What Makes A Great Financial Advisor Brand?

What Makes A Great Financial Advisor Brand?

What makes a great financial advisor brand? I’ve written in the past on the deplorable lack of branding in the financial space. This blog will feature one who does it right: social impact investment firm Vanderbilt Financial, headed up by Stephen Distante.  I’ll cover what financial advisors should emulate if they want to create a big brand for themselves.

Example of Great Financial Advisor Social Media

Take a look at Stephen Distante’s LinkedIn page if you want to see an example of impeccable branding. What I love about his presentation here is that he’s

  1. Setting himself apart
  2. Not using the typical financial advisor lingo
  3. Representing his brand with imagery.

So first of all, he’s got a great profile picture. The background image contains motivational language and you can see the principles that drive him. Not products, but principles. He includes both a functional title and a descriptive title under his name: CEO of Vanderbilt Financial Group & Chief Disruption Officer of Impact U. The term “disruptive” conveys that he’s challenging the status quo and creates curiosity in the mind of the reader. What is Impact U? What is he making an impact on? How is it disruptive? All of this is hooking the reader in and motivating us to read on.

Second of all, Distante has a great summary under his picture and title. This is something most financial advisors don’t bother with, or if they do it’s so full of industry jargon that it’s not even worth reading. He talks about his firm being “known as the Sustainable Broker-Dealer & RIA with a commitment to environmental & social sustainability through Impact Investments.” He’s throwing out some keywords that describe his investment style but also is defining what he is known for and the type of firm that he is.

In the next paragraph he mentions “I’m also the founder of an amazing culture” as he describes the company history. This is really important to do. Many companies forget that the people are the strongest components of any brand. He specifically lists out his company’s values, right then and there, and how these make his firm a “different kind of broker-dealer.”

So there you have it. In less than 10 seconds, Distante has distinguished himself in our eyes and provoked us to want to learn more. Masterfully done!

Other components of this LinkedIn profile that I like are how we has included his email and phone number at the bottom of his summary field. This is a great marketing tactic as he’s making it easy for the prospect to contact him. It seems obvious, but not everyone gets that. He’s also optimized his profile for the LinkedIn search engine by including keywords at the bottom of his profile.

Distante does a great job of utilizing LinkedIn’s blogging platform. He’s written an article about how he sees Millennials differently from other advisors “Millennial removed from Webster Dictionary. Replaced with…” Nicely done. The title is engaging, shows his passion for working with this cohort, and motivates the reader to click. He’s got 7 likes on this article which is a decent response rate.

Example of Great Financial Advisor Website

The firm’s attitude of service is exceptional and this also comes through on their website. Distante was moved to make Vanderbilt into something special after asking himself, “How do I make a difference in an industry that is so broken” decades ago. You can see in some many places that the firm mission reflects his passion for serving others and his true desire to help other people. On Vanderbilt’s website the imagery conveys real people who look sincerely happy.  The website is uniquely personalized with a letter from the CEO and videos that show the people of the firm and their clients in action. The videos are made with upbeat music showing positive news such as Distante discussing his building’s LEED Platinum status. Even the blog has great content that is truly helpful to his advisor teams.

Related: Advisors: 5 Tips for Getting a Blog Through Compliance

How can Financial Advisors Build their Brand?

The CEO of any firm, financial or otherwise, has a huge impact on the brand. This CEO has set the tone for his company by having a great LinkedIn profile and making an intentional effort to position himself and the firm as truly different through their website. Success online and offline results when branding is done this way.

Sara Grillo
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In a past life, I worked in finance in a variety of sales and marketing related roles, and hence hold the CFA® designation. With a BA in English from Harvard with honors and ... Click for full bio

China's Push Toward Excellence Delivers a Global Robotics Investment Opportunity

China's Push Toward Excellence Delivers a Global Robotics Investment Opportunity

Written by: Jeremie Capron

China is on a mission to change its reputation from a manufacturer of cheap, mass-produced goods to a world leader in high quality manufacturing. If that surprises you, you’re not the only one.

For decades, China has been synonymous with the word cheap. But times are changing, and much of that change is reliant on the adoption of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence, or RAAI (pronounced “ray”). For investors, this shift is driving a major opportunity to capture growth and returns rooted in China’s rapidly increasing demand for RAAI technologies.

You may have heard of ‘Made in China 2025,’ the strategy announced in 2015 by the central government aimed at remaking its industrial sector into a global leader in high-technology products and advanced manufacturing techniques. Unlike some public relations announcements, this one is much more than just a marketing tagline. Heavily subsidized by the Chinese government, the program is focused on generating major investments in automated manufacturing processes, also referred to as Industry 4.0 technologies, in an effort to drive a massive transformation across every sector of manufacturing. The program aims to overhaul the infrastructure of China’s manufacturing industry by not only driving down costs, but also—and perhaps most importantly—by improving the quality of everything it manufactures, from textiles to automobiles to electronic components.

Already, China has become what is arguably the most exciting robotics market in the world. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2016 alone, more than 87,000 robots were sold in the country, representing a year-over-year increase of 27%, according to the International Federation of Robotics. Last month’s World Robot Conference 2017 in Beijing brought together nearly 300 artificial intelligence (AI) specialists and representatives of over 150 robotics enterprises, making it one of the world’s largest robotics-focused conference in the world to date. That’s quite a transition for a country that wasn’t even on the map in the area of robotics only a decade ago.

As impressive as that may be, what’s even more exciting for anyone with an eye on the robotics industry is the fact that this growth represents only a tiny fraction of the potential for robotics penetration across China’s manufacturing facilities—and for investors in the companies that are delivering or are poised to deliver on the promise of RAAI-driven manufacturing advancements.

Despite its commitment to leverage the power of robotics, automation and AI to meet its aggressive ‘Made in China 2025’ goals, at the moment China has only 1 robot in place for every 250 manufacturing workers. Compare that to countries like Germany and Japan, where manufacturers utilize an average of one robot for every 30 human workers. Even if China were simply trying to catch up to other countries’ use of robotics, those numbers would signal immense near-term growth. But China is on a mission to do much more than achieve the status quo. The result? According to a recent report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), in 2019 as much as 40% of the worldwide market volume of industrial robots could be sold in China alone.

To understand how the country can support such grand growth, just take a look at where and why robotics is being applied today. While the automotive sector has historically been the largest buyer of robots, China’s strategy reaches far and wide to include a wide variety of future-oriented manufacturing processes and industries.

Related: Smooth Tomorrow's Market Volatility With a Smart Approach to Robotics & AI

Electronics is a key example. In fact, the electrical and electronics industry surpassed the automotive industry as the top buyer of robotics in 2016, with sales up 75% to almost 30,000 units. Assemblers such as Foxconn rely on thousands of workers to assemble today’s new iPhones. Until recently, the assembly of these highly delicate components required a level of human dexterity that robots simply could not match, as well as human vision to help ensure accuracy and quality. But recent advancements in robotics are changing all that. Industrial robots already have the ability to handle many of the miniature components in today’s smart phones. Very soon, these robots are expected to have the skills to bolster the human workforce, significantly increasing manufacturing capacity. Newer, more dexterous industrial robots are expected to significantly reduce human error during the assembly process of even the most fragile components, including the recently announced OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens that Samsung and Apple introduced on their latest mobile devices including the iPhone X. Advancements in computer vision are transforming how critical quality checks are performed on these and many other electronic devices. All of these innovations are coming together at just the right time for a country that is striving to create the world’s most advanced manufacturing climate.

Clearly, China’s trajectory in the area of RAAI is in hyper drive. For investors who are seeking a tool to leverage this opportunity in an intelligent and perhaps unexpected way, the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index may help. The ROBO Index already offers a vast exposure to China’s potential growth due to the depth and breadth of the robotics and automation supply chain. As China continues to improve its manufacturing processes to meet its 2025 initiative, every supplier across China’s far-reaching supply chains will benefit. Wherever they are located, suppliers of RAAI-related components—reduction gears, sensors, linear motion systems, controllers, and so much more—are bracing for spikes in demand as China pushes to turn its dream into a reality.

Today, around 13% of the revenues generated by the ROBO Global Index members are driven by China’s investments in robotics and automation. Tomorrow? It’s hard to say. But one thing is for certain: China’s commitment to improving the quality and cost-efficiency of its manufacturing facilities is showing no signs of slowing down—and its reliance on robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence is vital to its success.

Want all the details? Download the ROBO Global Investment Report - Summer Brings Best ROBO Earnings in Six Years or visit us here.

ROBO Global
Robotics and AI
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ROBO Global LLC is the creator of the ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index series, which provides comprehensive, transparent and diversified benchmarks representing the ... Click for full bio