Branding is the foundation of any successful financial firm yet many financial advisors lack this vital tool in their marketing tool chest. This is mistake 6 in my series on marketing mistakes advisors make.
Many advisory firm founders start out in wirehouses, which is perhaps the reason many don’t invest in a professional brand. The Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch advisors who go out on their own are accustomed to having a corporate brand in place, one that they are not able to influence.
So when these advisors go independent they may not place a high value on a creative brand and thus an opportunity is lost to strategically position their firm in the independent market space.
In the work I do with clients, they come to realize how important their brand is to the long-term success of their company because the brand sets the tone for everything marketing and service related. It’s a building block from which all things connected to the business will take shape
Unfortunately I’ve seen too many firms with the same or similar logo. There must have been a “sale” on generic logo shapes or perhaps the firm hired an inexperienced designer because they came in under budget. This is a big mistake and can lead to a poor first impression with your prospective clients.
Figuring out what branding means to your practice doesn’t have to be a complicated process. I’ve written about this topic many times before. You can read here about the many benefits of having a good financial planning brand.
What does having a good wealth management brand really mean, you ask? Good branding encompasses the following:
- The name you give your firm -I prefer that you not name the company after your own name so that you keep an eye to the future, when you’ll be selling your firm. It’s much easier for succession planning when your firm does NOT have your name.
- The tagline you use to accompany your firm name – Very often, a name doesn’t really tell prospective clients what you do or where you focus. I’ve said many times before that a good tagline “finishes off” the brand and helps to set the tone for the long-term benefits of hiring your firm.
- The colors you choose – You absolutely do not have to use blue. It’s overdone. There are so many wonderful creative color combinations that you can use to create an artistic feel for your firm.
- Your logo – There are many forms your mark can take from a typographic logo (words in an interesting font), to an all out intricate graphic shape that represents your firm’s values. My advice here is to hire the absolute best and most experienced designer you afford.
- The niche clients you serve – You can absolutely use your target market in your brand in several ways. You can use images that represent your market as a doorway in your website design. You can speak your brand via your 30-second elevator speech.
- Your office design – The way your office is decorated and designed is very important to your brand. Everything from the furniture in your waiting room to the artwork you hang on the walls factors into the warmth and welcoming feeling you should seek to present. Moving away from the adversarial boardroom to a relaxed living room can go a long way to establishing rapport with your clients.
Here’s the big takeaway:
Create a Brand for the Firm You Want to Be
Let’s say you are passionate about helping women avoid financial mistakes in their lives and you want to serve only women. Think about how you can do that now and five years in the future. Create a brand for the firm you will be after your transformation. In other words, act “as if” and build a plan to get there.
Determine your big vision first. Then review the above list and make action items for each area in your plan. Build a professional brand for your firm that will carry you into your ideal future.
Here are the other mistakes in this series: