Branding creates identity and distinctiveness. It creates awareness of you, your services and your practice and puts you “out there.” But, is it for you? Are you a “transaction-oriented” financial advisor or do you value service above sale and truly feel for your client and offer comprehensive planning first, knowing you will get compensated later?
If you are the latter, then branding or personal and business exposure is essential to a successful practice. Our objective is to reach more people and provide information. This is called “building a brand.”
So, how do you brand yourself and let your identity be recognized? Do you have the financial resources to do so through various means and media outlets or are you lacking finances right now or just starting out in our industry?
If you are the latter, then you need to be especially creative. Consider contacting the directors of your local councils of aging (in every community) and introduce yourself and your services. Offer to give an information-only financial workshop for their members. The council will advertise for you and provide their facility as your venue. Granted, you cannot control the quality or the asset level of the participants– but, it doesn’t cost you anything but a bit of your time and you are likely to develop several qualified people who do want to see you after the workshop!
Now, you start to develop yourself as a local, knowledgeable resource within your community; you have started to brand yourself! Additionally, you can offer weekly office hours at each council and further create your go-to resource identity.
Are you adept at writing? Write a captivating, informative, timely article for a local newspaper. With all the changes regarding taxes, IRAs and with the economic uncertainty and market volatility, you can offer safe harbor strategies and concepts and continue the branding process and the recognition that you are knowledgeable and the “safe money person” in your area. Now, you have been branded as a published author, adding to your distinctiveness.
Additionally, taking advantage of the social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn is another method of promoting yourself, your identity and your offerings, further branding yourself using the Internet.
How do you sound on air? Visit your local television or cable station. Introduce yourself as a local, caring and informed specialist on financial issues and offer your time for on-air interviews. It may take time, but if you don’t ask, you will never know! If you are comfortable with a microphone, develop a financial information radio program. Usually, this is accomplished with purchasing brokered time determined by the size of the station, the audience, and how well you can negotiate. However, once you have selected the right station or stations and negotiated the best rate, you will now be reaching thousands of people with your words, strategies, information and wisdom.
Consider also advertising on radio, television and print media and you can truly brand yourself. After some time, the calls will come and you can now be recognized for the identity you have created for yourself. Of course, now you have a public forum to promote your service and people will come to recognize your knowledge and commitment to what you do. More importantly, you will have established trust and familiarity with your listeners and/or viewers.
Now, you can promote your services and your workshops and those attending will already “know” you from your coordinated branding strategies. Remember, people will work with those in whom they have trust and with whom they feel comfortable. Branding is the key to accomplishing the above.
Please recognize this: your branding strategies are like the spokes on a wheel supporting both the hub and rim of your business. If you have enough strong spokes, your wheel will be strong and will continue to carry the load. The more spokes, the stronger the business!