financial advisor branding

In this, the fourth in a series of posts evaluating the popular financial advisor digital marketing platform, FMG Suite, we’ll take a look at how using it could help – or hurt – your financial advisor branding efforts.

Differentiation

While conducting the research for my post on financial advisor SEO in FMG Suite, I noticed that many of the pages looked quite similar to each other, as illustrated in the image below.

FMG Suite Review Comparison

Three sites hosted on the FMG Suite platform.

The reason for that similarity? FMG Suite uses a handful of website templates across thousands of firms, and they only provide meaningful design services at their priciest onboarding tier.

FMG Suite’s automated campaign offering poses a similar challenge to financial advisor branding. The same content is posted to every firm’s social properties and cookie-cutter website, then it gets emailed in cookie-cutter email templates to their respective databases.  In fact, a client who was using FMG Suite had signed up for another firm’s newsletter and received the same content that was delivered to his clients on the same day in a similar email template.

Anyone who took an entry-level advertising or marketing course in college (and many others) understands that differentiation is key to marketing success.

Why? because if a brand’s most visible marketing assets are mass-produced commodities, there’s a pretty good chance the brand will be perceived in the same way.

Perception

Financial advisors are hired for their expertise, and publishing original thought leadership is an effective way of demonstrating their acumen – and differentiating from their competitors. Syndicated content like that provided by FMG Suite simply doesn’t achieve that goal.

Case-in-point: a 2015 survey asking 378 Internet users ages 8 to 60 what they thought of brands that publish licensed content on their blog revealed that 59 percent said it no impact, eight percent said it had a positive effect, and 33 percent said it made the brand look worse – even when the content came from a respected source. In other words, only eight percent of users thought better of the brand. Not exactly the best bang-for-the-buck.

“Good design is good business.”  – Former IBM President Thomas Watson Jr.

In Watson’s day, that was likely seen as a big revelation, but in the age of Apple and Starbucks, design and customer experience have gone from window dressing to measurable competitive advantage. Case-in-point: the Design Management Institute’s Design Value Index (DVI), found that the 16 publicly-traded companies that score highest against their criteria for “design-centricity” showed a 200+ percent return over the S&P 500 for three consecutive years.

Food for thought.

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