Financial advisor branding (how to make yours better)

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Why do financial advisor brands stink so badly? Bland colors, boring company names, the same old tired fonts and logos. Oh, please. Get some personality in your branding, financial advisors! It won’t kill you! I interviewed my graphic designer, Nathalia Hamid, for tips for financial advisors and wealth managers who want to create a better brand. You can skip down below to the listen to the podcast. Or you could continue reading.

Either way, you will learn:

  • What a financial advisor brand identity is
  • What makes a strong brand identity for a financial advisor or wealth manager
  • How financial advisors and wealth managers can build a strong personal brand
  • How to create strong financial advisor-branded marketing campaigns
  • The importance of a brand guide

For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe!

Why do financial advisor brands stink?

There almost no difference from one financial advisor firm to the next, from an outsider’s viewpoint. The firms are all named after the firm’s founders (like a law firm), or some element of nature (Example: “Green/Black/Red River/Mountain Wealth Management”).

Oh, that’s an interesting name!

Gimme a break.

If I asked you to take a second and write down the three things that make your brand different from the next financial advisor’s, what would you say?

  • We do the right thing for our clients (NO kidding, that’s like saying you brush your teeth in the morning; everybody with basic courtesy does)
  • We have been doing this for a long time (I’ve got news for you – nobody really cares about that)
  • We treat our clients like family (well, they are paying you $10-12k a year and I would hope you are a leeeeettle bit nice to them).

Okay so now that we’ve established there is zilch separating you from the next financial advisor, where do we go from here?

People are just starting to realize the concept of design and the form of the message. Before, people were very focused on the message itself and not the artistic elements of it.

This is changing…slowly…

Especially with social media sites such as LinkedIn becoming used for financial advisor lead generation, having a strong financial advisor brand has become important.

What is a Financial advisor Brand Identity?

A lot of people think brand identity is your logo. Brand identity is that plus aloooooot more.

Basically you are communicating to the world. Brand identity is:

  • Brand looks
  • How it feels
  • Differentiating from your competition
  • How it speaks to people

A brand is a comprehensive visual language. The way we appear speaks to us just like words do. Just like language, a brand transmits a message.

What are the components of financial advisor-branded marketing?

For a financial advisor, the specific components of a brand identity would be:

  • A logo
  • Your website
  • The packaging for any physical product you send out
  • Your social media personal page, company page, and posts
  • Billboards
  • Your colors
  • Your fonts
  • Photos, icons, graphs and charts
  • Email newsletters
  • Company signage
  • Tagline/slogan

The list above is only scratching the surface. A brand includes everything that can be translated across all mediums. You are designing a system. This is how people are going to recognize you. Sometimes people won’t even read, they can just look at your LinkedIn posting and know it’s you.

Financial advisor branding is critical to your ability to generate leads and get new clients.

Strong, high quality wealth management and financial advisor branding

A brand identity needs to work for everyone. It has to work for you, your team members, and your clients.

A good personal financial advisor brand is:

  • Distinct – it has to stand out. This is where financial advisors brands typically fail.
  • Attention-catching
  • Memorable
  • Able to generate visual impact
  • Cohesive – each piece must complement the others
  • Translatable – has to fit well on a small postcard or a large billboard, any medium you would potentially use to transmit your message

Brand identity is not something that just happens overnight. There are a few steps for financial advisors who want to build a brand strategy.

How to build your brand identity

#1 Build a brand strategy

You create a detailed plan that that outlines what you are trying to achieve: your purpose, your mission, your values. These concepts should hold true in everything you are going to do.

#2 Know your audience

You have to know your audience. You have to know their needs, what they want, what they like and do not like, where they go. If you don’t know who you are engaging with, you can’t build a strong brand.

#3 Identify your competition

You want to be different from the next financial advisor. Most retail investors can’t tell the difference from one financial advisor to the next. For example, banks use blue colors, conservative fonts, etc., and tend to have the same visual elements.

Designing your personal financial advisor brand

Here are some tips for how to set up your personal financial advisor brand once execute the three steps mentioned in the section above.

  • Design your logo and pick your logo and fonts. Remember that nothing works by itself. They all have to collaborate together. And of course, all have to be based upon the same concepts.
  • For colors, you want a basic color palette consisting of about three colors. Then there is a complimentary color palette. You want the flexibility to work around your colors while staying contained within certain parameters.
  • Fonts come in families. For example, Times New Roman font comes in regular, italic, and bond. That may be all you need. Nathalia suggests using no more than three families of fonts. Make sure they are distinct from each other or there is no point to having more fonts.
  • You can also use fonts for different things. You can specify one font to be used for titles and others to be used for the body text, for example.

Financial advisors should have a brand guide

A brand guide is a book that keeps track of all the details about your brand. It’s important to keep track of all of these elements because if you have a new team member or designer that will be working on the brand, they’ll need this information to stay consistent.

A brand guide should contain a financial advisor’s:

  • Fonts
  • Do’s and don’ts
  • Colors
  • Vision, mission, concepts

You should be able to pass it to others and it will allow them to keep the brand identity the same. You don’t want to be scrambling around trying to guess what Pantone shade of green you used on the website (since the designer went out of business).

Conclusion

Here is my exclusive content for financial advisors who want to get new clients using social media:

This ebook is going to teach you how to create a financial advisor marketing plan that works. It presents a financial advisor marketing plan template and other useful items.

To reach my graphic designer Nathalia, the guest in the podcast below, visit her website at nathaliahamid.com. She designed the covers for my books.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation.

See you in the next one!

-Sara

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