New: Joint presence, masterbrand and logo
Launched: June 3, 2010
Story in brief:
McGladrey is actually two companies, united by a
partnership agreement – RSM
McGladrey, a subsidiary of H&R Block, and partner-owned
McGladrey & Pullen. H&R Block describes RSM McGladrey as "a
professional services firm consulting mid-size organizations.
The company offers wealth management, retirement resources,
business and tax consulting, investment banking, and
international business services." (The RSM in its name
indicates its membership in RSM International, a network of
independent accounting firms in which it is the U.S.
Essentially, the new McGladrey brand expresses the two firms'
December, 2009 agreement to join in "an alternative practice
structure." Combined, they are the fifth largest U.S. provider of
accounting, tax and consulting services, a competitor to the likes
of Price Waterhouse and Accenture.
"We were our industry's best-kept secret" said Mark Audino,
consultant to RSM McGladrey, who came on board just six months ago as
Chief Marketing Officer. "It was like owning a Ferrari stuck in
The rebranding was therefore designed to make "McGladrey"
unmistakably visible, expressing its joint presence as a significant
player. FutureBrand provided the symbol-dominant logo, designing the
symbol to be distinctive but purely abstract (or does it evoke a
landscape, perhaps a golf course?). (Internally, it's been called
"the Rothko bars.") Kass Uehling later refined the mark
(notably the color palette) and designed the application system.
To further express its "big leagues" positioning, McGladrey has
plunged into pro golf. Phil Mickelson wears a KPMG logo, and
Accenture has (or had) Tiger – Team
McGladrey has Davis Love III, Chris DiMarco, Natalie Gulbis and Zach
Johnson, and The McGladrey Classic tournament will tee off in
As it happens, the full-page Wall Street Journal ad
that launched this new identity on Tuesday, June 3rd featured golfer
Zach Johnson. Mark Audino told us he had bought the space just the
previous Friday; then on Sunday, in dramatic style Zach won The
Colonial tournament. Some branders are just plain lucky.
Update: Further extending its new brand, on June 21
McGladrey announced a new name, The McGladrey Alliance, for what was
The RSM McGladrey Network, an affiliation of over 90 independently
owned, named and managed accounting and consulting firms. "The new
name and McGladrey logo will help them communicate their affiliation
with McGladrey and capitalize on the power of association with a
premiere assurance, tax and consulting provider."
C.E.O. - C. E. Andrews, COO of RSM McGladrey
(subject to confirmation; see Other Comments))
C.M.O. - Mark Audino
Identity design - concept by FutureBrand, refined and
implemented by Kass Uehling
Strategy: Assuming the two firms present
themselves to customers seamlessly, leveraging their communications
for critical mass and greater presence via a common brand makes good
Design: Functional, and not unappealing. But
for me, curiously flat (and perhaps overly dependent on color for
its appeal). Surely there could be a bigger idea here?
From a Truth In Branding perspective, this one is challenging. If "brand" has any
fundamental meaning, it
is as "the mark, on a product or entity, that indicates
acceptance of responsibility by its owners for its performance,
quality, safety and value." Can two legally separate,
independently led firms truly own responsibility for each
other's performance? Or is their common branding necessarily a
disclosure that their legal separation is actually cosmetic, that
in fact an identifiable leader is managing to a single vision?
Furthermore in this instance who owns the vision
– is it McGladrey's COO C.E.
Andrews, or is it more truly H&R Block's
CEO Russ Smyth? Given the dynamic complexity of these
several institutional relationships, this would seem to be an
inherently unstable identity, seeking stability through
branding. If reality follows, it just might work. T Spaeth
Another comment: The June 3 launch ad
successfully conveyed a sense of the advertiser's
importance, but failed to acknowledge that its unfamiliarity to
most of us might be explained, at least in part, by the fact
that the advertiser's signature was a completely new one. That's
a missed opportunity, in my opinion, to express pride and
confidence in the new brand, as well as to engage our attention.
Did anyone notice that the logo is similar to
the DAI 'flag' symbol?
Corporate Brand Matrix ratings:
structural, 70% strategic, 25% functional (est.)
who are each members of 'the sixth largest global network,'
CMO Mark Audino
(A nation-development firm)