Blog Detail

Strong Brand Positioning Is a Financial Advisor's Secret Weapon – How to Get Yours in Order  

by The Seven Team

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.

1. Interview 10 clients who fit your ideal prospect

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.

2. Build a 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?

  • Brand mission statement
    • Usually a sentence structured in a way that breaks down the goal of your service, how it helps your target audience, and why it helps them. It’s generally internally focused, meaning it’s something that is for you and is there help shape your (externally focused) value proposition.
  • Brand value proposition
    • This generally unpacks the what, who, and why of your mission statement more in-depth and in the eyes of the customer. Seven Group’s, for example, is: We help financial advisors create a marketing model that aims to drive growth, lower costs over time, and increase AUM. We build you a cohesive plan and give you the insights and tools that work for your practice.
    • The key is to breakdown your differentiating factors for your niche – be specific, be intentional as your value proposition often ends up on your website in some capacity.
  • Brand story
    • This section explains the history of your practice, why you started your firm, and what’s unique about your practice as it relates to your philosophy or team. This type of content often ends up on your About Us page. Talk about your story, bring your personal approach through to the forefront.
  • Brand values
    • 5-6 values that your company stands for, the non-negotiables. Values that you take into account when you hire, fire, and serve. Check out Seven’s values here.
  • Tone of voice
    • Tone of voice often gets overlooked but is important to document. Documenting how you want to come across in your content – are you more casual? Do you lead with a more data-oriented lens in your content? Are you technical? Just a few of the questions you can answer with your tone of voice section. This allows you to be consistent in all of your content and stay true to who you want to be as a practice.

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.

3. Update your website and all marketing assets and infuse your brand in your marketing content

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.

Bottom line

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.

 

  1. NAPA-net.org | Nationwide Retirement Institute survey, April 2020

site logo

Interested in learning more? Let's connect.