FINTEACHERS: 5 BRAND LESSONS FROM WEALTH’S DIGITAL COMMUNITY
Wealth managers have leant heavily on long-standing reputation as a marketing strategy for communicating their brand to clients. However, in an age of fast-changing consumer expectations and low-cost digital competitors, traditional marketing strategies and the wider business model are increasingly at risk of becoming obsolete.
Customers of all ages are seeking increasingly personalised and unique experiences, across both human and digital touch-points. But unlike other industries, wealth managers have lagged behind in transforming their service offering and marketing approach to answer these changing expectations.
E-commerce and technology companies such as Amazon and Apple arguably lead the way when it comes to building engaging brands. And although wealth management is a more regulated industry, firms need to consider emulating some of their creative techniques. FinTech firms, for example, have moved to build compelling offerings and used disruptive, attention grabbing marketing, which threaten to dislodge wealth managers not only on fees and proposition, but also on brand positioning.
As such, here are five Fintech brand lessons, which wealth managers should pay heed to:
1. Put your heart into it.
Wealth managers have been slow to harness the emotional power of video adverts which, when done correctly, can generate empathy and drive client engagement. Last year, we extolled the virtues of video advertising in wealth management and found that some FinTech providers tend to make better use of this medium than traditional players.
Canadian firm Wealthsimple, for example, released an advert earlier this year which tapped into the emotional dynamics associated with wealth. The advert portrays a young man, besieged by conflicting, confusing, and intimidating financial advice. It’s both a story about money, as well as today’s ‘mad’ modern world, spurring feelings experienced by many — overwhelmed, confused, and to an extent uncertain on how to best manage your financial affairs. Its success lies in creating a compelling and easily relatable story that differentiates the brand from other financial adverts.
2. Lighten the lingo.
Wealth managers are often guilty of using financial jargon, which only serves to confuse and overwhelm those clients unfamiliar with technical terms. Tailoring the communication of the most interesting aspects of a value proposition using language best suited to each individual client and their financial experience is critical in getting messages across.
US-based digital investment manager Stash is one example of a firm successfully cutting through the noise with simple but catchy investment terminology. Clients are encouraged to invest according to their beliefs and values, which includes portfolio options such as “Roll With Buffett” and “Social Media Mania”. So far, Stash has managed to accumulate 300,000 users and benefits from low acquisition costs due to high engagement rates and viral marketing.
3. Dare to be different.
Wealth management clients consistently tell us that they find it difficult to differentiate providers from one another, especially when it comes to the products and services they receive. FinTech firms face a similar problem when trying to stand out.
Motif set an example. They are an innovative investment manager which offers clients the chance to be their own fund manager and buy baskets of their favourite stocks for one flat fee. Portfolios can be customised around specific themes as obscure as pets or caffeine and then shared as investment ideas for other users.
Be different. Be bold. Try something that hasn’t been done before — and the likely result will be a very happy (and excited) client.
4. Draw inspiration from Willy Wonka!
Referral marketing is not a new concept but FinTech operators have been able to utilise apps to make the referral process slicker and more personalised. Recently, UK mobile bank Monzo introduced a referral marketing scheme called ‘Golden Tickets’ with clients given invites they could send to friends and family who were then able to skip the queue for an account.
Furthermore, the Monzo app synchronises with mobiles where a user can send a personalised invite to contacts through instant messaging services at the click of a button. Simplifying (and sometimes even digitizing) the referral process can be a powerful tool for wealth managers to widen their networks and reach out to a new generation of clients.
5. Get visual.
Firms serving the world’s wealthy need to create a powerful online brand personality that stands out in a crowded market. TransferWise, a peer-to-peer currency lender, makes clever use of well-executed infographics to take the focus away from complex jargon and direct customers towards the real value and differentiation of their product.
Furthermore, TransferWise’s prolific use of visual content has succeeded in generating large amounts of social engagement for the firm through Facebook and Twitter campaigns, which have consequently served to raise its brand awareness, client engagement and willingness to try (the company / give its services a go).
The concept of brand extends far beyond the marketing of a brand name and wealth managers should take note of the multiple features which factor into client perception and understanding. Brand not only attracts prospective clients but also creates loyal customers who are engaged beyond a purely transactional relationship. Wealth managers can re-position their brands to capitalise on shifting consumer trends and stand out in an increasingly competitive market.
Ultimately, brand overhaul will not be a natural process for wealth managers given the conservative nature of the industry. However, regular brand tracking exercises where wealth managers can monitor client attitudes and quantify impact is crucial for adapting marketing strategies to better meet changing expectations.
And, while wealth managers have a natural advantage of existing trust and reputation over new entrants — their marketing strategies can no longer be solely based on past performance and reputation.