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Grant Thornton’s Status Go campaign channels agility to amplify its edge

Images that power forward motion over holding back, drive a new campaign from Grant Thornton

Accountancy practices and professional services firms may not be always noted for their quirky, thought-provoking advertising but a new campaign from Grant Thornton could change all that. Entitled, Status Go, the new campaign features a series of striking hybrid images of a sheep and a horse, a jet aircraft and an anchor, and an onion and a target, each conveying the message that one element holds you back while the other drives you forward.

Status Go is a neat play on status quo and the campaign aims to highlight the perils associated with the latter. For many people and businesses, sticking to the status quo and the conventional way of doing things, can seem to be the safe option. But it can be anything but.

Indeed, according to the Grant Thornton ad, “Status quo is a dangerous thing, it leads to atrophy in the living, rust in machines, and for companies it’s the number one killer of progress. Why do we continue to place our trust in the status quo? Why do we stick to the same old way of doing things? We believe status quo has the business world spinning its wheels which is why, at Grant Thornton, we do whatever it takes to move our clients forward.”

“When it comes to business, there is a lot that holds us back, especially settling for the conventional status quo ‘we always do it this way’ attitude,” says Grant Thornton marketing and business development director, Ciara Bourke. “At Grant Thornton we pride ourselves on doing things differently. We have the talent, expertise and the tools to break away from the status quo and to drive our clients’ businesses further, with a different client experience. We call it Status Go.”

Bourke explains that the new campaign arose out of detailed research carried out with clients, as well as internally, and with other stakeholders. “This was part of a brand and culture audit we were carrying out. We identified the pain points experienced by clients when they were looking for professional services firms and we looked at Grant Thornton’s strengths in that regard.

The feedback has been tremendous. People love the ads for their quirkiness

“The results and feedback confirmed our belief that we do things differently and highlighted what’s important to them when making a decision on their future advisor,” she adds. “They don’t want to have to go through layers of bureaucracy to get to the person the need to speak to. They are looking for agility, flexibility, and a capacity for thinking outside the box. They want an advisor who is collaborative, who looks at their business holistically and adopts a consultative approach – that’s what Grant Thornton does already, so we decided to highlight that.”

Of course, Grant Thornton’s clients and staff already know this. The aim of the campaign is to get the message out to a wider audience. “We felt it was important to tell our story in a distinctive and interesting way to that audience,” says Bourke. “The Status Go theme focuses on images portraying opposites such as what holds you back versus what moves you forward, what has layers as opposed to what’s directly to the point.”

The campaign has already been running successfully in the US and Grant Thornton Ireland worked with the American agency Gyro to adapt it for this country. “We worked with them to see what elements could work for us here in Ireland,” she says. “We looked at the campaign and the narrative and took the parts most relevant to us.”

The immediate goal was to stand out. “Everyone says they are different,” Bourke notes. “But people need to know exactly how we are different. We wanted to get across the message that with us it’s about agility, fresh thinking, and a laser-like focus on the client’s needs.”

As a firm Grant Thornton is always moving forward, building on what's come before

The campaign chimes well with the firm’s Less That, More This graduate recruitment campaign, which also highlights what Grant Thornton does differently. “We are about collaboration, teamwork, mentoring, trusting people, guiding them and helping them,” she says. “That was a very successful campaign for us and the Status Go campaign is following up on that.”

The campaign was launched in conjunction with the first anniversary of Grant Thornton’s sponsorship of the Dublin Airport security Fast Track facility towards the end of May when it ran for a number of weeks in the airport and in national print and broadcast media as well as online.

“We will be running the advertisements periodically between now and the end of the year,” says Bourke. “The feedback has been tremendous. People love the ads for their quirkiness and how they point out the differences between Grant Thornton and other firms. The profession as a whole has a tendency to be seen as slow-moving and conservative. At Grant Thornton we embrace and celebrate difference. We help our clients move forward, we don’t hold them back.”

The firm ran an internal competition asking staff for their feedback on what Status Go meant to them. The winner was Wayne Talbot of the IT department in the Dublin office, who said: “Status Go to me means that as a firm Grant Thornton is always moving forward, building on what’s come before. Utilising a firm-wide multifaceted skill set, allowing staff to work in a healthy and culture-driven environment which gives it an edge over every other professional services firm. Not afraid to embrace change and look at issues and problems from a new angle. Innovative, always adapting and striving to be better.”

Welcome to Status Go.

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