Making Brand Communication Work for Your Firm

By Beverly Flaxington
December 17, 2013

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues.  To submit yours, email us here.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

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Dear Bev,

I noticed you answered a question about branding in an earlier column. We struggle with this too. We have a great story, but my team doesn’t see it as I do. I have sat in on meetings with them while they talk to prospects and clients and they say things I would never say. Everyone has their own style but it is important that we say the same things. Is there a way to accomplish this through training? Can I teach them what I say and expect them to say it too?

Jon D, California

Dear Jon,

Thank you for raising brand communication again – I could write columns every week on this topic. Few advisors understand this and even fewer leverage their identity to their advantage.

I’m impressed you are focused on it and even offering to train your own advisors on telling your story. Sometimes, though, hearing it from the leader of the firm allows staff to dismiss it – “He can tell the story well, he owns the firm!” So, instead of suggesting that you to do this, let me give you a few other ideas:

  1. One of the reasons brand identity doesn’t get repeated the way you’d like is that it isn’t integrated into all of your materials. Choose the three “platform points” (statements that articulate your value proposition) that best represents your firm. Pick ones that are clear, understandable and can be supported with examples and stories. Then, review your website, marketing materials and collateral to see whether those points are represented in every communication. Consistency is key.
  2. Hold a meeting and ask your advisors to present the story. Have each advisor tell it in his or her own words. See if you can all agree on the fundamental platform points.  Determine whether those points correlate to yours.
  3. Discuss who you want your firm to be in the market. What do you want your core principles to be? What do you want clients to say about you? What words do you want your team to use? Make sure these themes are incorporated in the way you tell your story.
  4. Review your prospect presentation. If you don’t have a pitch-book to tell your story, create one.  The best way to see if your story flows and is consistent is to force it into a pitch-book. Don’t repeat and don’t complicate. Look at the final story from the eyes of the prospect.
  5. Have someone outside your firm objectively review your materials once you are finished. Ask them to identify the top platform points for your practice. This will tell you whether you have been successful or not!

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