You may have noticed we’ve changed the look and feel of our Carson materials, including a new logo and an updated design of our website. It’s all part of a major rebrand – and the culmination of months of hard work. But a brand isn’t just colors and a logo. It should be treated as a living, breathing thing.
A brand is the perception of your business. This can include internal stakeholders, clients, prospects, recruits and even strangers. Your brand sets the path of your firm’s culture internally. It’s the first impression of your company. And, perhaps most importantly, it guides every decision made within your business. It’s why, when we stepped back and looked at Carson as a whole, it was time to refresh that look – and build upon that perception. It may be time for your firm to do the same.
When to Rebrand
Time changes everything, from the way you interact with clients, to the technology you use in your firm and the investment strategies you utilize. The same can be said for your brand. When Netflix launched in 1997, its logo was purple and featured a roll of film. It then shifted to “NETFLIX” with shadowed white letters over a red background. Now it’s simply a red “N” with a ribbon effect. Why does this matter? Because in just over 20 years, Netflix completely overhauled its brand twice. It’s just another way time impacts our profession. Does your logo feel like it belongs in a 1980’s arcade? Are you in need of a clear, actionable mission statement and brand values? Are you trying to appeal to a new type of client? Is your website in desperate need of an update and not producing quality leads? Then it’s time for a rebrand.
Often the first major struggle with rebranding is simply knowing when it’s time. It could be two years after your prior brand refresh, or it could be a decade later. That’s why it’s important to do a regular brand analysis. This exercise includes a study of your mission statement, core values and brand appearance. These three factors are the biggest indicators of your brand’s effectiveness. But they are not the only factors. We’ve put together a Brand Building Guide to help you with your brand analysis. It’s a value-based exercise that will help you find what is most important to your stakeholders and your clients. This is just to get you started. You may also want to complete:
Competitive Analysis What are the biggest companies in our space doing? What are the fastest-growing firms doing? You want to be unique and offer fresh perspectives. However, you should also keep an eye on others in our profession.
Client Personas Refresh Who are you targeting with your brand? Is it too broad? Too narrow? Study the type of client you want and adapt your brand to meet that audience.
Market Positioning Study This goes hand in hand with your mission statement. Are you operating within a niche in our profession? If not, should you be? Finding a unique and needed offering can often fuel growth.
Communications Audit What are clients seeing from you? Is it consistent across the board? This can include emails, videos, web content, handouts and even legal documents. Inconsistencies in your appearance creates multiple brand identities and can confuse your audience.
Brand Metrics & Analytics How do you measure your success? Setting measurable goals – like number of leads, new clients gained, website traffic or published content – will allow you to gauge your brand success and set benchmarks for future brand analyses.
Once you’ve looked internally at your brand, it’s time to turn to the people who matter most: your clients. Surveying your clients will tell you what they value most in a financial advisor – and what they don’t care about. If your firm adopts values that your target audience doesn’t appeal to, then you risk losing clients or stymying growth. This survey doesn’t need to happen alongside every brand analysis, but it should happen at least once every five years. Keep it short, yet still get the data you need. For example, you may want to check in on your brand values and see if they align with your clients’ wants. If you have five brand values, list them along with 10 others. Then, ask your clients “How important are each of these values in a financial advisor.” Use a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being “not important” and 5 being “extremely important.” Once you collect the results, adapt your brand accordingly. Just keep in mind it’s OK to not have the top five values from your clients. You mostly want to make sure you don’t have the bottom values.
Make an Impact
Once you’ve completed your brand analysis, it’s time to make any needed adjustments. Once completed, depending on the scale of the changes, you may need to put a communications plan together. Maybe you’ll be introducing your clients to your new look. Maybe you’ll be introducing your stakeholders to your new brand values. Maybe you just need to adjust your marketing personas. Regardless of the changes you’ve decided on, the next phase is always the most important: execution. You should put together a marketing plan and internal campaign so everyone understands your mission statement, values and appearance. This helps ensure consistency across the board and set you on the path to the future – until your next brand analysis.