Every day, marketers around the globe invest billions of dollars crafting messages for TV, radio, publications, the internet, and smart phones that will garner the attention of and incite action in target audiences. The goals are always the same: to build brand awareness, inspire new customers to purchase the product or service at hand, and to encourage existing customers to continue doing the same.How do they do it? Well besides high-quality content , top-performing brands recognize the value in consistency—consistency in both frequency and across brand identity . I would like you to take a moment here and do a little exercise with me. Think of a new(er) brand that you see commercials or hear radio ads for (I am not talking social media or internet ads because those are targeted specifically at you based on your online behavior, and that’s a whole different subject in itself).Now, think about the first time you heard of that brand. Did you laugh? Cry? Scoff? Did you ignore it? Ask Alexa to add it to your notes? I’m willing to bet you can’t even remember the first time you were exposed to the brand. Psychologically, we don’t tend to identify with a brand until we have repeatedly been exposed to it. According to Thomas Smith’s 1885 book, “Successful Advertising” (which is still informing marketing philosophy today), the consumer reaction to new advertisements commonly progresses as presented below:1. The first time a man looks at an advertisement, he does not see it.2. The second time, he does not notice it.3. The third time, he is conscious of its existence.4. The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it before.5. The fifth time, he reads it.6. The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.7. The seventh time, he reads it through and says, “Oh brother!”8. The eighth time, he says, “Here’s that confounded thing again!”9. The ninth time, he wonders if it amounts to anything.10. The tenth time, he asks his neighbor if he has tried it.11. The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.12. The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.13. The thirteenth time, he thinks perhaps it might be worth something.14. The fourteenth time, he remembers wanting such a thing a long time.15. The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.16. The sixteenth time, he thinks he will buy it some day.17. The seventeenth time, he makes a memorandum to buy it.18. The eighteenth time, he swears at his poverty.19. The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.20. The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys what it is offering.
Fundamentally, a brand’s relevancy increases with exposure. This process is known as building brand awareness
and the goal is for your audience to be able to catch just a glimpse of your ad or post and immediately recognize it as yours. We achieve this level of recognition by being consistent. Even 134 years ago, Smith recognized the power in consistent, repeated exposure and coined the term “ Effective Frequency
” to describe this behavioral trend.When it comes to consistency in financial advisor marketing, the aforementioned principles are just as applicable. Yet, I see advisors make these two egregious errors time and again:
Advisors post blogs and promote them on social media for a few months and either get too busy to keep up with them or give up because they haven’t increased their AUM by 3 million in the interim.
If there is one thing you take away from this article, it’s this: KEEP GOING
. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time and repeated exposure for ideas to take root.Related:Publishing relevant and pleasing information to interest our ideal clients may succeed atgainingtheir attention, but in order to “close the deal” on that client relationship, we’ve got to be able tomaintainit. In today’s fast-moving world, a brand that isn’t consistent is just as well forgotten and replaced by whoeverisout there staying on top of mind.So, even when the firm gets busy, or it feels like your efforts are all for naught, remember that like investments, marketing efforts compound over time
. If you commit to being in the game for the long-haul, you’ll eventually begin to realize exponential returns on the time and money you’re investing now.
Advisors confuse viewers by posting off-brand media and neglecting their niche.
Consistency is not only important when we speak about thefrequencyof your online presence, but also when it comes to maintaining a singular, unified brand
for consumers to be able to identify quickly.Have you ever worn a red shirt into Target? I have, and during that same visit I was approached by another patron inquiring about the whereabouts of that new, multi-purpose cleaning spray everyone was raving about on Instagram. Why did this happen? Because consumers know that Target employees wear red shirts. They expect that they will be able to locate an employee by searching for a red shirt. It’s part of Target’s brand identity.Without a unified brand identity, your audience has no mental way to group your posts together in their memory. They have no way to differentiate you from your competitor.You can publish new posts every 5 minutes if you want, but if you aren’t presenting a consistent image, you either (a) won’t be remembered or (b) will stress your audience out with your non-sequitur posts and perhaps even lose followers.In order to make a positive impact with your audience
and position yourself to be remembered by your ideal client, you need to present information and images that are on-par with your brand. Thread the colors of your firm’s logo throughout your images and infographics in order to visually link your posts together. It’s also important to keep thestyleof your posts consistent. If your firm’s publications and logo are on the simple, more Spartan side, you won’t want to post overly distracting or abstract images that feel out of place with the remainder of your newsfeed.Stay consistent with your niche
. For many advisors, the very idea of catering to a niche makes them feel as if they are limiting their prospect pool. As a result, they feel the need to publish posts that will be relevant to everyone under the sun. In reality, though, by posting information that is of interest toyour niche, you are presenting yourself as an expert in the field and positioning your firm for even greater success amongst that group. It’s far more efficacious to use targeted information to gain the attention of a few than it is to use “vanilla” information to gain the attention of the masses (hint: this is why segmented emails and advertisements outperform mass emails every time).So, the next time you feel like giving up on your blogs or social presence
, give yourself a pep talk and get back in the game. If you’ve faltered for a few weeks or months, that’s ok. We don’t quit baking the proverbial cake just because we dropped one egg on the floor. And before you hit “publish,” ask yourself: Is this post on-brand? Will it cater to my ideal client? Is it helpful or entertaining? Will this post or email add value?
Good luck! And remember, you don’t have to approach marketing alone. Many talented professionals like myself are available to help financial advisors bridge the gap between well-intentioned marketing plans and execution.