What Does Your Brand Say About You?

What Does Your Brand Say About You?

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Aligning who you are, with your mission, identity and values can form the foundation of brand recognition.

How does your firm think about itself and how does it describe itself? A clear, concise and compelling brand differentiates your firm from competitors, makes it easy for clients to refer others to you and builds an emotional connection with those whom you serve.

Moreover, it tells the world what your firm’s purpose is, who you really are and what’s important to you.

So let’s see what three brand experts have to say about what branding is and what it means.

Back in 2010, Russ Alan Prince and Bruce H. Rogers wrote that “brands provide an emotional connection between you and your customers as well as you and the influencers who can direct highly qualified affluent prospects to you. Brands add value to commodity products and protection against competitors. Branding is no less important for financial advisors than it is for any other marketer. So what do you stand for? What does your brand stand for?”[1]

James Heaton, president & creative director of Thornvig Group, a brand strategy agency in Brooklyn, New York, writes that, “Branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of an organization, product, or service. It is communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that clarify what this particular brand is and is not.”

Making the distinction between branding and marketing, he writes, “A brand will help encourage someone to buy a product, and it directly supports whatever sales or marketing activities are in play, but the brand does not explicitly say ‘buy me.’ Instead, it says ‘This is what I am. This is why I exist. If you agree, if you like me, you can buy me, support me, and recommend me to your friends.’[2]

Let’s parse through the quotes from Prince, Rogers and Heaton and ask a few questions.

  • What is the expression of an organization’s essential truth?
  • What is standing for something an example of?
  • What are an organization’s values an example of?

We can boil the answers down to: Mission, Identify and Values.

“Advisors need to clearly identify their personal values, along with the firm’s mission and competencies. That understanding will form the core of the firm’s message, so it needs to be expressed directly and precisely.”[3]

Think about the expression of an organization’s essential truth as your firm’s mission and purpose. It’s also the impact that the products and services you offer make in your clients’ lives, like peace of mind or sleeping comfortably at night knowing their retirement savings are safe.

When Prince and Rogers ask “What do you stand for?” and “What does your brand stand for?”, while Heaton writes that a brand says “This is what I am,” we are at the level of identity. Who are you? It’s am important question when having to differentiate your firm among all the other financial and investment advisors out there.

Solidifying your brand around your firm’s mission and purpose and identity will help with referrals and influencers who can steer more business to you. “A strong brand is easy for your referral sources to explain. If your clients (or their influencers and trusted advisors, such as attorneys) can’t easily articulate how your firm is better and different from your competitors, their efforts to refer you are far more difficult and less effective.”[4]

At the level of values, is what’s important to you and your firm also important to your clients and those prospects you want to attract? “Advisors can use language that links their message with their target audience’s values so that prospects and clients begin to see the association between their values and beliefs and those of the firm.”[5]

Are your firm’s mission, identity and values aligned across your organization, and are they truly reflected in your brand? One way to know is to ask yourself if you’re getting the results you want. Shurwest offers creative marketing services that can help integrate and align your brand and set yourself apart from the competition.

Let us know how we can help.



[1] “Crafting a Brand,” Russ Alan Prince and Bruce H. Rogers, Private Wealth. https://www.fa-mag.com/news/crafting-a-brand-5895.html?section=49 (accessed April 25, 2018).

[2] “The Difference Between Marketing and Branding,” James Heaton, Tronvig Group. http://www.tronviggroup.com/the-difference-between-marketing-and-branding/ (accessed April 25, 2018).

[3] “Why branding is too important for advisors to ignore,” Ed McCarthy, CFP, RICP, ThinkAdvisor. https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2016/01/29/why-branding-is-too-important-for-advisors-to-igno/ (accessed April 26, 2018).

[4] “Top Four Reasons Branding Can Pay Off For Financial Advisors,” Tracy Oats, Tronvig Group. http://www.tronviggroup.com/top-four-reasons-branding-can-pay-off-for-financial-advisors/ (accessed April 26, 2018).

[5] “Why branding is too important for advisors to ignore,” Ed McCarthy, CFP, RICP, ThinkAdvisor. https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2016/01/29/why-branding-is-too-important-for-advisors-to-igno/ (accessed April 26, 2018).

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