The 411 on branding your annuity practice
By Henry Glass
Senior Advisory Group
When I start working with a new advisor the first thing I always ask is, "Do you have a name or logo?" Many small businesses have been operating for sometime without these things. As I always say, perception is everything.
If you don't have some basic branding behind your practice, you're missing the mark. The following are the market standards for basic branding in the independent advisor arena.
A brand should fit you and your practice from the beginning. Changing your brand somewhere along the line can have long lasting and costly effects. All the work you’ve put into your brand will vanish and have to be restarted. That is why it’s so important to have a solid foothold and concept that you can be happy with from the beginning.
What is the motivator behind what you do? Are you a single character who’s mission is to help retirees have enough income to last the rest of their lives? Is your practice more of an idea in general where multiple employees are working towards getting the most out of your client’s IRAs?
How do you plan on using your message to build your brand? What activities are you going to partake in to jumpstart yourself?
Boil these concepts down to their most raw and primal form. Once you have established this, you can move on to the next step.
People need visual and/or audio imagery in order to associate your brand with the constructs you have put in place within the public realm. The second step is to come up with the graphics that will guide the look and feel of those constructs.
Like with step one, you will need a solid footing that you are happy with for a long time. Changing the look and feel of your identity will ultimately take from your brand equity because it was established and recognized and would bring you back to square one.
A few huge controversies come to mind when exploring the headlines surrounding identity changes. Both Tropicana and Gap attempted to change their logo at one time. In both situations fan/customer outrage forced the giants to abandon their new look and revert back to their classic brand.
This is because it wasn’t worth their established brand equity to make the switch.
Your identity should remain the same throughout all your marketing efforts. This ensures that your clients get the message right and aren’t confused when it comes to recognizing your brand. You’ll get the most for your efforts.
These are the processes, automated or otherwise, that occur with respect to your brand. How will your Facebook fan page harness the power of your brand and identity? How do the products you offer resound with your promise?
Whole Foods is a great example of a company that’s products resound with their promise. Think about it; almost everything they sell is sustainable, healthy and natural. Most importantly, they have great stories to go along with their products and services.
Looking on their website, you can check out their “how to cook a perfect chicken” which entails a pdf that’s not just a how to but a story on backyard grilling for summer that places you, the griller, as a character in hosting the best summer barbeque ever.
The reason it’s the best relates directly back to their promise; it’s fresh, natural and healthy. When you read their story, you envision your version of the perfect summer barbeque and cast yourself as the actor playing the part of the lead griller. That is the essence of the consumer buy-in.