It’s Thursday morning and I’m in my seventh airport this week. As I sip my coffee and look around the gate, I suddenly realize I’m relaxed. It’s a feeling I’m not used to.
I’m early. Real early. In fact, my flight is not even boarding for another hour or so — maybe that’s why I’m so relaxed. I’ve had a pretty tremendous week so far; that could be a factor. As I joke with the bartender, I realize that there are actually birds flying around the terminal and tweeting (not on their iPhones) the softest of sounds. The bright sunshine pouring through the windows offers an energy that almost demands a great mood. The walls are three shades of blue that sets a unique tone and convinces me that this is by far the nicest gate I’ve been in all week. There are plenty of comfortable chairs, stations for laptops, great wireless access and upbeat music. And then there’s the nice bartender with the bright smile pouring me the coffee. What a morning!
Other than my flight being cancelled, nothing can ruin my great mood and appreciation for the day. Luckily, I feel this way a lot. But I especially feel this way every time I fly jetBlue.
And that’s branding.
As a financial advisor, planner, broker, wholesaler, agent, or other sales producer, what can you do to brand yourself so your prospects, clients, referral sources, and friends all get the same feeling every time they see you? Get an email from you? Read about you? Do business with you?
Effective branding takes more than just writing a clever mission statement. Like many things, branding is action speaking louder than words. It’s a deliberate attitude driving a deliberate behavior driving deliberate relationships. Ultimately, all of this drives deliberate results.
Branding is the look and feel of your business or practice. How are you differentiating yourself from the producer in the corner office? What are you doing to make what you’re doing is cooler than what each and every one of your competitors is doing?
As a you may have noticed, my brand is all about boxing, networking and helping sales producers make great connections. I try to eat, drink, sleep, talk, write, think, and act the “sweet science” of networking, all while perfecting the jab, keeping my elbows in and not getting hit. See the branding?
Let me weigh in with eight knock-out branding ideas that can almost immediately make your business more memorable, more profitable and, maybe most importantly, more fun!
1. Choose a theme.
Create a theme, activity, or metaphor that relates to your financial practice. Maybe it’s based on an interest (golf, jazz, etc.) or a style that you have. Is there a characteristic or quality that differentiates you from other financial advisors? Do you have a specific marketplace that you serve best and therefore wish to serve most? Do you happen to be a magician? Does it require a magician to help make your brand appear? Or disappear? Anyway, ask your clients what they feel differentiates you from other professionals. Ask other advisors in your office. Those that come in contact with you may see something interesting in your attitude, style and approach that you don’t see. Remember, it may not all be good, so keep your left up!
2. Have the right attitude.
Your attitude is your mindset and thought process about a person, place or thing. Your attitude impacts your brand, and drives your language or behavior. That behavior will drive other results, both positive and negative. So, ask yourself: What is your mindset about your work? Your firm? Your clients? Your attitude is reflected in your voicemail greeting, response time to emails, calls you don’t return, writing style, follow up, reliability, timing (are you always early or late?) and pretty much everything you do. As I share with students in the college class I teach, how you go about your business in here (the classroom) is how you will go about your business out there (the business world). So, get into good habits early.