Creating a Unique Brand for Wealth Management Firms
Creating a unique brand is all about specificity and simplicity, which can present problems for wealth management firms.
Because what wealth management firms offer is both technical and complex, in the effort to simplify the message firms can begin to look very similar to each other, risk being perceived as a commodity, and risk competing primarily on price. And you don’t want to compete on price. It’s limiting.
So, how do you get specific about what your firm offers without overwhelming your clients and potential clients with complexity? How do you move past competing on price?
Differentiate from other wealth management firms
You focus in part on non-technical points of differentiation that have deep resonance with your audience. You focus on emotional connections and value-driven interests. When your direct competitors have roughly the same level of expertise at roughly the same price, this gives you an edge and room to grow.
Start with what is true about your firm and get as granular about it as you can.
To create a highly differentiated and authentic wealth management brand, you have to start with what is true about your firm, and get as granular about it as you can. When you have a detailed list of what you do, how you do it, and for whom, then you can state your brand promise, attract the clients who will benefit most from it, and deliver. And that is powerful.
How do you begin?
You ask yourself and your colleagues a lot of questions. You can think about this from one of two directions. Either, what you already do well and how do you do it. Or, who you want to serve and what you will need to offer in order to serve them well. Both approaches are valid.
Questions to help clarify your brand
Here are some questions you can ask yourself in order to start building and/or clarifying your brand:
Who are your clients?
Not all clients gained or use their wealth in the same way and that impacts the types of services you offer and the way that you handle clients. (More on how to get deep inside your clients’ minds and triggers below.)
- Entrepreneurs may have business succession planning or exit strategy needs
- Families with multigenerational wealth are often concerned about preparing the next generation to handle their inheritance
- People with interests such as philanthropy or fine art will value expertise related to planning for and managing those interests
What is your geography?
- Do you focus on clients in a particular state or region? Is physical proximity to your clients significant?
- Do you have expertise serving clients whose financial lives have a global footprint?
- Do you communicate with clients in languages other than English?
How do you serve your clients?
- Are you a high-tech communicator (significant online information and functionality) or low-tech (primarily paper documents and in-person meetings)?
- Is your firm focused strictly on investment issues, or do you also offer lifestyle enhancers like monthly bill paying and concierge services?
Answers to questions like the ones above can inform a variety of brand execution decisions that include—but go far beyond—the look of your logo and website. For example:
- Firms targeting Millennials and other tech-savvy clients could emphasize delivery of all periodic portfolio reporting via a secure section of their website and enable clients to schedule in-person appointments online
- Firms that serve clients with significant fine art collections might host a private dinner at which a speaker discusses issues related to making bequests to museums
- Firms that specialize in multigenerational wealth can offer private seminars that address preparing the next generation to properly handle their inheritance
- Firms with a significant number of clients who communicate in a language other than English can develop bilingual websites, hire bilingual receptionists, and deliver certain communications in the other language
By connecting with clients in such a specific and holistic way—responding to how they like to receive communications or providing high-value information about issues that matter to them—you forge a deeper relationship and establish a unique brand. Assuming that your fundamental financial expertise is sound, your brand can persuade a new client to choose you over a competitor, justify premium pricing, and aid in client retention.
Create a target persona
One powerful way to get into the mind of your target client and understand what they really want from their wealth manager is to create what is called a “persona.” A persona is a kind of mental model—an imaginary person with a name, history and story who has a way of doing things. A persona has enough psychological detail to allow you to conveniently step over to his or her point of view, and see your services from his or her perspective. It can help you answer the questions above and identify other factors that will influence your clients’ interest in your firm. You can click below to download a free guide with 12 questions to guide you in creating your first target persona.