When you look at the sea of financial consultants and advisors and their branding, the first thing you notice is how uninteresting and dated their branding is. I am not sure why but conservative fields such as finance always seem to have brands that are so boring you strive to suppress a yawn!
If you are a financial consultant or advisor, financial planner, investment advisor or wealth manager, I believe that what you do is a fundamental service to our society. I am bad at finance and do not how to manage my finances. If it were not for my financial advisor, I do not know what I would have done. When you providing a service with such great value, it is only fair that you represent your business with the right kind of branding. Don’t worry, this is not a sales pitch. I want to share with you a blueprint for building the right kind of brand for your financial service.
Having the right kind of branding is not just about the visual language. It goes beyond aesthetics. To build trust with your potential clients, you have invest time, effort and money to create the right kind of image. In this article, I will outline the most critical elements and steps on your journey to a robust and trustworthy brand.
YOUR BRAND NAME
Start with your company name. If you are an independent advisor or even if you are affiliated with a larger organisation, your company name is a critical element of your brand. Typically independent advisors prefer to name their companies after themselves. This usually works very well. However, it is not a given or a default option. Although you are the one providing the service directly to your clients (or perhaps with a small team helping you out at the back end), you have to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of using your name for the company.
This advice may go against the norm since most of the financial power houses are surnames of people. But that is the way of the past. The financial advisory landscape is quite saturated and cluttered now. A client of ours, Ryan Fitzgibbon, calls his company Fitzgibbon Investments Ltd., and this works great because of the uniqueness of the name as well as the history associated with the Fitzgibbon family and the coat of arms etc.
Another client’s company was called Andrew Jackson Wealth Advisors before they came to SpellBrand. After some reflecting, I advised the client to change their name along with the rebranding they came to us for. I felt that the name was not special enough and perhaps would not mean anything to their prospects or clients. In fact some names may not be suitable to the finance market. We worked with the client to come up with “Guardian Wealth Management” which actually spoke to their target market better communicating their speciality – risk management (guarding wealth).
Most often the marketing pitches of most financial consultants is bland and lifeless. It goes something like this:
“My name is Andrew and I’m a financial advisor with Andrew Jackson Wealth Advisors. I help people with their investing needs. If you need help with your finances, talk to me.”
Is that interesting? Why should I care? Why should I trust you to manage my hard earned money? What is so special about you?
None of these and more questions are answered by the position statement above. Andrew did think about how he should position himself and his company compared to the competition. He felt that pitching a simple straight forward idea was sufficient. It is not. You will have to work out what is different about you and your service or company:
Is your education of note?
Do you have a unique process, strategy or methodology? If not, then why not?
Do you have any special experience that you can incorporate into your brand story?
Do you specialize in a specific client niche?
YOUR UNIQUE FINANCIAL STRATEGY
This is a real winner. If you don’t already have one, you should spend time and effort in coming up with a strategy or process of investment or financial advice that you can brand as your own and be your differentiator. If you already have a unique process then make sure you incorporate that into your branding and marketing language.
People like to work with experts and the best way to show you are an expert is to have a strategy or methodology that you have created from years of experience and success with your clients. You may not know that you have this unique process and have been using it all the time. You just need to recognize it, give it a name, formalize it and incorporate it into your marketing pitches.
YOUR BRAND IDENTITY
Ok now we come to the visual language of your brand. Needless to say, you need an impactful logo and identity that are recognizable and powerful. Although you are in a conservative industry, due to the saturation of the market space, you have to stand out and the best way to do so is with a creative logo and identity.
I am not advocating bold, brash and loud identity – although, depending on your buyer personas and target market, that may not be so bad – but rather an identity that pushes the envelope and goes beyond the usual simple type treatment or bland text based logos.
Work with a professional who can not only create the right logo but also comes with an identity that ties together a unique color that you can own, a custom font type that screams “bespoke” and elegance that matches your industry expectations. Ensure you invest in high quality and premium stationery items such as business cards and letterheads. Do not go for the cheap online business card companies that give you a 1000 cards for $20. Instead seek out custom and bespoke card printers and get embossed or premium bound cards.
YOUR CUSTOM WEBSITE
Most times I visit a financial advisor’s website, tears well up in my eyes. The site designs are so bad, dated and dull. For god sake!! When you are charging your customers hundreds or thousands for your services, why don’t you invest in a decent website? What image are you presenting your prospects with your website that looks like it was designed and build in 1990?
The average consumer these days expects a high level of website design and experience because they are constantly exposed to the awesome design driven social media and big brand websites.
Invest in a website that not only looks stunning but also has the right kind of funnel and lead generation capabilities. You would be surprised at how many financial advisors do not consider their website to be a lead generator. They believe their website is just an online brochure in case some one wants to check up on them.
Nothing can be farther from the truth! 9 times out of 10, you can be assured your prospects will check out your website. In fact a lot more will be discovering your through your website and you must strive to ensure you get discovered through your website and then convert your website visitors into leads.
If you do not want to do this, you are leaving money on the table. As simple as that!
YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY
Once you have your brand identity and custom website ready, you would need to plan your marketing strategy. Content marketing in conjunction with inbound marketing is the best way to go about it.
Create content on your website suitable for your buyer personas and share using social media. Attract the right kind of people to your website by sharing valuable information. Create blog posts or ebooks on tips and strategies for managing finances. Write about topics that your buyer personas are looking for. When your site visitors come to your site and convert into leads by downloading your ebooks or white papers, you can then nurture them into becoming customers by building trust and becoming their trusted advisor.
Traditional methods of interruptive marketing are becoming ineffective. While all you competitors are using the same old methods and throwing good money after bad forms of marketing, this is your chance to depart from that path and jump on the content marketing path. You will surely reap the rewards.
Like I said at the beginning of this article, I just outlined the critical elements of building your brand. I have inserted links to various other articles that I have written on each of these topics where you can find detailed information and advice. However, if you need to reach out to me with any questions or doubts, then please email me from our contact page.