Before you jump to conclusions, I am not asking you to think of yourself as a machine. Consider Xerox as a brand. To this day, people refer to any and all copiers as Xerox machines. Now that is a brand.
When the Xerox copier was first introduced in 1959, the cost of the machine and each subsequent copier was outrageous. However, the concept that the Xerox copier represented was drastically simpler than the mimeograph. As prices came down for the machines, Xerox became synonymous for copy machines and copies.
Making a process simpler created a brand.
While I’m not proposing that you think about the next “copier” idea, I encourage you to think about your own brand. There are a plethora of articles recommending that financial advisors build a brand. However, there are very few resources that will show you how to build your brand. That’s where this blog comes into play.
The blueprint for creating your brand should start with the value you provide your clients. Xerox became the name in copiers because they made copying documents simpler. They created a reputation for their business. I encourage you, as a financial advisor, to think about what makes your brand unique. Think of your brand as a person. Here are a few characteristics that your brand may have:
- SIMPLER – An advisor I know has created a personal balance sheet with assets and liabilities for each of his clients. Whenever I witness one of his clients view her personal balance sheet for the first time, she lights up and says, “So this is how it all fits together.”
- FASTER – Advisors build a reputation when they return clients’ calls within 24 hours or produce deliverables ahead of time. Are you one of these advisors?
- CHEAPER – Advisors who bring their clients Exchange Traded Funds or straight to stocks have reduced the ongoing cost of investing on an annual basis.
- BETTER – Advisors who specialize in college planning or know the specifics of the local pension plan provide insight that is invaluable.
Which one of these characteristics do you display in your financial advising business? When you do one of these four things, you create a benefit for your clients and differentiate your practice from the competition. That benefit can far exceed the amount you charge and creates value for your clients. Repeatedly exemplifying your chosen characteristic(s) establishes your brand.
The four elements I outlined are certainly not the only ones your brand could represent. Think about other benefits you can provide to your clients. Who knows, you might just turn into the Xerox of your town.