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Stand Out In Your Industry With Strategy-Led Branding: Clover Accounting Case Study

HEY THERE!

I am Jess! Ottawa brand strategist and website designer helping ambitious service-based businesses grow with confidence through meaningful design. I'm the type of gal that use one too many exclamation mark in my emails and can only have one cup of coffee a day. Weird, I know. If you ever want to chat any thing biz, branding, or well - life, feel free to reach out!

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In industries with reputations of stagnancy and staleness, knowing how to stand out in your industry can feel frustrating and defeating. If you’re struggling to find ways to differentiate your business from a sea of competition, a revamp in branding and website design can be your key to helping you highlight your unique skills and experiences, unlocking the untapped potential of your brand in a stagnant and redundant market.

🍀 One of our latest clients, Clover Accounting is a beautiful example of how transforming your branding and website design with a tailored brand strategy leads to standing out in your industry, attracting like-minded clients, and shifting a business from “commodity” to “necessity”.

But how did she get there? And how can this incredible transformation happen for you too? Let’s find out. 

The Challenges Clover Was Facing

While accounting is an industry that doesn’t necessarily have a reputation for being the most exciting or glamorous, knowing your numbers is what differentiates between an expensive hobby and a profitable business.

When Denise, the founder of Clover Accounting (previously known as Ottawa Bookkeeping Solutions), and I first met to discuss the possibility of working together, she was in a place that so many business owners find themselves in: feeling the pressure of “survival of the fittest” if her brand didn’t stand out in her industry. 

While her business was doing well, she did notice the challenges and opportunities for changes that left her feeling the desire to uplevel her business and help set her apart from her competitors. 

👉🏼 Some of the “symptoms” that sparked making an informed decision of a full rebrand were:

  • DIY branding & website lacked personality and did not highlight the real essence of her unique skill set and vision for her business
  • Feeling boxed in with the services she offered
  • Clients in various industries who were just looking for one-off services and did not understand the value of long-term solutions
  • Desire to be wearing the CEO hat instead of being in the weeds
  • Blended in with many peers from her industry 

👉🏼 From her target audience’s perspective, the main challenges identified were:

  • Not knowing what they don’t know (ie. limited by financial jargon; therefore are not able to make informed business decisions using their numbers)
  • Feeling slightly intimidated and overwhelmed about finances (ie. lack of confidence and not wanting to ask dumb questions)
  • The lack of systems used which can cause inefficiency (ie. manual bookkeeping, platforms not optimized, etc.)

Business Naming: From Ottawa Bookkeeping Solutions to Clover Accounting

One of the biggest challenges Denise faced was feeling restricted by the services she offered and the perception her audience had for her business. The name “Ottawa Bookkeeping Solutions” limited her capacity to grow outside of bookkeeping services and signalled to prospective clients that she only takes care of the books when she’s capable of so much more.

In getting to know Denise’ impressive education, background, and expertise – we knew the new name had to encompass more than just one service, but be versatile and memorable enough to represent not only the vision for her business but also highlight what differentiates her in this industry. 

🍀 Why Clover Accounting?

  • We chose an untraditional yet refreshing name knowing it would stand out in the industry 
  • “Clover” represents the idea that finding an incredible team of financial advisors is “lucky”
  • Clover Accounting is a team of all-female accountants that is “rare” to find 
  • The four-leaf clover represents the brand’s core value of multi-dimensional problem-solving and collaboration 
Logo Design Comparison - How to Stand Out In The Industry

Brand Strategy: How To Stand Out In An Industry?

At the end of the day, it is the heart of a business that clients fall in love with, not the colors or the logo. Getting to the heart of Denise’s brand was essential in creating a brand that not only connected with her desired clientele and stood out in the industry, but aligned with her vision and values.

For those who are new here, my brand strategy process is broken down into three phases:

  1. Discovery, where we uncover the true essence of your brand (also known as your brand heart). Here, we take an objective lens at who you are as a business owner, who your industry peers are, and finally, your ideal customer
  2. Messaging, where we identify what makes your brand unique and multi-dimensional by uncovering your brand voice, personality, and positioning through strong messaging
  3. Expression, where we visually communicate and translate the strategy from phase one and two into cohesive visuals that tell the story

🍀 BRAND HEART

During the brand discovery phase, we uncovered the unique, lived experiences and passions that made her an incredible partner to other small businesses and an excellent accountant, such as:

  • Her decade-long experience working in the hospitality industry;
  • Her love for supporting local in her community, and;
  • Her desire for the next generation of women to be financially literate and self-assured.

In unraveling this, we knew we had to hone in and position her brand to cater to her strengths, background, and passion that’ll allow her to go from being “one of many” to the go-to choice as the accountant for hospitality and retail industries. At the same time, also emphasizing her vision for more family-owned businesses to succeed and thrive – for generations to come.

all women accounting team

Here’s how we summarized and communicated her brand’s purpose and objective:

👉🏼 Mission Statement: More than just an accounting firm, we consider ourselves to be the operational sidekick for family-owned hospitality and retail businesses. We provide personalized, forward-thinking business advisory solutions that help you improve efficiencies, reduce operational costs, and boost your bottom line all year round, so you have peace of mind to focus on running the business you love.

👉🏼 Tagline: Building Resilient Businesses TM

👉🏼 Core Values: Clover Accounting aims to:

  • Overcome gender bias and build a business that empowers
  • Be the operational sidekick for family-owned hospitality and retail businesses. 
  • Provide personalized, forward-thinking business advisory solutions. 
  • Encourage every business owner they work with to live an empowered life. 
  • Build honest relationships, collaborate to succeed, and educate to empower.

🍀 BRAND VOICE & PERSONALITY

Much like a human, a brand can be one-dimensional without a defined voice and personality. To connect Denise with her like-minded clientele, curating a brand voice that spoke to small business owners in the hospitality and retail industries was a non-negotiable way to form meaningful connections. 

Brand adjectives to establish brand personality to stand out in industry

In keeping her brand values and heart in mind, we crafted a distinct brand personality that not only attracted the right clients, but stood out in an industry that can feel cold, impersonal, intimating – not to mention, male-dominated

  • Crafting a light, relatable, approachable tone of voice that resonates, especially women and those in the hospitality & retail industry 
  • Balancing approachability with professionalism and knowledge 
  • Injecting personality, fun, and freshness in an industry that’s typically not “exciting” to talk about
  • Evoking a feeling of empowerment, collaboration, and innovation 
  • Ditching the industry jargon and sticking with approachable language that’s easy to understand
Website screenshot showcasing how an unique tone of voice can help stand out in the industry

Impactful Brand Identity Design

Now that we have laid the groundwork of the brand and in determining the fundamentals of knowing what we stand for, where the gaps are in the industry, who we want to attract, AND how the brand acts & sounds, it’s time to find a way to communicate the brand visually. This is where we begin conceptualizing various brand identity elements, from logo design, colour palettes, and typography to transform the foundations of Clover into an aesthetically beautiful and eye-catching brand in an industry of gray, navy, and spreadsheets. 

Fresh, innovative, and stimulating color palette to stand out in the industry as an accounting firm

🍀 Our Design Solution: 

  • A fresh, bright, and energetic color palette to evoke growth, transformation, and prosperity
  • The “V” symbolizes the way Clover will always go above and beyond for their clients to help them increase efficiency, profitability, and in turn, growth
  • The brand icon is a clover-inspired shape that is multidimensional, a nod to their collaborative, creative problem-solving approach
  • Abstract shapes & patterns to represent building blocks, similar to a puzzle, a “sum of all parts”

Overall, the branding is empowering, stimulating, and approachable – designed to strategically stand out and resonate with hospitality and retail industries.

Strategic Squarespace Website Design

With all the necessary building blocks to create an eye-catching, stand-out brand in the accounting industry, we begin strategizing a beautiful digital home for Clover Accounting on Squarespace. Ultimately, the goal was to create a navigation experience that makes visitors feel welcome, understood, and informed when outsourcing financial guidance for their small businesses.

🤝 We worked with the incredibly talented Steph Laffy Copywriting and Amarah Productions (previously known as Amy Jules Photography) to help bring this vision to life in a cohesive way.

  • We invested in professional brand photography that is impactful and personable, showcasing the culture of the team instead of stale, lifeless corporate headshots
  • We invested in a strategic copywriter that took our brand strategy to the next level in creating copy that’s effective, personable, and jargon-free
  • We positioned Clover as an authority and offering long-term, holistic solutions, in lieu of one-of, a la carte services
  • We elevated the client experience by automating their backend, while showcasing their expertise in specific tools and platforms that help them run their business effectively and efficiently
  • We intentionally selected images of small business owners on the website to showcase community and build rapport with like-minded local, family-owned businesses 

Results: The Return On Brand Investment

As a self-taught brand strategist and designer, it is always such an honour to be invited into the intimate parts of entrepreneurship. Not only is my goal to help my clients reach their potential, but more importantly – stay true to their identity and values while doing it. 

Since launching Clover Accounting’s rebrand, Denise has seen exponential growth in her business, not only in sales, but in opportunities and evolution as she steps into the CEO role of her business.

🍀 A few notable achievements that I JUST had to share about Clover Accounting since rebranding!!

  • Signed 2 new clients within 24 hours of launching and a 5-figure fee client within 4 months of launching
  • Facebook page reach increased by 228% within one week of launch
  • A monthly increase of +507%on the website and +685% of unique visitors
  • Pricing have increased over 50% and are booking dream clients exclusively in the restaurant/hospitality space due to the messaging and positioning on her website
  • Hired on an in-house advertising staff member and two experienced CPAs to her team 
  • In the works of sponsoring and offering mentorship support to a local girls/women group

🌟 In building Clover Accounting from the inside out, the business is no longer just “a commodity business” offering one service for any business owner, but a “necessity business” that offers holistic, long-term solutions for peace of mind, longevity, and business resiliency.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Kind words from Denise Hutchinson, CEO of Clover Accounting

“Jess takes you literally on a journey where you learn, create and design a website and brand that provide seamless continuity throughout all platforms and publications. I have been in business for almost 15 years but I always felt it as work but not a brand or company that stood on it’s own and had it’s own identity. Now I have that and more!!! Her design skills are stunning and she created layouts, templates and integrations that I didn’t even think of !! I am looking forward to working again with Jess on maintaining the website and brand !


Interested in working together to help your brand stand out in your industry and become the go-to choice? I’d love to help! Book a complimentary discovery call below to learn more!

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