3 things that are destroying your brand
What to stop and start right now
You don’t see it. And you can’t feel, smell, taste or touch it. But it’s there – lurking on your website. On your social media platforms. In your client letters. Brochures. You may even be delivering some of it yourself. It’s client repellent. It’s out there, and you’re the one responsible for it. You’re inadvertently saying and doing things that are causing your clients and prospects to pause and second guess if working with you is the right decision.
Your brand has its own identity. It should look, sound and make people feel a certain way. When something is out of place, it’s puzzling. It causes people to take a second look. What if you saw a baby boy speak with a man’s voice, or a dog meowing, or a police officer in uniform stealing… something’s not quite right, right? And you stop to assess the situation. This is no different for your brand, too. You can have the best of intentions, but if you don’t deliver a consistent and congruent visual and verbal experience, your prospective client is likely going to err on the side of caution and – spoiler alert – that’s not going to be with you.
Fight your own client repellent. Here are three things you’re likely doing that you need to stop RIGHT NOW!
A brand focused on what you like, and not your clients.
I get it. You’re a thrill seeker that likes to live on the wild side. However, if you cater to a retiring population, pictures of skydiving or snowboarding in the backcountry should not be used on your marketing materials. The last thing you want a prospective client to associate with your firm is risk. Even to a lesser extreme, pink may be your favorite color, but in most cases, it’s not going to resonate with your ideal “millionaire next door,” soon-to-be retiring prospect from the south.
DO: Identify images of what your ideal client likes to do, such as happy leisurely pictures of retirement travel, to communicate your brand. Or even illustrate the journey or path you will take them down – but do not get in your own way and associate your brand with risk or try to appeal to the social crowd you keep if they aren’t your ideal audience. Design your brand with your ideal client in mind, and no one else.
A brand that does not clearly communicate what you do.
Being mysterious might have been an effective strategy when you were searching for a spouse, but it’s not going to help you get clients today. Many advisors have been in business 10, 20 and even 30+ years, and the rules for branding pre-and early-digital, are far different than what they are today. Your prospects should never have to guess what you do as a business. If you can’t pass the “Little League Sponsor” test, meaning if your company logo was plastered all over a baseball field, would people clearly know what you do—then you need to evolve with the times.
DO: Consider a brand-lift. It happens to the best of us as we age. While you may have built brand equity, that won’t be lost if you update a little at a time. A brand needs a descriptive name to start, and if it’s not descriptive enough then add service categories. It needs an icon that’s contemporary and easily recognizable as part of your brand. It needs a tagline that is relevant to today’s economy and clientele. And ideally, a reflective URL. Those four components make a “brand.” Make them count!
Not training your team to ‘be the brand.’
Have you ever been to a service provider, such as doctor’s office, attorney or even your child’s favorite after-school activity only to be completely underwhelmed by the lack of organization and structure of the process and communication between the team that works there? You can have amazing marketing materials, but if your team does not abide by the brand standards you’ve put in place, there is a complete disconnect from who you ‘want to be’ to who you ‘are perceived to be.’ Don’t lose the ball in the red zone.
DO: Identify your brand all the way through to your desired client experience, and then document and communicate your expectations to your staff. Hold them accountable to “be the brand” in all they do. Make sure your team communicates and collaborates effectively, and that any disconnect from your desired brand image takes place back of house, not in front of your clients and prospects. Your team is a reflection of you and the business as a whole – customer service and the client experience is critical in the financial services industry. If you don’t deliver it, your competitor will.
Stop repelling. Start attracting. Tackle the obvious brand deterrents as quick as possible, and then get out of your own way. It will be amazing what you can accomplish when you’re not your clients and prospects cause for pause.
Need help? Check out our recent blog on “Getting to the Core of Your Company’s Brand” for more financial branding tips! We also offer custom consulting, a Marketing Optimization Review and brand development support. All it takes is a phone call to get started.
Alana Kohl, founder and president of AdvisorPR, is an accomplished publicist, published author, brand strategist and trusted marketing consultant to financial service professionals and the corporate companies that serve them. To learn more about implementing our custom branding services for your financial firm, give us a call at (866) 888-5333.