RSM McGladrey and McGladrey & Pullen have adopted a new brand identity as simply “McGladrey” and are launching the new brand in conjunction with a PGA golf tournament sponsorship.

The two firms, which operate as separate legal entities under an alternative practice structure, together rank as the fifth largest accounting firm in the U.S., according to Accounting Today’s list of the Top 100 Firms, with $1.46 billion in revenue. McGladrey & Pullen performs audit and attest services, while RSM McGladrey handles tax and consulting services. RSM McGladrey is also a subsidiary of H&R Block. Both firms are part of the RSM International network.

The two firms will now use a single brand name, “McGladrey,” but legally they will retain the McGladrey & Pullen and RSM McGladrey names.

“Think of it as a strong branding as opposed to a rebranding,” RSM McGladrey president and chief operating officer C.E. Andrews said in an interview. “RSM McGladrey and M&P still exist as legal entities and will continue to operate in that fashion as part of our structure. There’s no change to that, but we will operate under the umbrella of the brand name McGladrey. What we are doing is consolidating and unifying that brand in the marketplace, but there’s no change in our legal structure and what we believe is our excellent client service model.”

He wants to increase the awareness of his firm in the marketplace as the economy improves. “We’re launching this initiative as the economy starts to come out of the downturn into an upturn,” said Andrews.

McGladrey plans to promote the new brand through a series of ads on TV’s Golf Channel and sponsorships with golfers Zach Johnson, Chris DeMarco and Natalie Gulbis. The ads will feature a new slogan, “Experience the Power of Being Understood,” comparing the cooperative relationship between golfers and their caddies with accountants and their clients. “Our style is first we seek to understand the issue, and once it’s understood, we can bring the right resources, capabilities and talents to bear to solve the problem,” said Andrews.

DeMarco is helping promote the new brand with a charity event in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday to benefit the Special Olympics. He and various McGladrey executives will try to hit golf balls into a large cake designed to look like a putting green. Anybody who hits a hole in one will score a bigger donation to the Special Olympics.

Andrews noted that despite the rebranding, McGladrey’s relationship with both H&R Block and RSM International will not change. Last year, McGladrey & Pullen terminated its administrative services agreement with Block, and the two sides engaged in a round of lawsuits. Eventually, the M&P partners voted to accept a revised services agreement with Block that reunited them with RSM McGladrey (see McGladrey & Pullen Partners Vote to Reconcile with Block).

Andrews insisted that the relationship would remain intact with Block. “It gives us access to a corporate parent and partner that has resources and capabilities and capital to help us grow the business,” he said. “That makes us different from any other professional services firms.”

As for RSMI, he noted that McGladrey is the largest member of the international network, and that the firm had fully apprised RSM International of its plans before the identity change. “We gave them a fairly robust explanation of why it’s important to us to have this branding under this name,” he said, adding that raising market awareness of McGladrey would ultimately help the RSMI network grow as well.

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