How to build a strong financial services brand strategy
A critical part of any financial services company is branding because of its overall impact both today and for long-term success. Creating a strong branding strategy can change how your prospective clients and existing clients perceive your company – and let’s clarify, a logo is not a brand.
Branding is fundamental
Building a strong image can generate incredible value for your firm. But what is a brand? As far as we’re concerned at Goldmine Media, our definition is the act of shaping how you are perceived by those clients and prospective clients who experience it. Because it’s intangible, a brand isn’t as easily defined. But, without a strong, established image, you have no differentiation – and no differentiation means no long-term profitability.
“Presenting a financial services brand consistently across all platforms can increase fee revenues by up to 23%.”
The answer to the question ‘what is a brand?’ starts with where a brand lives. So where do brands live? Brands live in people’s minds. They live in the minds of the people who experience them, from employees, investors, the media and, perhaps most importantly, your clients. Simply put, brands are perceptions.
Your brand personality includes various elements, such as the firm’s purpose, vision, mission, values and strategic objectives. You can add your company’s culture, name and tagline, identity, voice and messaging, website, and brand architecture to this.
Brand personality is the unique spectrum of thoughts, emotions and behavioural patterns intrinsic to any financial services company’s brand. Your brand personality is the reason it is identifiable to loyal clients and the basis for the highly personal relationships they form with you over time during the lifecycle of their relationship with your company.
Brand architecture is the coordinated system of names, colours, symbols and visual language that defines your brand. This includes your name and tagline, the most immediate things to your target audience and clients.
“On average, a prospective client takes 5 to 7 impressions to remember a financial services company brand.”
Your brand identity is more than just the logo. An effective identity will embody all of the defining characteristics of your brand, including its personality, promise and purpose. Your brand’s identity should be an aesthetic symbol full of meaning that can communicate your brand’s essence in a visual instant to all who experience it.
The voice and messaging of your brand are also critical, as they distinguish you from your competitors by conveying its purpose, promise and personality. Brand voice and messaging humanise your brand, making it identifiable to existing and prospective clients. In every instance in which your brand’s voice is heard, whether via marketing collateral, advertising or website editorial copy, your clients should be able to recognise it immediately.
“Colour improves a financial services company’s brand recognition by up to 80%.”
Your website resides at the epicentre of your brand. A good website brings your brand to life with compelling content and an engaging design. These days, websites are no longer confined to a desktop experience. They now travel with us on our mobile devices and remain one of the most impactful and cost-effective ways to deliver your branding experience to your target audience, whether existing or new clients.
Defining a financial services company branding strategy is like a journey of self-discovery, and it requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below:
- What is your story?
- What are your purpose and your mission?
- What differentiates you from your competitors?
- What are my competitors doing?
- Who is your ideal client, and how should you speak to them?
- What do both your existing and prospective clients think of your firm?
- What qualities do you want them to associate with your firm?
- What are your core values and attributes your brand should express?
Time to find out more about the power of branding?
Over the past few decades, banding has been defined as a name, slogan, sign, logo mark or design, or a combination of these elements that distinguishes one firm’s service from another. Today, branding is far more complex and even more important.
Charlotte Roberts, Head of Branding,