“Your brand is what people say about you when you aren’t in the room.” This branding proverb, widely attributed to Jeff Bezos, is a turn on a familiar enough idea about reputation. So what steps can you take to create a brand that people trust?
Your brand is defined by a lot of different things. At its root, it’s the set of principles that guide how you communicate. That can be as all encompassing as creating a statement of your core values, or as specific as which typefaces to use where. But all of those pieces carry a lot of weight in crafting how people view you.
Wealth managers and financial advisors need to establish trust in all their relationships to be successful. Your clients are entrusting you with their financial well being, so they want to be certain that they can comfortably have faith in the brand they’re working with.
So how do you create a brand that people will trust? It starts with a few key decisions.
Define the Problem Your Brand (or Rebrand) Is Meant to Solve
Brands are valuable because they provide a product or service (or a combination of the two) that people need. The best brands know exactly what problem they’re solving for their customers, and how to communicate the value they offer.
Every financial services brand solves a set of industry wide problems. These are the table stakes for a brand to compete in the industry. Good brands also identify (and solve) unique problems. They could do this with a proprietary digital product, unique insight into a certain market, or the quality of your client service. It’s important to identify the unique problem your brand solves, and not let the shared problems you and your competitors all solve dominate your communication.
If you aren’t sure what unique problem your brand solves, it may be time to explore a brand refresh, or a full rebrand. It’s important to clearly outline problems there as well, before you start proposing solutions.
No matter why you’re rebranding, defining the exact problem it is addressing is a requirement if you want to effectively measure the project’s success. The more specific, the better. “Our logo is outdated” is a valid reason to reconsider your brand, though when it comes time to deem your project a success or failure, you’ll be left with nothing more than an opinion.
Establish Values, and Live Them
What are the things that your brand won’t compromise on? Which of those things are uniquely yours – things that distinguish the way you do business from your competitors?
If you have a clear answer to these questions, you probably already have well defined brand values, even if they aren’t written down somewhere. If you struggle to answer, you’re not alone. A lot of the time, brands’ values are obscured by their “everydayness”. It can be hard to put words to things that you do by default.
This is where a branding expert can be an incredibly valuable partner. Through research, interviews and workshops, they can help you put together the words that express what your brand stands for.
Once you know what your values are, it’s all about finding ways to live them, express them, and back them up. Building a positive reputation comes from really offering personalized investment service, not just saying that you do.
Invest in Quality Design
The first encounter that someone has with your brand is probably its name. But from there, they’re likely to start forming their assumptions about you based on the way you express your band visually. You’ve probably done this yourself, even if you don’t realize it.
The visual identity of a brand may start with a logo, but it extends well beyond that. It includes color schemes, typefaces, graphic elements, photography style, web design and more. Investing in well researched, high-quality, strategic expression of your brand has the potential to make a really impactful first impression.
For wealth management firms, there are certain things you want to avoid in your visual identity, depending on what sort of audience you’re targeting. If you work with inexperienced investors, they may be turned off by stoic, serious design, associating it with the barriers to entry for investment. On the other hand, unless you’re fully committed to a certain type of niche clientele, positioning yourself as too whimsical would also be a miss; you want to show that you take your clients’ finances seriously.
Whatever your choices in the design process, they need to be intentional. These decisions have far too big an impact to be left to chance. Investing in research and strategy will allow you to make decisions based on much more than your personal taste.
Time to reconsider your brand?