Building Your Brand
When it comes to financial advisor marketing, “branding” use to mean a good practice name, a nice practice logo, and a quality practice website.
While those brand components are still important, in today’s digital-driven world financial advisors have to differentiate themselves through a new set of approaches.
That doesn’t mean brand isn’t important to financial advisor marketing. In fact, your brand plays a bigger role today as savers can more easily research and compare your practice to your competitors’.
So, what does it take to develop - and maintain - a truly effective brand?
Creating a modern brand can take some new tactics. Yes, you still need a website and likely a logo, too. But let’s look into some next-level brand-building activity worthy of your time in the months ahead.
How to Create a Powerful Brand
First things first: What do we mean by brand?
Your brand is how people in the outside world - your prospects, your clients, your competitors - experience your practice. And it’s a key piece of financial advisor marketing.
The world of financial advice is largely built on brand. A good, effective brand must resonate with your prospective clients, instill trust, and create a positive, memorable impression. A brand helps a prospect say, “This is the advisor for me.” Or sometimes, “This advisor isn’t the right fit for my needs.”
First things first: It’s important to spend some time thinking about what qualities define you as a financial advisor. These qualities will make up the core of your brand. For example, the qualities that define me in my work are insightful, unique, actionable, and connective. Other advisors I know have included authoritative, helpful, caring, and trustworthy.
Once you know what qualities you’re trying to convey, you’re ready to establish ways to convey them through your financial advisor marketing. Here are five ways you can build a next-level brand for your practice.
#1 | Prioritize Personal Branding
Remember, people aren’t coming to you for financial advice; they’re coming to you for YOUR financial advice. Part of branding is creating a genuine and persuasive story around your passion as an advisor. Make sure you can articulate your journey, your passion for the job, and your daily “why” for helping savers.
And remember: your personal branding is just about accreditation and years in the industry. Prospective clients want to connect with you as a human. Don’t be afraid to showcase your life outside work, and the things that are important to you as a person. (Do you coach your daughter’s soccer team? Volunteer with highway clean up? Support disabled veterans? Prospective clients also want to know what drives you outside the office.)
#2 | Curate Educational Resources
The modern saver is knowledge-hungry. With unlimited access to the internet, Americans have plenty of ways to gather information. But savers want information they can trust - and that’s your opportunity to stand out.
Think of yourself as a curator of educational resources. Create a content hub where prospects and clients can learn about the financial and retirement topics that matter most. This hub can include blog posts, webinars, podcasts, and ebooks. (As a bonus, these resources can be a central part of your financial advisor marketing strategy - keep reading for some ideas.)
You might develop some of these resources yourself, find articles and resources through news publications, or utilize a content creator who specializes in retirement savings (shout out to my team at Stonewood, who develops resources like this educational brochure on how taxes can rise for retirees).
Why is content curation so important to your brand? Savers largely don’t want salespeople as their financial advice-givers. They want trusted experts. Content curation is one way you can develop yourself into an industry expert and a trusted resource. Besides, savers can’t make informed decisions without information. So, let’s get them the information they need.
Once you’ve created a content hub, you can push out those resources through your marketing channels, reminding prospects and clients alike that your practice is committed to their education.
#3 | Cultivate Niche Expertise
I live in a 100-year-old home. That comes with both joys (the ornate crown molding!) and headaches (the antiquated wiring!). So, when I was searching for a plumber recently, I chose one who specializes in older homes.
It’s the same for your practice. No financial advisor is the best financial advisor for EVERY type of saver. So, who do you most want as a client? Is it savers within ten years of retirement? Teachers or employees of a specific large employer? Entrepreneurs? Highlight your expertise as it pertains to this group.
Maybe you’re an expert in tax-efficient retirement plans for high-net-worth savers who are worried about taxes. Or maybe you like to help parents save for retirement AND for their kids’ college education. Specializing allows you to deeply understand the unique needs of a specific audience, and position yourself as the go-to expert.
#4 | Engage with Video Content
There’s no better way for prospects to get a sense of who you are - and what your practice is about - than through seeing you in action. Video can be an important part of your brand and overall financial advisor marketing strategy.
Video content is increasingly central to brand building as platforms like YouTube, and Vimeo make it easy to post content and research audiences. According to HubSpot research, about a third of YouTube viewers are age 45+, and over a quarter of all Baby Boomers say they discover new products on YouTube.
Video builds a deeper connection and can be a powerful tool to humanize your brand.
#5 | Solicit and Showcase Testimonials
Happy clients are your brand’s best ambassadors. So, make soliciting testimonials part of your client lifecycle process. (Just be sure you know any advertising restrictions your licensure may impose when it comes to using client testimonials.)
I know - asking for testimonials can be awkward, and it’s hard to coax a good soundbite from clients. So, keep a wireless mic handy in your office, and when a client has something nice to say, simply ask them if you can share their kind words with others considering your practice. Here’s one prompt I like to use: I’m talking to a prospect who’s on the fence about working with me. What would you tell her?
Here’s an example of a testimonial we received for Stonewood with this prompt:
Nothing adds authenticity to your brand like hearing someone else reinforce the experience you promise.
Creating - and cultivating - your brand takes time and attention. But an authentic and articulated brand makes the rest of your financial advisor marketing easier - from lead generation to client acquisition. After all, at its core, a brand’s job is to build trust. And as fantasy writer George MacDonald once quipped, “To be trusted is an even greater compliment than to be loved.”
How have you worked to develop and maintain your brand as an advisor?