Which of the following best describes your brand?

A. A fresh, highly-relevant start-up, brimming with ideas, on the verge of success
B. Approaching middle age, trying to evolve in a changing world
C. Getting older, hoping to stay relevant, but often missing the mark
D. Over-the-hill, hanging on to clients from back in the day

If you work for an emerging fintech firm, you likely chose A. If you’re employed by most financial and professional services companies, you probably answered B, C or D, which means it's time to rethink your brand and show a fresh face to the world.

Here are seven things your firm can do to give your brand a face lift.

  1. Act like a youngster. What if you were inventing your brand from the ground up today? What would it look like? How would you present it? One way to begin the process of refreshing your brand is to free it from the past. Many companies get stuck in legacy thinking, which keeps them from moving ahead into the future. Try this simple exercise with your team. Ask them to brainstorm ideas: If you could reimagine doing what you do and how you do it, what would that look like?
  2. Talk like a Millennial. Many financial firms have continued to message exclusively to Boomers for far too long. Yes, the post-war generation has continued to hold on to a vast amount of wealth. However, an even more financially powerful one, the Millennials, is in charge now. They're making their BIG financial decisions today (home purchases, saving for college, beginning retirement planning, insurance), and unless you're talking to them in their language, you could miss out on having them as clients for a lifetime.
  3. Picture yourself differently. What kind of imagery does your firm use to represent itself? Corporate or cooperative? Financial or emotional? Fearful or hopeful? Most of today’s consumers, influenced by their experiences with retail advertising, social media and contemporary entertainment, are more likely to respond to pictures that evoke positive and hopeful emotions rather than negative, threatening or company-focused ones. If your ads evoke a corporate past rather than a more human future, it's time for an image makeover
  4. Think like a techie. Today’s generation of consumers is digital first, business relationships later. If your business (true even for B2B firms) hasn’t refreshed its brand so that digital marketing is at its foundation, you're missing out on big opportunities to connect with prospects.
  5. Toss out the insecurities. The financial services industry is among the most highly regulated of all. However, every statement used in your marketing doesn't have to be “qualified.” It can cause doubt and distrust among consumers. If your content includes too many “coulds”, “mays”, “ifs” and “helps”, it's time to explore more positive and straightforward messaging options. An agency with experience in the regulatory ins-and-outs of the financial services industry can help.
  6. Envision the future. It's not enough to build a brand for today. You also need to consider tomorrow. Similar to a successful person, a company must imagine its future and articulate a path to it in order to reach it. A modern brand should be prepared for the future so it doesn't grow stale quickly.
  7. Rebuild the foundation. Consumers will see through your brand if you only update the façade. People today look for authenticity in their brands, which means that anything you say must be supported by a foundation based on substance and facts. If your updated brand is going to be “just a paint job,” you’re probably better off not attempting a brand remodel at all.

Interested in learning more about branding and how to make yours relevant again? Check out Carpenter Group’s perspective on this topic. Then contact us to find out how we can help you update your brand for today and long into the future.