The Importance of Brand Awareness for Financial Advisors and How to Achieve It
How can financial advisory firms convey uniqueness amongst today’s cluttered digital landscape full of thousands of competitors? A strong brand can make a statement and grab the target audience’s attention—speaking directly to prospective clients. Modern marketing could easily be described as multi-dimensional psychology-based efforts for branding and selling.
How important is brand awareness on the Internet? It is the critical difference between being contacted for interviews and being passed over because other brands made stronger statements.
Since financial advisors acting as fiduciaries do not “sell products,” they “provide advice for fees”, they need an effective strategy for selling their brands using messaging that resonates with their ideal types of clients. Seen over time among various avenues such as search engines, email marketing, and social media profiles, ideal clients become aware of advisor branding. This helps to:
- Establish credibility
- Bring in new clients
- Create familiarity and trust
- Help achieve brand name recognition
- Stay connected to existing clients by building long-term client-professional relationships
Hiring the right financial advisor marketing agency will bring to life the essence of an enterprise, mission, and process, allowing its unique value proposition to shine through. Ultimately, a compelling brand can help convert leads into clients more frequently and quicker. After all, who wouldn’t want to go with a firm that caters to successful professionals, business owners, and retirees?
Many RIAs and financial advisors started their careers with large brand name firms. Therefore, there wasn’t a need for “Marketing and Branding 101.” That was true until they decided to go independent and run their own show to serve their clients better. They went from being visible to invisible and it is up to them to build their own brand awareness.
This article serves as guidance, teaching advisors how to influence and gain effective exposure for their target markets. Building brand awareness is paramount as a small business owner who competes with the big firms.
Why? Investors feel safer when they select brands they recognize.
What are the most important elements of financial advisor branding?
The name of the financial firm is the first factor in branding. Suppose the business's name is simply the advisor’s name, perfect. If a firm has an official LLC established but is considering an edit or operating under a DBA, that’s fine too. Whatever the case, consider the many branding elements in this article that will associate with that name.
Picking a memorable name that is easy to retain is always a good idea.
Pro tip: keyword research can help you strategize before making a final decision about your brand’s name. Your findings may impact your decision to acquire the domain name of your brand.
A brand’s logo is often synonymous with that brand’s identity. Think of some of the most iconic brands; chances are symbols are popping up in your mind. As design elements, logos are subjective—what appeals to some will not appeal to others. However, all logos aim to convey a consistent brand or message without words.
When you see Nike’s logo, you think Nike.
Logo design is best left to the pros. Once options are delivered, consider crowdsourcing friends, family, or colleagues for feedback. By asking for multiple opinions from different groups, you will obtain a broader perspective for your logo.
Think about the impact of your logo on investors who find your website, but do not know your brand.
This is where a digital marketing firm could step in to take the reins.
Pro tip: appearance across all media channels needs to be considered, as it will need to be scaled to different sizes and integrated into additional marketing material. A dark and light version of the logo is helpful to brand various backgrounds, as shown here.
A professional will ensure the logo has a transparent background that creates contrast on a variety of collateral materials.
What are the most important design elements for financial advisor branding?
Most brands incorporate more than one color. While the logo might be dark and light green, the website might include golden brown and navy blue. These earth tones create a brand palette. Brand color schemes need to be complementary and easy on the eyes; colors should work together harmoniously.
We do not recommend picking green because it is the color of money.
If you have a favorite image that you intend to use as your homepage banner, have some fun by uploading that image into Canva’s color palette generator. It can extract the colors to create a palette. Keep in mind that color psychology can impact the effectiveness of your brand.
A color palette should be reflected in online marketing components such as a logo, website business cards, flyers, letterheads, invoices, and other collateral materials.
Pro tip: it’s best to limit the number of colors used in the design. If you think it needs more colors, try using lighter and darker variations of pre-selected colors, which blend well.
The type of font used when creating your logo, or client-facing material is highly impactful, as it conveys your level of professionalism as part of your brand. Font, too, declares a message which initiates a feeling. Consistency throughout marketing material will impact the efficiency of your branding strategy.
Pro tip: similar to colors, keep fonts uniform across the board. Or use two supportive fonts within your brand. Take our logo, for example.
When paired with other design elements, consistent fonts will solidify your brand amongst all of your communications, from letterheads and website pages to eBooks and white papers.
Brand imagery is the visual representation of your core messaging. Composed of all brand elements, this helps consumers associate a feeling with your firm, further solidifying brand awareness. A simple style of imagery should remain consistent—to spark that emotional response connected to your brand. This could manifest as:
- An array of icons/elements used to portray clients, ideas, and processes
- Certain geographical scenes to represent your connection to a location
- A photo filter applied to all graphics or photos in a similar shade and style
Messaging and Tone
This includes taglines or slogans and your brand position. When choosing the tone of your messaging, think about how you want your RIA firm (and your team) to be regarded by prospective clients. Choose the top three or four characteristics, such as knowledgeable, trustworthy, experienced, independent, innovative, etc., and craft your messaging to reflect these characteristics.
Be consistent with your messaging and tone—which is critical in all areas.
How important is consistency for financial advisors?
The heart of branding success is consistency. That means the same branding ingredients are used across the board, from websites, to eBooks, to stationery, to digital ads. This may be a significant undertaking if you’re rebranding, but it’s a critical step to increase the impact of your new brand.
If consistency waivers, brand awareness will suffer, as the feeling of professionalism declines with any inconsistencies. In many cases, this erosion starts with the electronic first impression of your website, a blog article, or a free eBook.
Don’t confuse your audience with mixed messages. Consistency will uphold the sense of professionalism you want to create when current and future clients see your brand. That brand association can go a long way—especially when connected to feelings of financial security that impact their futures.
Should financial advisors create a brand guide?
Once you’ve settled on your branding features, it’s considered a best practice to compile a brand guide. This document describes all of the consistent brand elements that will be used by your financial firm moving forward.
Imagine your business is a living, constantly evolving company. Its defining characteristics include a logo, color palette, fonts, graphics, imagery, descriptions, tone, and messaging. Supportive traits can incorporate taglines, slogans, mottos, or mission statements. It’s as if your firm has a personality all of its own.
Does your current brand guide document everything you want to see happen?
Your brand guide should be accessible to staff members and marketing partners. Again, refer to this guide to ensure accurate, consistent branding across the board. Without it, inconsistencies will creep into the decision-making that will help you build a successful brand.