Over the past six months, we’ve performed more than 20 brand positioning audits – how advisors talk about their practice, how they dive into their services, how they educate their target audience, and how it all comes through in their marketing.
One major learning that has come from the audits – there is way too much generic brand positioning in the financial advisor space. Because advisors often build their practices via referrals or centers of influence, a strong brand driving marketing efforts hasn’t been the focus for many advisors.
The pandemic has changed that. Investors are spending more time online, and 52% of investors say that COVID-19 made them realize that they need help managing their finances. A full 25% are engaging a financial advisor as a direct result of the pandemic.1
As financial advisors focus more on marketing, it can be difficult trying to define your brand positioning. You’re selling a non-tangible product – meaning, the investor can’t always see the value or return on investment right away – so figuring out how to position yourself, your services, and the value in a way the investor can understand and connect with is not an easy exercise.
How do you build a clear brand identity that can be applied to all your marketing? We cover the 3 steps to take.
Before you build any brand positioning, you have to figure out how your ideal prospect views the value you can bring to the table. Additionally, you have to figure how you fit into someone’s everyday life. This is the most important step to determining brand positioning – identifying where you fit within the investor’s mind and determining their biggest ongoing questions around their finances and the emotional connection to them. This allows you to avoid guessing as you build your brand positioning. It allows you to root your brand in real responses, from real people.
What to do: Identify 10 clients who fit your ideal prospect criteria. Setup 30-60-minute conversations with them to discuss the below questions. Document and synthesize the biggest themes coming across the six categories. This will shape your brand positioning document.
A brand positioning document is often interchangeable with brand guidelines and/or brand messaging. This document needs to be created for two primary reasons: 1. So you can get clear, on paper, the position your brand takes in the marketplace and 2. So you can reference it consistently as you build content, update your website, etc… It may seem like overkill creating this, but it goes a long way as you continue to create content. This document feeds all of your assets – your website messaging, brochures, presentations, bios on your social channels, and more.
What should this document include?
What do to: Take some time to create this document and test it with your team and clients. See how it resonates with your audience – if things seem to cut through the noise and help clarify your services or if they still come across confusing or generic.
Once you’ve built your brand positioning document, it’s time to update all of your marketing assets – most importantly your website. Everything from your home page, to your about us page, to each new blog post you create – ensure that your newfound brand messaging makes its way into your marketing assets. The focus here is consistency – to ensure you’re consistent across all marketing channels. Investors research financial advisors in multiple places now – Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other – so what your website says, your other channels and assets should say. Customer experience is about getting the same experience no matter where someone finds you.
What to do: Start with your website, go page by page, and update each using the brand document as inspiration for the content. While you won’t take everything verbatim from these documents, you should use them as foundation to build, create, and operate.
As investment management products and strategies continue to become more commoditized, as a financial advisor, developing your niche and how you talk about what you offer is a true differentiator in the space. Clarifying your what, why, and how can ultimately take your practice to another level of service offering – which will fuel client acquisition.