It’s a question many advisors face when starting a firm: “Should I incorporate my name into the company brand?”
In the financial world of Charles Schwab, Edward Jones, Raymond James and the like, advisors’ first instinct may be to name it after themselves.
But is that always the best idea?
Blu Giant, a creative marketing and branding firm that works solely in financial services, works with many of firms going through the naming process.
“More and more of the projects that we’re taking on, the name is part of the discussion,” said Christopher Norton, creative director of Blu Giant, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor. “What we’re really seeing is that more and more people are going away from naming the firm after themselves. When you think about the long-term evolution of a firm, it’s a lot easier to plan your exit strategy when it’s not named after you.”
Blu Giant has worked with about 250 different firms at various levels over time. Right now they have around 20 open projects, four of which are branding projects.
Bringing in a new partner, selling the business and planning for succession are all things that become difficult when a firm is named after a founder.
“It’s a more difficult transition if it was ‘Christopher Norton Investments’ and now I’m going to sell it to Michael Jones over there than if I had named it ‘Blu Giant’ and Christopher was just replaced by Michael,” Norton said.
Rather than naming it after themselves, founders are choosing names that have meaning.
“The trend that you’re seeing in company names across all industries: There are less and less things that are being named after an individual because they want what they’re creating to be bigger than themselves and live on past them,” Norton said.
He said the same is true for the financial firms Blu Giant has worked with.
“I will say that a lot of the firms we are working on that are newer or just starting up, I can’t think of a single one that has named it after itself,” Norton said. “They all have names that were built for their client.”
One of the firms Blu Giant has recently worked with is Pathwise, an RIA firm that primarily works with medical professionals.