A 3-Step Formula for Branding and Planning
I really hope you’ll sign up for INVINCIBLE: The Most Direct Path to $1 Billion, the all-day advisor growth workshop we’re hosting with FourPointe Consulting and LiveOak Bank on May 9 in San Francisco and May 10 in Portland, OR.If you’d like a sneak preview of some of the themes I’ll be talking about, keep reading.As I mentioned last time, you may be gunning for that billion-dollar benchmark, or you may want to stay smaller. That’s entirely up to you. But either way, I want you playing from a position of strength in this billion-dollar-plus world. To do that, you need to do everything possible to bolster the enterprise value of your firm—and that includes branding and marketing.
Any valuation of your firm is going to take into account the strength of your brand. Who do you stand for? What do you stand for? Is your brand strong enough to make your business sufficiently sustainable to sell or pass on?
If you’ve never built a brand before, or never created a fully blown-out marketing plan, it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why I’ve streamlined the process down to three steps:
1. Brand Infrastructure
You have to complete every task at this level before you can proceed any further. These are must-have, table-stakes basics. They’re not going to get you to $1 billion AUM on their own, but you won’t get there without them, either. Your brand infrastructure includes:
- Your brand identity, including the name of your firm, your logo, basic design standards, look and feel, and key attributes
- Your messaging. How do you describe yourself and your clients? What unique role do you play? What’s your most concise version of your story? What are your differentiators? Your messaging drives everything else you do, so get it right
- Your website. It’s the business card of the 21st century.
- Social media profiles. Even if you’re not ready to engage people on social media, you still need a presence there.
- Basic search engine optimization (SEO). If someone searches for “financial advisor wealth manager [Yourtown],” your name should come up.
- Basic media profile. Explain to the press who you are
2. Content Creation
Content is king, and today it drives engagement online and offline. But you need high-quality content that’s relevant to your audience. Most firms create the basics, like market commentary and investment philosophy. That’s all fine, but how relevant are they to your prospects?
A few weeks ago, I caused a stir by noting that one of the top Google results for “portfolio accounting software” is a blog by a company that doesn’t even offer such a product. The topic isn’t really relevant to them—but it is definitely relevant to their audience. That’s what works. Once you have relevant content, you also need to deliver it. That includes all the basic strategies like blogging, email marketing, social engagement, media relationships, video, and so on.
3. All things digital, social, and mobile
This is where the fun stuff happens, where firms become sophisticated, automatic marketers. It includes search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing, more strategic PR, digital advertising and more.
You’ll have to come to your nearest INVINCIBLE workshop to hear the rest. But at least now you have a taste of what we’ll be talking about.
More about marketing planning in my next post.