What is the first impression prospects have when visiting your website or looking over your literature? Do they perceive a clear message about your firm, what you value and how you'll solve their problem? Does it confirm your credibility and motivate them to want to know you better?

We all know Coke and Apple. Unfortunately, many of us in more modestly sized financial firms think of our brands as not much more than our logos, corporate colors and a handful of nice-looking materials. Our pieces are often one-offs, such as fact sheets, commentaries, websites and brochures that operate on autopilot. Later, as we send out newer communications, we may focus on points that are important, but seemingly different or even contradictory to previous messages that are still available to the public.

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