This month StoneShot attended the 2018 Citywire Engage Content Marketing Breakfast where we heard a panel of seasoned financial marketers discuss the importance of content when it comes to branding, and how and why more than ever, brand awareness = sales + retention.

The breakfast kicked off with an explanation that ‘A brand is empty without content to give it life,’ and we saw well-known companies around the world who are using content to their advantage and absolutely crushing it when it comes to their brand strategies.

We also heard what fund buyers look for in asset management brands when it comes to choosing who to work with – the answer?  Relationship values, presence, and recognition.

So, what are some tips for making sure you stand out in an over-saturated industry and establish a ‘brand’ and purpose that not only clients and prospects recognize, but one that your entire company associates itself with (see NASA Janitor & JFK story example)? There were quite a few suggestions.

Here are our key takeaways from the event and the following panelists:

  • Erik Gosule, Senior Vice President, Head of Marketing and Product Development, Amundi Pioneer
  • Russell Messner, GM Financial Services, Edelman Public Relations
  • Paul Nobile, Independent Marketing Consultant, former marketing chief at Eaton Vance, iShares and BNY Mellon
  • Emily Pachuta, Chief Marketing Officer – Americas, Invesco

Figure out what makes you different and express the heck out of it!

Find what makes you unique in the industry and use it to be able to lead conversations about your brand. Embed your unique selling points in your culture and brand personality by expressing them across all the content you produce.

Brands that can build ‘cult-like’ followings are the ones that are doing it right when it comes to strategy – think, ‘Apple’ for example.

Have a point of view and know you can’t please everyone

Don’t be afraid to take a social stand on something that represents your company values, and know that not everyone might agree with it. Take for example, Fearless Girl – which was an initiative from State Street Global Advisors to increase the number of women on corporate boards – and since its debut on International Women’s Day in 2017, which sparked a global conversation, over 150 companies have added women directors.

Tip: If you can’t seem to agree on a stand to take, find moments where the most distinct voice wins out.

Remain relevant by keeping it personal

Keep your data architecture up-to-date and use it to give yourself a 360-degree view of both your clients and prospects. Emily Pachuta, CMO of Invesco, Americas, put this really well… you want to be, “Some-to-all, one-to-some, and then eventually one-to-one,” and want to use your data to build a personal relationship with your clients that will bring value to working with your brand.

Know your audience and utilize experience design across the customer journey to differentiate yourself. Don’t forget to remain agile and understand that you as a marketer are never finished with building your reputation and relationships.

Here’s a good article we found on personalizing the customer experience in 2018.

Understand that clients are people motivated by emotion

Keep in mind that in the end money is a means for reaching goals and aspirations – use this to help understand who your firm is as a brand and what you stand for. Creating content that taps into your clients’ emotions is the best kind of content.  It will resonate and is more likely to provoke a response.

Realize that ‘If content is King, distribution is King Kong’

Content is just a bunch of thoughts until it has a place to live. Make sure once you have your unique points in place, you have a means of distributing the content that makes sense for your brand. What kind of content do you have, and does it show you’re doing what you’re saying you are? Will you be producing videos for YouTube? Do you have a social plan in place? The content should remain similar across all channels to further reinforce your brand.

Keep in mind that what got you here, won’t keep you here

During the event we heard examples of fund selectors declining products solely based on brand recognition, and new brands taking market share from others who were once leaders in the space for a very long time.

It’s now all about the brand.

Know that modern marketing is becoming a very strategic differentiator for firms, especially as the asset management space is consolidating as competition increases and margins fall, and the attention of advisors is continuing to grow shorter.

Building your relationships and reputation is an on-going process and knowing what makes you stand out from the crowd should be at the center of what you do.

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Learn more on how StoneShot can help you modernize your financial marketing efforts.