Would you get a tattoo of your firm’s logo? The logo of the firm you own or work for? I’m not talking about a tattoo on your forehead or neck or butt. I’m talking about a tattoo in a normal place like your shoulder or ankle or just above your butt.
People get tattoos of company logos all the time. People get Harley-Davidson tattoos so often it’s boring. I mean if you’re going to have a midlife crisis, at least put some thought into it. But people also get tattoos of some real weirdo corporate stuff like the guy who got a tattoo of the KFC Double Down and the guy with the Walmart tramp stamp. I’m pretty sure the KFC one was a paid stunt, and I’m confident the Walmart one was joke (and as a joke, it’s the definition of being committed to a bit).
But my question at the top was serious. Apart from shameless promotional stunts and irony or religious restrictions, why don’t you get a tattoo of your firm’s logo? You’d be beyond stoked if you found out that someone got a tattoo of your logo. But why not you? Because if anyone should get a tattoo of a company logo, shouldn’t it be owners, partners, employees and other key stakeholders?
Here’s some reasons I can think of why you don’t want to do it:
“My firm’s logo looks dumb.” Then fix that right now. Stop reading this stupid post and fix your f****** logo.
“I’m worried my tattoo might be around longer than my firm.” Lame. People have tattoos of Einstein and Al Capone and Chris Farley. All those people are gone, but the symbolism of the tattoo endures. Maybe the real problem is that your firm isn’t creating lasting meaningfulness for anybody.
“My firm isn’t cool enough.” Boom. I think this is the big one. Figure out how you’re going to fix that. Now. You kind of have to.
Here’s some food for thought. Apart from irony and publicity, why do people get tattoos of company logos? I’ve identified three reasons.
1 – People want your brand to be their identity.
Harley-Davidson and Apple have been disciplined and consistent in building a clear brand, and the brands that they’ve established reflect qualities that people want to be true about themselves. I want to be a strong, independent, badass outlaw; so I get a Harley tattoo. I want to be a smart, cool, innovative, iconoclastic nerd; so I get an Apple tattoo. What’s your brand? Have you been disciplined and consistent in creating that image of your firm? But most of all, does your brand resonate deeply with your own personal identity — with who you’d like to be?
2 – People want to remember amazing experiences.
Disney creates experiences for people, and people want to relive the feelings those experiences created. Are you creating an experience for your customers that they want to relive? Do you transform your customers’ businesses and their lives? Do you create wealth and make people’s dreams come true? Do you bring peace and calm to the chaos and disorganization of your customers’ lives? People love to feel strong and valuable and peaceful and balanced. You and your firm need to be the reason they feel that way.
3 – People want to belong to a tribe.
CrossFit tattoos clearly communicate the message, “Hey! I do CrossFit.” One major reason people get tattoos is to signal their membership in a tribe. In today’s digital world, a true feeling of connection is hard to find. People want to belong. As accountants, our butts can get so puckered about client confidentiality that creating community might seem like an ethical violation. It’s not. Plus, we have no idea how to create community. A client appreciation pool party doesn’t create community. It creates awkwardness, discomfort, and confusion. Working together toward a shared goal, that creates community. This is uncharted territory, but if you figure it out, you win accounting.
If you don’t know where to start, start with yourself. Have your created a brand at your firm that resonates with YOU on an aspirational level, on an almost spiritual level? Does YOUR experience at work make YOU feel powerful and centered? Are your employees and clients YOUR tribe? If you’re hitting all those notes in an authentic way, the ink will start flowing.
Also, the Arthur Andersen tattoo on my inner thigh is ironic.
Greg was born in Akron, Ohio, in the shadow of the Firestone tire factory. He began to swim competitively when he was eight, swimming for the Mountlake Terrace Lemmings. He graduated in 1995 from the University of Washington with a math degree. He chose math for the ladies. After serving ten-years as an 8th grade math teacher, he decided it was time for a career change, mainly because he “couldn’t stand those little bastards.” He began his accounting career with a local CPA firm in Orem, Utah, where he consistently failed the QuickBooks ProAdvisor advanced certification exam. Greg currently works as the Controller for the Utah Valley Physicians Plaza. He lives in Utah, but manages to make it to Greenville, SC once a year to emcee Deeper Weekend. He enjoys eating maple bars, drinking Diet Pepsi, and swearing.