Advisers Need to Invest More in their Business Brand

Your brand counts.

Your brand is yours, but it isn't you.

A brand separate to you means your staff can use it, and your client's are still being looked after by your brand. It also means that it can grow to be bigger than you: serving many more people than you alone could. It can become a property that you can sell when the time comes. It can be stronger than you - by hiring more staff and using outsourced services your brand can have skills that you cannot, because one person cannot do everything.

Your brand can rise above the general impression of your category.

This last point is so important right now: the general impression of anyone in the financial services sector has not been great since the global financial crisis. The general impression of people that give insurance advice is not great: people do not like to think about the need for insurance, like a visit to the dentist.

But your brand can rise above the general impression. Your business can have a different reputation. By having a brand that breaks out of the generic category name "Insurance adviser" or "financial adviser" you can fill it with meaning and create an impression amongst your target group of clients that is very different, much more positive, and owned entirely by your business.

But it will take investment. It takes money, of course, but less than you think. What it really takes is time and effort. The more you work to understand your market the better you will build your brand.

If you are telling yourself something like "I work to be a better adviser, I do not waste time on advertising as I get most of my business by referrals" you are conflating "brand" with "promotion." Try using the word "reputation" as a substitute for "brand" and hopefully the doors will open for you.

Can you help me? I'm looking for insurance relics

...and no I don't mean a certain type of insurance broker. I mean I'd like to get hold of copies of old policy documents, brochures, advertisements, posters, rate books and the like. Any age will do, but I'd particularly like items from the 70s 80s, and 90s.

I don't need the originals - just grab your smartphone, place the item on a neutral brackground and get a good close up on the highest quality setting you can and email the file through to me. I'll share the results with the people that send in examples. Thanking you in advance. Russell.

Awesome Designers

Whatever line of work you are in you need to have a great team at your disposal. There is a little of the magpie in me, which you will note if you follow my reading list on LinkedIn. (If we aren't connected there, pop me through a request, by the way.) Having varied interests means I'm always on the lookout for new things - it's handy as a manager and as a consultant to know who to connect people to... the smart analyst, the database guru, the online marketing person who actually works, and so on...

Well, it's amazing how connections work, but I recently posted on LinkedIn that I read the book "Threadless" about the T-shirt design people who really made the funky online T-shirt thing fly. I loved it, and I love it even more now I know this: from a great friend and client: 

"I noticed linked in that you'd been reading up on threadless - did you know that the most successful designer globally (out-selling all others put together) was a guy from Milford?  Glenn Jones is the designer, who has done some great work for me, a really talented guy who now sells his designs internationally in partnership with American Apparel -"


Money - Philip Larkin

A love of poetry can rarely be combined with financial services. However, in my newly acquired Collected Poems by Philip Larkin I found Money. It is a pragmatic poem and suprisingly, even brutally relevant to the way most people do, or do not, use their money, and their sometimes shameful indifference to it:

Quarterly, is it, money reproaches me:
    ‘Why do you let me lie here wastefully?
I am all you never had of goods and sex.
    You could get them still by writing a few cheques.’
It is not common for people to write so plainly about the relationship between the amount of money one has and the amount of sex one can get. There are three other verses and I recommend them: the full text of the poem can be found over here.

Friday Fun

A powerful story about Hollywood, not only was I attracted by the title:

"There's something rotten in Hollywood, and it starts with the sign"

...because of all the fuss about a "Wellywood" sign, but I was also attracted by the review of the business for which the town became famous. The writer likes films I like, too, which always helps. So take a break and have some fun this Friday.

I shall be working. I'm snowed under!