Two companies that live up to the message in their campaigns are Vanguard Group and American Funds, said Paul Mulligan, research analyst at Diversified Management Resources. Not only does Vanguard say what it will do and then does what it says, but it has a consistent message. "They are good at communicating," Mulligan said.

Former chairman John Bogle believes in his mission and people become disciples of the message of indexing, Mulligan said. "I don't think there's anybody who doesn't think there's a lot of sincerity there," he said.

American Funds, in contrast, does no advertising or public relations at all. Still, they do market and they do it phenomenally well. They have branded themselves at the Quiet Company. They have done it through excellent wholesaling and meticulous detail in everything they communicate," Mulligan said.

American Funds is the nation's third-largest mutual fund company, with $333 billion in assets in 12 million accounts. Though the average investor may not know about American Funds, the average American Funds investor wouldn't think of going anywhere else, Mulligan said. "They have a fantastic retention level. Brokers love them. Financial advisors love them," he added.

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