Written by: Margaret Payne
It’s a noisy marketplace for those in the business of providing financial advice, so finding your voice and building your firm’s narrative is more important than ever. Have you stopped and asked yourself, “What’s my firm’s hook?” Answering this question is the first step in differentiating your business from the competition.
As you set out to define your firm’s narrative and make your mark on the industry, consider these strategies:
- Determine what qualities are unique to your firm and what services you excel at delivering. This is the essential building block for your firm’s narrative. One of my college professors always told me when in doubt, follow this rule: “Keep it simple, stupid.” Don’t overcomplicate things, stay true to what makes your firm better than the rest. Your firm’s mission statement is a great place to start. Evaluate your mission, keeping in mind today’s evolving marketplace, and determine the offerings that are exclusive, or why a potential client should choose your firm over the competitor. You want to position your company as the best, so you may need to refresh your brand personality to really stand out.
- Hone in on your audience. The first rule of successful communication: know your audience. Who are you trying to reach? At times, this may vary – for example, the majority of your clients are baby boomers, but you are starting to market more to millennials and need collateral that connects with both groups. How one generation communicates compared to the next may alter. This doesn’t mean you change your voice or narrative – it’s about crafting your communication to showcase what’s important to that particular audience.
- Finesse messaging. This is an ongoing process, but core messages should remain the same and be a foundation for all of your communications. Every time you communicate on behalf of your firm, the messaging needs to feel fresh – taking the current environment into consideration – while still tying back to what makes your story sing, your hook.
- Go beyond your own news for a hook to tell your story. Your firm launching a new product or service line is certainly news, but this doesn’t happen every day. Stay on top of current events and weave in your own hook appropriately. Have your CEO position himself as a thought leader by weighing in on industry issues and trends, and how the company is specially positioned; a great way to achieve this is via a blog. Some points to remember: Timeliness – capitalizing on recent news. Proximity – if it’s a local audience you’re targeting, how do you relate to them? Significance – who does this news affect and what is it saying?
Remember, you invite people in to learn your firm’s story by giving them a hook – a taste of what you are about – and a key ingredient for doing that is utilizing news and what is currently happening in the marketplace, while tying in your narrative to relevant audiences. The above strategies are just a starting point for learning how to identify and deliver your hook. With the ever-changing landscape of the media, digital communication and clients’ needs, these strategies will become more and more important to implement.
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