Financial firms face the challenge that most of their target audience assumes all firms are the same. Every firm claims their services are “forward thinking,” “professional” and “out of the box”—so how can one differentiate? Our answer: With creative, thoughtful and customer-driven branding.
Branding for financial firms is a critical component to gaining recognition. Without an established brand, how can you expect customers to trust your business? Here are components that make up a successful financial brand:
Understanding your market—but inciting interest
The design elements of a financial service are critical to attracting and retaining customers. With so many uninspiring corporate brands, it can be a challenge to stand out in the marketplace without coming off as that “different” firm with the “weird” logo. Instead of stressing over differentiation, ask yourself some of the following questions to determine your unique value proposition:
- Why do your loyal customers stay with you?
- What is the culture of your business?
- What are the top five adjectives used to describe your firm?
Professional online presence
With an established brand and logo under your belt, now it’s time to tackle that website. Most financial advisors leverage a network of business advisors and referrals for a regular stream of business. While this strategy will help garner some high quality client leads, it requires you to be constantly “meeting and greeting.” Also most people you meet will still check out your firm’s website before accepting a meeting. Instead of stacking your calendar with networking events, let a website do some of the work for you.
When creating a new website, here are some critical questions to ask yourself:
- Who is your ideal client?
- What are the main objectives you want to accomplish with web marketing efforts?
- What are the “actions” that the user should take when visiting your website?
Visually appealing collateral
While a website should take some of the focus off outbound marketing, that doesn’t mean all materials should only be digital. Support your sales and executive staff with well designed marketing collateral, such as services brochures, content marketing resources, capabilities take-away and business cards.
Compelling thought leadership
It is important specific advisors don’t outshine the larger parent brand, but that doesn’t mean a firm can’t allow leadership to establish personal connections with your clients. Determine what makes sense from a marketing perspective. For example, social media and blogging is often difficult for financial services due to industry regulation—but other tactics such as email marketing gives clients a regular interaction with your brand without the stresses of compliance.