Branding is an essential part of any viable business, but is more important than ever for financial advisors. However, unless you’re focused on developing a “dual-impact brand,” you’re likely missing a tremendous opportunity to connect with potential wealthy clients.
With a dual-impact brand you’re not only effectively positioning yourself to affluent individuals, wealthy business owners, charitable organizations, and the like, but you’re also effectively positioning yourself to key referral sources.
A dual-impact brand conveys to the very wealthy that you have the highest levels of technical skills and knowledge in your area of specialization. It also conveys to influencers (often other professionals) that you’re the authority to which they should send their wealthiest clients.
A high-quality and highly motivated financial advisor with a powerful dual-impact brand can cultivate a disproportionate percentage of the wealthy as clients. Delivering professional services to this group requires you upgrade from a traditional branding strategy which generally appeals to a singular affluent audience, to one appealing to two audiences: the affluent and centers of influence.
Building a powerful dual-impact brand is a huge undertaking. It’s not easy, and it’s not quick. In the book, In the Line of Money: Branding Yourself Strategically to the Financial Elite by Russ Alan Prince and Bruce H. Rogers, the authors say, “the methodology for constructing a powerful dual-impact brand is very straightforward.”
There are four central questions you need to answer before constructing a powerful dual-impact brand:
What are the brand’s core tenets? The core tenets provide rationale for a member of the “financial elite” to become a client and remain one. They also provide the motivation and justification for an influencer to send all his very wealthy clients your way.
What are the target audiences? A powerful dual-impact brand resonates with select segments of the financial elite. One of the most effective ways to segment the financial elite is psychographically. Along the same lines, your dual-impact brand will need to resonate with segments of influencers who are likely to provide the greatest payoff for your practice. One of the more effective ways to segment influencers is by business model.
How are you communicating your dual-impact brand? With the increasing democratization of communication channels, it’s important to find a way to cut through the clutter of “wannabes”. While there are many possible ways of communicating to the financial elite and influencers, you’ll need to choose strategies you’re most comfortable with and capable of implementing.
What reactions and results are you getting? You always need to assess the effectiveness of your brand and work on ways to improve it.
Building a powerful dual-impact brand to acquire more financial elite clients takes time. It’s a slow exercise in reputation building, say the authors, traditionally accomplished one client and one influencer at a time.
There is, however, a way to quicken the process: Become a thought leader.
A thought leader is someone who is recognized as an authority in his area of expertise. It could be someone who is an expert in a service area which is important to the financial elite. The expert may also be a source of valuable insight and best practices to certain influencers.
In a study of 1,526 professionals, focusing on the very wealthy, less than 5 percent of respondents considered themselves thought leaders. Of those who did not identify themselves as thought leaders, 80 percent said they would like to be thought leaders and among the professionals who want to be thought leaders, but aren’t, only about 7 percent said they know the steps required to do so.
According to Prince and Rogers, the process of becoming a thought leader starts with a set of ideas, concepts, and possibilities. In, In the Line of Money: Branding Yourself Strategically to the Financial Elite, the authors offer these tips to help you in creating your material:
Concentrate on cutting-edge topics. Consider your audiences. Your thought leadership content has to be state-of-the-art, solutions-based, and actionable. It has to provide answers benefiting the financial elite and influencers.
Keep the content tightly structured. The logic behind the solutions you provide to clients and influencers must be as indisputable as possible. Your conclusions must follow, systematically, from defensible assumptions.
There needs to be a “call to action.” As a thought leader, you will be providing clients and influencers with an education. You’re also looking, however, to grow your practice with the financial elite. You need to think of your thought leadership content as highly sophisticated “advertising.”
Building a dual-impact brand can have a powerful impact on your business and your reputation as a financial advisor. There are no quick builds, here. Slow and steady will win the race.
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 “Your Dual-Impact Brand – Financial Advisor Magazine.” www.fa-mag.com/news