down on what ended up being our logo now. Once we selected the direction, of course we had revisions. In every conversation with our agency, we pushed hard on the why behind each of the elements. Many of our conversations started with, “Tell us about the aspects of our brand research that made you land on this design.” It’s way easier to tell the story when there’s a story to tell!

What benefit has winning an AAM-MAA had on you, your team and/or your firm?

When I saw that we had won 2 AAM-MAAs during the Summit Awards Ceremony, I was on cloud 9. The awards validated on another level everything that we had poured so much energy into. Other than it felt nice, it was awesome to bring a national award back to the firm and share how we were in a category with other firms across the nation. It also validates that it isn’t just our internal marketing department that thinks the rebrand was top-notch. A panel of experts helps sell the story! An AAM-MAA helps paint the success story of dedicating the proper resources to large initiatives. I also plan to use this to make the case to grow our marketing team and resources.

What are you working on now?

I have a few different big projects in the works, but the most exciting one is a new website that we hope to launch in 2022.



Years in marketing = 6

Years in accounting marketing = 4

Number of counting firms worked for = 1

Describe yourself in a word or two = Organized & sarcastic

Favorite beverage? = Tea

Most unique thing ever eaten? = Monkey brain

If you could do another job for a day, what would it be? = Fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Where do you get inspiration? = My children, everything I do is for them.

What is your favorite quote? = “Every action of your life touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.” — Edwin Hubbel Chapin

What’s your favorite thing to do in Great Bend, KS? = Great Bend isn’t all that exciting, but my wife and I really enjoy spending time with our friend group and garage sale-ing and thrifting. We love a good bargain!

View more 2021 AAM-MMA Winner Spotlights here.

Be sure to attend the 2022 AAM-MMA Awards at this year’s Association for Accounting Marketing Summit on May 2, 2022 at 6:00 PM ET.

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About Katie Tolin

Katie Tolin is the president and chief growth guide at CPA Growth Guides. She’s a former in-house marketer having spent time at regional, super-regional and national accounting firms. Today she helps CPA firms drive top-line revenue and profitability through data-driven marketing strategies. She’s a past president of AAM, a former marketer of the year and was inducted into the Accounting Marketing Hall of Fame.

Welcome to CPA Growth Trends — your source for information, insights, tools and best practices to drive growth within an accounting firm.

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