Your Brand is Not a Gift

In the last few months, I have helped several advisors refine their brand and two develop logos for new business ventures.  Inevitably hours and hours of minor tweaks and refinement have occurred, particularly around the logo, with painstaking, detailed discussions around the density of the line bordering the graphic and so on.  Luckily, I have a fantastic strategic alliance partner whom I engage to manage the heavy lifting on these efforts, as that is not my area of expertise.   It got me thinking about what brand means to the prospective client versus our existing clients and how we can confuse that messaging around the holidays as we look for ways to thank our clients.

Brand is a connector to product or services.  Forbes provided additional clarity on the topic in contributing writer Jerry McLaughlin’s article “What is a Brand Anyway?

Simply stated, it is how your prospective clients identify you or think of you when they hear about you or see a logo that conjures up images of you.   A logo is a symbol or design to identify you.  Both of these are valuable and important aspects of a marketing strategy. But, it’s also a moment in time.

Think about how many conferences you visit with booths lined with pens, writing pads, candy and so on with that vendor’s logo and branding on every item you pick up. Important for those not yet using that firm’s product or service. The hope is that you will talk further with the man or woman serving at the booth that day, or at the very least research the latest Vanguard offering because the pen you picked up that morning reminded you of their value fund and it sounded interesting.

But, transition to your existing clients.

Many times I talk with advisors who lament the holiday gifting season and what to send their top clients. Usually, it involves the same item for all and often they are thinking about where their logo should go on that item because this is a great opportunity for your clients to market for you.  I encourage you to think differently.

Client relationship management is different, and if you really want to stand out and have your clients tell others about their thoughtful advisor (which by the way is the BEST marketing), then take some time to send along a little something that matters to them.  A special book they mentioned, an invitation to a seminar on a hobby they enjoy, a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant. You get the idea.  Your brand is not a gift so shift your thinking to the perspective of the client and what they would enjoy receiving this year.

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