The Art of Storytelling from LINC 2016

There was a common thread throughout the recent TD Ameritrade Institutional National LINC 2016 conference ‘Storytelling’. The art of ‘storytelling’ is an effective way many RIA firms are finding success in truly differentiating themselves and communicating their unique services and benefits.

Short Stories that are Long on Inspiration

The general session opened with, Tom Nally, President of TD Ameritrade Institutional, introducing the Human Finance Project. This is collaborative effort between TD Ameritrade Institutional and RIAs to collect and share stories about what it really means to be a fiduciary advisor. A press release explained how, unlike a traditional marketing campaign, real advisors will play a leading role in both providing the content and serving as a distribution channel to get the word out about the benefits of working with an RIA.

If you’d like further proof of the power of storytelling, I suggest you check out StoryCorps , whose founder was one of the keynote speakers at the conference.

Reinventing the Definition of Marketing

Distinguishing one advisor website from another can often be difficult due to the use of stock photo and generic copy describing the benefits of working with RIAs. To provide help in this area, Joe Steuter with Peak Advisor Alliance gave an excellent presentation on ‘Modern Marketing to the HNW Investor’. The session focused on how advisors need to look beyond the surface of basic marketing materials, logos, visual identity, advertising and word of mouth and concentrate on what makes their firm memorable, such as the client experience, mission, values, and vision.

Practical steps that advisors can make with their digital marketing are found in ‘Two Secrets to Building a Memorable Advisor Brand’:

Secret #1: Apply the 4 elements of storytelling:

  • The Hook-set the stage.
  • Rising Insights-explain the challenge your audience faces and leverage emotion to appeal to them on a personal level.
  • A-HA!-present the solution.
  • Next Steps—provide a call-to-action so that your audience knows what to do next.
  • Secret #2: Reinvent your website:

  • ‘Kick’ the financial lingo.
  • Use language that connects.
  • Provide fillable web forms and incorporate interactive questionnaires/surveys.
  • Make it easier for visitors to move forward with action.
  • Community Minded – Doing Well by Doing

    Jennifer Hammond and Tara Valentino-Maher, with TD Ameritrade’s Public Affairs and Corporate Events Group, lead an interactive session exploring how ‘doing good in your community can benefit your business’. Audience members enthusiastically shared their experience on the topic. For example, one advisor who runs a Habitat for Humanity program finds it’s a great way to connect with next generation clients who volunteer each weekend to help build homes in their community. To be effective in the endeavor, Jennifer and Tara suggest you answer the following 3 questions:

    Find your motivation —what drives your employees and clients?

    Establish focused giving —what are the needs of your community?

    Share you story —what are the channels to communicate with your clients?

    The takeaways—

  • Be Authentic —A good first step is to determine ‘What’s the one thing you do better than anyone else? Also, make sure you speak about what you know, and don’t try to compete with or copy anyone else.
  • Leverage Technology —Whether you work with an outside consultant or manage efforts in-house, take the time to understand the technology options. HootSuite and TweetDeck can help manage your social media while Wordpress and Blogger are popular platforms for website and blogs.
  • Stay the Course —Consider enlisting the help of either an experienced copywriter to help craft the message for you or a consultant to assist with social media postings. Content marketing is a long term commitment, and, with time, is very effective in providing significant return on investment.
  • To learn more, visit the TD Ameritrade Institutional LINC 2016 conference website or on twitter #NationalLINC.