Putnam Investments announced Wednesday that it was kicking off an awareness-building campaign to highlight the distinction between anticipating change versus reacting to change.
Because financial advisors and their clients need to continually anticipate the evolution of the markets and be ready to seize opportunities as they arise, according to the Boston-based money management firm.
The awareness-building campaign, called “New Ways of Thinking,” officially begins Monday with a series of new print, direct marketing and online ads, along with what Putnam calls “content-driven, multi-media vehicles” that communicate the need to incorporate innovative investment approaches into more traditional investment models and mind sets.
“The marketplace needs to think today about tomorrow,” said Robert Reynolds, Putnam’s president and chief executive, in a statement. “The past five years have brought extreme swings in market conditions, driven by a confluence of factors that left many investors shell shocked and ill-prepared to either seize unprecedented investment opportunities or protect their portfolios from downside risk.”
Putnam is not alone in seeking change. The public profile of advisors is growing by the day, ever since the 2008 crisis forced investors to study their financial services firms more closely. By the same token, advisors big and small realized that they had a public relations problem on their hands as they reached out to reassure investors during the crash. The outcome five years later is a sharper focus on image management and brand promotion – a trend that until now was on only a few advisors’ radars.
‘I Get a Lot of Questions About Branding’
Like Putnam, LPL Financial this year is focused on polishing its brand while helping affiliated registered investment advisors and hybrid RIAs evolve their businesses. LPL is pushing Advisor Institution Solutions, an ensemble of solutions for advisors that runs the gamut from broader research to improved technology to assistance with social media apps such as Twitter.
“I get a lot of questions about branding,” Robert Moore (left), LPL’s president and chief operating officer, told a crowd of about 200 affiliated advisors at the firm’s alternative investments symposium in New York on Jan. 31. “Your choice to associate with LPL has value. You’re at the heart of the end client’s experience.”
While LPL has no plans to put its name on football stadiums or golf tournaments, the notion of branding has become critical as the “flawed models” of wirehouse brokerages give way to new ways to offer advice, Moore said.
“The financial services industry is at a low ebb in terms of tarnished brands,” he said, pointing to big banks such as Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. “They’re doing precious little to enhance their image. We stand apart from that.”
On the smaller end of the scale, advisors who directly serve consumers are waking up to the fact that the details count. One such former advisor, the blogger Average Joe, who describes himself as “a guy who’s been in hundreds of advisory offices,” talks about how first impressions count the minute someone walks into a reception room.