Love the Brand that Vanderbilt Built

What makes a great financial advisor brand? I’ve written in the past on the deplorable lack of branding in the financial space. This blog will feature one who does it right: social impact investment firm Vanderbilt Financial, headed up by Stephen Distante.  I’ll cover what financial advisors should emulate if they want to create a big brand for themselves.

Example of Great Financial Advisor Social Media

Take a look at Stephen Distante’s LinkedIn page if you want to see an example of impeccable branding. What I love about his presentation here is that he’s 1) setting himself apart 2) not using the typical financial advisor lingo 3) representing his brand with imagery.

So first of all, he’s got a great profile picture. The background image contains motivational language and you can see the principles that drive him. Not products, but principles. He includes both a functional title and a descriptive title under his name: CEO of Vanderbilt Financial Group & Chief Disruption Officer of Impact U. The term “disruptive” conveys that he’s challenging the status quo and creates curiosity in the mind of the reader. What is Impact U? What is he making an impact on? How is it disruptive? All of this is hooking the reader in and motivating us to read on.

Second of all, Distante has a great summary under his picture and title. This is something most financial advisors don’t bother with, or if they do it’s so full of industry jargon that it’s not even worth reading. He talks about his firm being “known as the Sustainable Broker-Dealer & RIA with a commitment to environmental & social sustainability through Impact Investments.” He’s throwing out some keywords that describe his investment style but also is defining what he is known for and the type of firm that he is.

In the next paragraph he mentions “I’m also the founder of an amazing culture” as he describes the company history. This is really important to do. Many companies forget that the people are the strongest components of any brand. He specifically lists out his company’s values, right then and there, and how these make his firm a “different kind of broker-dealer.”

So there you have it. In less than 10 seconds, Distante has distinguished himself in our eyes and provoked us to want to learn more. Masterfully done!

Other components of this LinkedIn profile that I like are how we has included his email and phone number at the bottom of his summary field. This is a great marketing tactic as he’s making it easy for the prospect to contact him. It seems obvious, but not everyone gets that. He’s also optimized his profile for the LinkedIn search engine by including keywords at the bottom of his profile.

Distante does a great job of utilizing LinkedIn’s blogging platform. He’s written an article about how he sees Millennials differently from other advisors “Millennial removed from Webster Dictionary. Replaced with…” Nicely done. The title is engaging, shows his passion for working with this cohort, and motivates the reader to click. He’s got 7 likes on this article which is a decent response rate.

Example of Great Financial Advisor Website

The firm’s attitude of service is exceptional and this also comes through on their website. Distante was moved to make Vanderbilt into something special after asking himself, “How do I make a difference in an industry that is so broken” decades ago. You can see in some many places that the firm mission reflects his passion for serving others and his true desire to help other people. On Vanderbilt’s website the imagery conveys real people who look sincerely happy.  The website is uniquely personalized with a letter from the CEO and videos that show the people of the firm and their clients in action. The videos are made with upbeat music showing positive news such as Distante discussing his building’s LEED Platinum status. Even the blog has great content that is truly helpful to his advisor teams.

How can Financial Advisors Build their Brand?

The CEO of any firm, financial or otherwise, has a huge impact on the brand. This CEO has set the tone for his company by having a great LinkedIn profile and making an intentional effort to position himself and the firm as truly different through their website. Success online and offline results when branding is done this way.

For more information about how to up your brand’s game, let’s be in touch.

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