Verbal Identity System

Speaking the Mass Affluent Language

FIRM1040 case study

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Project details

Speaking the Mass Affluent Language

Brand Naming
Brand Story
Brand Strategy
Brand Voice & Tone
Carousel Writing
Creative Direction
Messaging Framework

Serving their community since 2006, FIRM1040® is shaping their clients’ financial lives for the better. They provide tax expertise to mass affluent clients so they can save enough for retirement.

An award-winning firm with national recognition, they’ve maintained a 90% retention rate for over 18 years thanks to providing outstanding service.

Industry - Accounting


Consumers see tax services as a commodity. Fueling this perception is the rise of DIY accounting software that diminishes the value accountants provide. As part of their rebranding, we aimed to position FIRM1040 in the wealth category and build a verbal identity that appeals to a sophisticated demographic.


We created a strategic position built around customer-centricity, conveyed through a robust verbal identity.


Accounting services are increasingly characterized by consumers prioritizing cost over value. They gravitate towards the most affordable options for their accounting needs and overlook the long-term financial benefits. Sensing the urgency to shift consumer perceptions, FIRM1040 embarked on a strategic journey to redefine their brand. They enlisted Kizkopop’s expertise with a clear objective: to reposition themselves in the marketplace and craft a distinctive brand identity that aligns with their value proposition and increases revenues.


After 16 years in business, FIRM1040 faced many challenges that threatened to undermine their value proposition. On the one hand, they grappled with an increasingly commoditized market where low-priced competitors diluted the perceived value of accounting services. This commoditization affected client perceptions and significantly threatened FIRM1040’s pricing strategy and overall profitability. Clients bombarded with DIY accounting software looked at tax and accounting services as a generic offering, making it difficult for FIRM1040 to stand out based on their professional service and expertise.

On the other hand, FIRM1040 faced employee retention challenges. Finding and keeping staff who aligned with the firm’s core values was a constant struggle. This issue was significant because the firm’s ability to deliver exceptional service and build personal, lasting relationships with clients hinged on the quality and stability of their team. In an industry where trust and professionalism are paramount, frequent staff turnover jeopardized the client relationships that FIRM1040 had worked hard to establish. To overcome these challenges, FIRM1040 recognized the need for a rebrand to create a new identity.


Our proprietary Six Thinking Pens™  wasn’t fully developed when we started this project, but here’s how our work fits into this process.

  • Clarity [The Blue Pen] - We started this project with a brand exploration to understand the brand, audience, and the problem we must solve. The exploration gave us insights into their competitors and what makes them attractive to prospective clients.
  • Research [The White Pen] - It took us six weeks to complete audience and competitor research. We used information from market research companies such as Nielsen and Raddon to get accurate consumer data. Our research identified a niche audience, the mass-affluent market, and we advised FIRM1040 to pivot their service offerings to that market’s needs.
  • Emotions [The Red Pen] - The mass-affluent consumer wants to build wealth into retirement. However, they needed help finding a financial partner who understood the tax implications relevant to the wealth segment. Consumers felt angry and disappointed with the current service offerings due to their lack of expertise, personalization, and professionalism. With this insight, we chose customer-centricity as part of FRIM1040’s proposition.
  • Creativity [The Green Pen] - Monotonous and stiff are how most consumers describe the financial services industry, so using distinctive and engaging language was crucial. To do this, we strategically used alliteration to create rhythm and improve brand recognition. Our goal was to transform the conventional narrative of financial services into something both captivating and relevant.
  • Objectivity [The Black Pen] - The financial services sector is often mired in specialized jargon and insider terminology, creating a comprehension barrier for the average consumer. Our initial inclination was to eliminate such jargon to enhance accessibility and understanding. However, we encountered pushback: our client emphasized the need to retain industry-specific terms as integral components of their verbal identity. Acknowledging this requirement, we adeptly navigated this constraint by simplifying the key communication elements. This strategic approach allowed us to maintain the client’s desired professional voice and tone while ensuring overall clarity.
  • Optimism [The Yellow Pen] - To reposition FIRM1040 in the marketplace, we focused on two pivotal values. First, the importance of pinpointing a niche audience: we could craft messages with greater precision and relevance by creating a specific audience profile. Second, carving out a distinct brand personality: a well-defined and relatable personality aligns closely with the aspirations and preferences of their target demographic. During our intensive brand strategy workshop, we saw that FIRM1040’s competitors lacked these key differentiators. By addressing these areas effectively, FIRM1040 would close these gaps and secure a substantial competitive edge in the marketplace.


We developed a powerful verbal identity system that speaks to a sophisticated audience and informs a visual identity, ensuring a cohesive brand message.


Since rebranding, FIRM1040 has increased their revenue by 65%, attracted million-dollar clients, and gained a return on their investment in the first year.

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“Kizkopop created our verbal identity as part of our rebrand. They created our naming (which we successfully trademarked), tagline, positioning, and brand voice. Since then, we’ve been able to attract our ideal audience and increase our annual revenue by 65% with a YOY growth of 7%. We’re happy with the results.”  - Cherie Williams | Owner, FIRM1040

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