The following article is adapted from In the Line of Money: Branding Yourself Strategically to the Financial Elite (2011).
In the current hypercompetitive environment for providing professional services to the wealthy, branding can provide a crucial advantage. The majority of professionals, however, are ignoring this opportunity.
While branding can be very effective in garnering new clients as well as managing the expectations of existing clients, if you're focused on the financial elite-clients with a net worth of $20 million or more-the conventional ideas about branding are limiting. What is required to help optimize your ability to garner the financial elite as clients and help keep them loyal to you is a dual-impact brand.
A capable and motivated professional with a powerful dual-impact brand is able to cultivate the financial elite as clients. The nature of accessing and delivering professional services to the very wealthy requires that you upgrade from a conventional branding strategy that might appeal to only a singular, broadly defined audience. A dual-impact brand, by comparison, appeals to two critical audiences: the financial elite and the professional "influencers" who can steer clients in your direction.
Developing A Dual-Impact Brand
A dual-impact brand is, operationally speaking, two interconnected brands. One brand is oriented to the financial elite and centers on your technical expertise. The other brand focuses on how you can be an exceptional multifaceted resource for influencers and their clients. The four central questions you need to answer before constructing a powerful dual-impact brand are:
What are the brand's core tenets? The core tenets provide the rationale for a member of the financial elite to become a client and remain one. They also provide the motivation and justification for an influencer to send all his very wealthy clients your way.
What are the target audiences? A powerful dual-impact brand resonates with select segments of the financial elite. One of the most effective ways to segment the financial elite is psychographically. Along the same lines, your dual-impact brand will need to resonate with segments of influencers who are likely to provide the greatest payoff for your practice. One of the more effective ways to segment influencers is by their business model.
How are you communicating your dual-impact brand? With the increasing democratization of communication channels, it's important to find a way to cut through the clutter of wannabes. While there are many possible ways of communicating to the financial elite and influencers, you'll need to choose strategies you're most comfortable with and capable of implementing.
What reactions and results are you getting? You need to always be assessing the effectiveness of your brand and working on ways to improve it.
Creating a powerful dual-impact brand is a campaign as opposed to an activity or even a handful of activities. You have to approach it as a well-orchestrated and integrated collection of actions that put you at the top of people's minds among the financial elite and influencers.
Such a campaign takes time. Developing a meaningful brand is a very slow exercise in reputation building. It is often accomplished one client and one influencer at a time. There is, however, a way to quicken the process: Become a thought leader.