Have you thought about your brand?

By Kaavya Dijendranath

Updated on Friday, 7 October, 2016

Have you thought about your brand?

What do Uber, AirBnb and Netflix have in common? Valued at $66 billion and $30 billion respectively, Uber and AirBnb are the world’s largest taxi and accommodation service albeit not owning a single vehicle or property. Similarly, valued at $42 billion, the content distribution service Netflix only recently started producing content yet is worth nearly as much as big production houses such as Time Warner and Century Fox. These brand valuations are thanks to the rise of the sharing economy within the service industries -  causing significant change in consumer expectations, attitudes and behaviour. There is immense dependence on the ‘brand’ to stand for something and provide the promise of a level of service. Unlike product brands that can provide something tangible; what most professional services organisations sell, including financial advisers, is often intangible before point of sale and the benefits cannot be fully “experienced” until after purchase. 

Independent financial advice and brand building

Professional services like investment advice and financial planning are sold on reputation and trust, and a strong brand establishes these qualities in the minds of prospects. For this reason, brand building is critical to building business value and standing out in a crowded market place.

So how do you start to use your personal and firm’s brand to epitomise what you stand for as a financial advice firm?

Post the introduction of the RDR, IFAs across the country have worked very hard with the FCA to upskill and improve professionalism within the industry. But is this professionalism being systematically and consistently communicated to the end investor?

In developing any brand, each touchpoint or communication point with the client becomes crucial in conveying the right message. For the IFA this would mean at prospect and client meetings and all the communications you send clients, in whatever form they take. At FE we support Advisers at each stage by giving them the ability to create customised, white-labelled reports and charts to suit a client’s individual needs. Whilst standard provider literature works well -  sleek self-branded, bespoke reporting can demonstrate the comprehensive research you have done for the client and further validate your firm’s brand identity. Furthermore, a number of IFAs use the self-branded version of FE Analytics as a front-end solution to draw up easy comparisons and portfolio switching merits in front of clients.

Advisers also ought to think about their brand’s digital presence as investors today have a highly digitised relationship with their personal finances.

An IFA’s website can provide plenty of opportunity to start developing a digital proposition and reinforcing your brand. In the digital world, a website is often the shop window to the world and is the first touch point a new client will have with a brand. Easy-to-use web tools from FE can effortlessly be added to websites to display Adviser model portfolio performance, fund data, indices, trackers and more to engage and entice prospects. Branded to fit seamlessly into the Adviser’s website the APIs can also take the form of client portals with gated login for clients to compare and chart performance.

Case study: FE Analytics+ Digital helps Investment Quorum communicate the value of their proposition: http://www.financialexpress.net/Contents/Item/Display/634?version=1

Prioritise brand stickiness

Historically, the purpose of developing a brand has been to stand out in a crowded market place and encourage brand loyalty amongst consumers. Big brands that we know, love and consume on a daily basis have achieved their status through developing a loyalty that’s more colloquially called ‘brand stickiness’.  Brand stickiness can be achieved by making sure your clients understand and experience your unique value proposition. They need to understand what you stand for as an adviser and recognise its value. This will not only improve client retention but is also likely to bring in new business through client referrals.

Speak to us today for a personalised consultation on how we can help your business.