Thomas Dalton CPA is a small accounting firm that was a mother and son shop serving a broad client base in central Jersey. After an unfortunate loss, Thom had to take full control of the company. Through a series of discussions, the decision was made to invest in a rebrand of the company and initiate a more proactive and broader marketing effort. Most of their clients come through referral, but as they market broadly they become directly competitive with the large franchise accounting firms. We needed to differentiate their offering and wanted to focus on the tangibility of working with Thom, and his team, and the difference between fast-processing and personal attention.
Design Made’s chief designer has known Thom since they were in middle school and had actually taught Thom how to surf. We leveraged his personal relationship with him during our brainstorm sessions and honed in on the surfing aspect. Thom continues to surf and the area they serve includes the Jersey shore. The idea of using surfing and beach imagery for the communications in place of the common stock images with people in meetings at their kitchen table was decided to be a big asset and differentiator. It had stickiness—the surfing accountant.
Our team built a complete new visual identity that focused on the culture of surfing. We chose a color palette that was rooted in accounting collateral, but with a fresh take. We also developed a series of wave-inspired patterns that were used to mimic the financial patterning common to accounting collateral.
For messaging, we focused on the preparedness necessary for surfing—you don’t simply hop on a board and go out into the ocean unless you know what you’re doing; and how the ocean is not predictable, like life, and you always need to ready for the unexpected. Surfing provided a perfect parallel for managing one’s finances, and allowed us to establish a direct relationship between Thom, the surfing accountant, and managing his client’s finances.