7 Keys to Creating a Standout Brand
The most successful advisors intentionally create a brand that is distinct, stands for something, and creates an emotional connection with clients. Here are 7 ways to create that brand from Belay Advisor founder Steve Sanduski adapted from his new book co-authored with Ron Carson called, Tested in the Trenches .
Proverbs says, “When there is no vision, the people perish.” So will your business. A vision is a compelling aspiration of your perfect business. It’s what you’re striving toward. It’s rooted in your core values and it’s a great foundation for delivering value to your clients. Keep it short, aspirational, and inspirational.
Great brands stand for something. They have an enduring core that transcends bull and bear markets. Your business’s core values are like the lighthouse in the storm that guides you to the shore. They’re your rock, they give you stability, and they help you make the right decisions in difficult circumstances.
Delivering value is multidimensional. It encompasses a variety of areas such as service, results relative to expectations, trustworthiness, and caring. It involves figuring out how to make your clients’ life easier and less stressful. “Valuable” advisors know their clients so well they contact them before the client even knows they have the need.
Tip: Delivering value is NOT about low price. You could be the highest priced advisor in your market yet still deliver the greatest value. How? The service and results you deliver are greater than the fee you charge. By contrast, a low priced advisor who delivers service and results that are below expectation for that price level actually delivers less value than the high priced advisor above.
Great advisors do more than just deliver great plans and results. They build a company and a culture that treats clients as if they’re members of a family. Special, genuine gestures will cement your client relationships and remind your clients that you don’t view them as simply the source of your income but rather as people whom you can serve and delight.
Take a cue from Hollywood. The biggest stars have a personality that attracts attention. Take your positive personality attributes and infuse them into your practice, public speaking, writing, digital presence, and imagery. You could be technically proficient but if your brand is boring, you’ll get left in the dust. As co-author Ron Carson says, go for “substance with sizzle.”
Tip: You don’t have to be over the top to stand out. A photography teacher recently told me, “That which exists in the minority gets the majority of attention.” Think of a black and white picture of a forest with a small red Cardinal flying through the sky. What draws your attention? That red Cardinal. Point is—be the Cardinal!
Great brands make you feel pampered and special. Twenty years ago, coffee was a cheap, bland product that people didn’t think twice about. Today, thanks to Starbucks, drinking coffee is a communal, sense-pleasing experience that enriches people’s life. People will gladly pay a significant premium for an experience. Do the same—create simple yet unforgettable experiences for you clients that they’ll remember and share with their friends and family.
Tip: Make sure your brand has an emotional appeal. People only do something after they “feel” something so imbue your client experiences with an emotional impact. Keep it genuine, though, because you certainly don’t want to use “emotion” as a marketing gimmick.
Great brands command respect in the marketplace. They’ve built this respect by having a history of meeting or exceeding expectations, by staying true to core values, and by doing things the right way. By always taking the high road and doing what’s in the best interest of your clients, you’ll lay the foundation for being a respected advisor and add to the value of your brand.
Tip: Use the acronym VIPER to remember the 7 keys. V stands for Vision, Values, and Value. I stands for Intimacy. P stands for Personality. E stands for Experience. R stands for Respect.