Are you thinking about launching a financial brand or re-branding your firm this year or next?
Read our three-step process, key issues to avoid before you get started.
Financial adviser branding
First, congratulations! It’s a huge deal to decide whether you want to launch a new brand, or re-brand an existing one.
It is a big task that must be done well.
Brand building is a long-term effort that compounds through consistency.
This type of initiative requires internal buy-in, budget and strategic direction.
It may also mean bringing in an external partner, such as Opulent Media Group, to help ace your new brand.
We have helped a range of financial clients with brand launches and re-brands.
We have learnt that having a plan and sticking to it is the best way to ensure milestones are met, and that your brand launches when and how you want.
Although brand launches can and should all be different, we share three elements with clients: Strategy, design and planning
The power of your financial brand
Let’s first discuss why it is important to have a clearly defined and documented financial brand.
Your brand has an impact on the mind of everyone who interacts with it.
A brand identity must be memorable and distinctive to attract and keep people engaging.
It is essential to get your brand and messaging right, to build a positive reputation and position in the market.
A brand that is well-designed reflects the quality of your company’s services and represents your personality.
If you are lucky enough, your brand and personality will become so embedded and well-known that you no longer need to explain them.
Once your logo and name are instantly recognisable to people, you could say you’ve made it in the industry!
Branding for financial services – Informed developments
This is where we get to know your goals, target audience, and competitive landscape. The first step is to conduct a brand assessment.
Although we often recommend conducting formal market research, an audit can also be conducted through interviews and conversations.
It is important to understand your brand’s perceptions internally and externally.
We evaluate current brand messaging, aesthetics, and assets.
Interviews are conducted with key stakeholders to gain context about the brand’s history and evolution.
Talking with customers and clients is often a great way to get valuable insight.
You can do this via email, phone calls, and online surveys.
We use this information to inform future messaging and positioning by measuring general perceptions and gauging perceived benefits.
The audit also includes a review of your top competitors.
We also analyse the brand messaging, brand aesthetics, and applications of your top competitors, as well as their websites and social media presence.
After completing our thorough analysis, we combine our learnings and create a brief.
This brief outlines our recommendations, highlights opportunities, and highlights key positioning.
Here we will also discuss your brand’s values proposition, brand characteristics, voice, and audience messaging.
This strategy document serves as a guideline for the next steps in the process.
Designing the look and feel of your financial brand
After we have established the brand’s purpose in writing, let’s now look at what it looks like on paper. The exciting part!
Some people try to start here, although it is important to remember that your visual brand is the framework for your message via graphic design – hence the research that needs to be carried out first.
At this point, your logo is created and your colour and type palettes are developed. The brand guide then outlines all this in detail.
The logo section of the Opulent Media brand guidelines is illustrated in the image above. It explains the importance of the logo and why it is structured as it is.
It also provides guidelines for appropriate usage, sizes and variations.
Similar details are available for our colour palette.
This level of clarity is essential for every aspect of your brand.
It ensures consistency and on-brand importance in every document, piece, collateral and digital element that you create.
It is important to have clarity in all aspects of your brand.
Without it, your audience and your internal team may be confused about your identity.
Your company’s core focus, capabilities and editorial style should all be outlined in your brand guidelines.
Create a plan around implementation and communication of your brand
It will not work if you don’t have a plan for how to implement and communicate your brand, both internally and externally.
A coordinated execution of your brand’s launch plan is crucial to build momentum.
This is the third stage.
However, it’s important that you start to discuss implementation as soon as possible.
While you are developing your strategy and designing assets, implementation planning should be ongoing.
This is why having a partner such as Opulent Media Group can be so helpful. If there isn’t someone to keep the process on track, and ensure that all stakeholders are satisfied, budgets and timelines can quickly spiral out of control.
It is crucial to have a plan for how each brand element will be launched and where employees can access new assets, especially for multi-divisional businesses.
Be aware of these key challenges
If you don’t prepare, there will be challenges during brand launches or re-brands.
These problems are often caused by trying to miss steps or shorten the process to meet budget and timeline requirements.
Inclusion of internal stakeholders in the process
Your organisation’s leaders, employees, and managers will be responsible for communicating the new brand every day.
They can be loyal brand ambassadors if they are completely aligned with the brand’s values and why it was created. Get everyone involved in some way!
Communicate to your employees the vision of your organisation and their roles in it.
From the beginning of your re-brand to its completion, transparent and authentic communication is essential.
Stakeholders are more likely to accept your final product because they feel they were part of it.
One way we have previously involved whole businesses into a re-brand was to create a questionnaire pulled together to build a full picture of what everyone thought the company represented.
Some of these questions included:
What animal would you describe your company name as, and why?
What 3 words best describe our company name?
If company name were a celebrity, what celebrity would they be and why?
They may sound crazy, although questions such as the above allow you to build a picture of how your team sees your business.
Failing to include the voice and opinions of the client
It’s frustrating to build a brand that clients love, only for it not to resonate.
It is essential to understand the needs and expectations of your community before you can create a brand that they will love.
Sometimes the loudest voices are wrong
The collective effort of developing or redeveloping brands is not an individual process.
Everyone involved must be open to the idea of collaborating and willing to put aside their egos.
Unproductive communication can lead to unproductive and unproductive discussions.
Honest, respectful conversations will help your brand reach its full potential.
When great ideas are shared with the masses, they become less amazing.
We encourage you to listen to and respect the opinions of the people you have included in brand development, but we also know that creative solutions rarely improve when presented to the masses.
While it is important to hear different opinions and thoughts from different stakeholders, you should resist the temptation to broaden your approval circle and limit your involvement to just a few.
You should consider the opinions of larger groups of people as individual opinions.
Ready, set, brand!
To be successful, a brand launch/re-branding requires a lot of planning and collaboration.
This is something you should not do on the spur of the moment.
To avoid compromising quality and cost, you must share your idea with key stakeholders before the launch date.
Don’t let this scare you. It is too important to do it right.
Ready to re-brand but need an experienced partner to help you launch your brand on time and within budget?