Is It Time to Refresh Your RIA Brand?
By Jennifer Nelson, PCM®, Content Specialist
Take a look at your website. Now look at the websites of two of your competitors. How do you feel your brand is presented as compared to theirs? Is your site clean and modern, with key information quickly presented, or would a visitor to your site have to click around to multiple pages to understand what your RIA firm does? Or even worse, would they give up and go to your competitor’s site?
If your website, pitch deck, social media pages, and other collateral don’t provide a uniform, cohesive message, it’s time for a brand refresh.
First Impressions Matter
We live in a digitally connected world, which means people can quickly search for a specific product or service and have numerous results pop up almost instantly. You’re competing not only for people’s business, but also for their attention.
Statistics show that most people will leave a website in 10-20 seconds. But they’ll stick around if in those seconds they see how you can help them.
As a Registered Investment Advisor, many of your clients likely come from referrals and not someone finding your company from a web search. But what is the first thing people do when your company has been referred to them? They’ll bring up your website or LinkedIn page.
People want to learn what they can about your company and see if your services and style are the right fit for them. That’s why your brand is so important. It allows people – no matter how they find you – to see a consistent presentation of who you are, who you help, and how you help.
3 Reasons to Refresh Your Brand
When we talk about your brand, we mean more than just your logo. It includes the colors you use on your materials and the voice and tone you use to communicate with clients and prospective clients. Your brand distinguishes you from your competition.
Why refresh your brand?
1. You’ve been involved in a merger or acquisition.
M&A in the RIA industry is expected to explode in upcoming years, thanks to more RIAs approaching retirement age and the desire of firms to expand into other services areas or locations. If your firm has acquired another firm or been involved with a merger, it’s time to evaluate if your current firm name, logo, and culture should remain or if you need to refresh your brand to accurately reflect the new company.
2. Your ideal client types have changed.
As your business has grown, it’s possible that your ideal client types have changed. That means your marketing goals and methods will need to change, too. Document your new ideal client personas, your client value proposition, and your key differentiators to ensure you are using the same message across your website, social media, and sales and marketing collateral.
Firms that identify ideal client personas and value proposition gain 26% more new clients and 41% more assets from new clients compared to firms who don’t, Charles Schawb found.
Documenting your brand and marketing strategy allows your firm to align its outreach efforts with your overall strategic vision. Identify not only your ideal client types and client value proposition, but also your goals for obtaining business from COIs and existing clients, and for obtaining new clients from sources beyond referrals.
When you look at firms based on assets under management (AUM), the larger firms follow this philosophy, leading to continued growth.
3. Your brand is outdated.
Even the most popular and well-known companies see the value in giving their brand a modern feel, especially since modern tools are used to access your firm’s brand. Top marketing tools for RIAs are websites, online reporting, and email alerts, according to Fidelity.
If your website and pitch book look exactly as when your company first started, it’s time for a refresh. People who are vetting your company will want to see that your firm and advisors are knowledgeable on today’s financial and investment planning. You show this by presenting clean, modern, informative collateral.
Your website should be responsive for mobile use. Prospective clients may find you with their smart phone. In 2018, 58 percent of people visiting websites did so through a mobile device. Don’t forget about being ADA compliant as well.
Basically, if your website looks like it did in 2003, people may think that you don’t keep up with changes in tax planning or investing.
Give Your Brand New Life
When you go to client meetings, does the message on your pitch deck match what’s on your website? When a prospective client visits your website and then your LinkedIn page to research your firm before a meeting, will she have the same experience on both or feel like she’s looking at two different companies?
When you present the same brand across all your marketing collateral, you’ll be able to quickly demonstrate your expertise and what it’s like to work with you.
It’s easy to not make marketing a priority. You’re focused on taking care of clients, meeting with COIs, and staying on top of the latest financial news and analysis. But incorporating a consistent brand across all your communications will help your grow your firm. A great brand will make it easier to attract new clients, hire new advisors, and position your firm for a merger.