SUBSTANCE SELLS, GENERIC REPELS
Like it or not, your business is a brand. If you engage with other people, you have a “brand image” that’s being portrayed. And yes, even if your firm is small, it still projects a brand, too. If you don’t know what that brand is, you’re likely committing a rookie mistake—don’t brand on accident. Be purposeful and strategic and, most importantly, involved in how you are perceived by your clients and community.
When developing a brand, it’s essential that you get to the core of who you are and how you want to be recognized. Only when you’re clear on what sets you apart from the competition can your clients and prospects be clear as well.
Be thoughtful. Find your “why.” These are the core messages that work as the building blocks to your brand. A prospective client may choose to work with you because you’re committed to maintaining your education and are always on top of changing tax laws. Or, they may choose to work with you because you’re a holistic advisor who accounts for and coordinates all areas of their financial plan.
Regardless of what, pick three to five core messages and build your brand around them. When identifying your CORE messages, make sure they’re Compelling, Original, Reflective and Engaging.
ESTABLISHING YOUR CORE MESSAGES
C – COMPELLING
Your brand needs to be convincing—what expertise, service or process do you have that could improve your ideal prospects personal situation. What’s your “in business” story? Did you seek out independence to better serve your clients? Did you witness your elderly neighbors lose all their money in the markets? If it humanizes you, makes you likable and trustworthy—make that message part of your brand.
O – ORIGINAL
If you want an “off the shelf” brand, then you should consider working with a wirehouse. They’ve invested billions in giving you just that. However, if you’re committed to being an independent financial advisor, your brand needs to be unique and special to help you stand out. Why should a prospective client work with you over a multi-national, trillion-dollar, big-box brand? You have something they don’t—options. That can benefit your clients. Make some iteration of that message part of your brand.
R – REFLECTIVE
Your brand needs to connect to your ideal “who.” It needs to fit their needs, expectations and style. Teachers will have different concerns than doctors, and either would need to know why you’re the best fit for them. If your ideal client is retired, don’t use imagery of wakeboarders or analogies of mountain climbing. Talk the language of your ideal client, and eventually, you’ll get them to listen.
E – ENGAGING
Your brand should also work to engage people and move them to respond. For example, if you’re branded as a trusted IRA expert, offer a no obligation IRA review as part of the meeting process with you. You’re doing it anyways but branding it this way provides a tangible value whether or not they move forward. Everyone wants to know something about themselves! Providing personalization in the planning process makes you memorable.
Get to the core of who you are. If you tell your prospective clients what you want them to know about you, chances are they’ll remember. And if you tell them nothing, they’ll remember that too.
For more tips on how to build and maximize your brand equity, check out our past blog! Or for expert help crafting your perfect CORE messages, learn more about our branding services or contact us today to discuss getting started.
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