Branding: The process of creating a bespoke name and image for an organisation to implant in a consumer’s mind, mainly through advertising, with a fluid theme. The aim is to build a significant differentiated presence to attract and maintain loyal clients.
In layman’s terms, it’s all about reflecting a positive company image that’ll draw clients to you.
When it comes to branding, many financial professionals believe it’s all about the logo and possibly a catchy slogan, but there’s much more to it than that. In fact, branding is involved in everything you and your employees do – from answering the phone to advertising and posting updates on Twitter.
Client expectations do nothing but rise
It’s important when you start looking at branding that you consider the wider picture. In order for a financial services business to stand out today, you need to make a serious impact as client expectations do nothing but rise. One hard question that financial advisory firms should be asking today is: ‘How do we make our client experience special?’ It is important to think outside the box based on the clients’ needs. It’s not that difficult if you look at the problem holistically.
Branding is a continually evolving process
There’s no question that branding is a continually evolving process; however, the one thing that remains the same for a great financial services brand is what it stands for. The brand should differentiate you from everyone else. In a world of indifference, branding is becoming absolutely critical.
When you first begin to focus on branding, have at the back of your mind who you are as a company and where you’re going. You must have a clear message to communicate – to do this, research will be required.
Give an impression of your services
For many financial professionals, the first step is to create a logo which will give an impression of your services to all who see it, so it must be well designed. There is no reason to skimp on branding.
Social media is a great platform to establish a positive brand image, yet you must be intelligent with your use of it. Essentially it’s all about your company, who you are and your service proposition. It’s important to manage how you portray yourself, your company, your advisers and the behaviour of your employees – they are a great representation of your brand.
Ultimately, branding isn’t an isolated entity or a measurable addition to a company. In reality, it merely serves your company, encapsulating the essence of what’s on offer. Get it right and you’re onto a winner.
Top branding tips for financial services marketers
• Consider your branding to be a living process that requires constant nurturing for it to grow
• Be crystal clear from the offset as to who your clients are and what you can offer that others can’t. Once these two things are understood, stick to them
• Identify the most effective ways to communicate your client promise. If your marketing budget is non-existent, smart PR is a great way to get exposure and to generate word of mouth amongst clients
• It’s never been more important to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Don’t just say what you do – do what you say!
• Continually expand your knowledge of your clients, but don’t expect answers from them – only clues
• Remember: there will always be an emotional, sometimes irrational component in a client’s relationship with your brand. It can’t always be controlled, but understanding it will allow you to influence it
• Change is inevitable. Brands must evolve with the times, yet this mustn’t tempt you to abandon founding principles in favour of latest trends
• After the deepest recession, trust is in short supply. Brands with authenticity, responsibility and integrity will prosper
• With times still difficult and budgets still tight, focus is essential. Often we spend too much time coming up with answers and not enough on ensuring we’ve got the right question
Andrew Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Goldmine Media
Join now and receive Goldmine Media’s FREE email newsletter.
Sign up to Goldmine Media’s emails and receive FREE marketing guides, special offers and promotions.
Subscribers will receive our regular Goldmine Media email newsletter crammed with ideas to help you improve client communication, raise brand awareness, improve marketing efficiency, enhance client retention and increase sales.