• David Butcher
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Financial branding needs Soul, with a capital S

There is a band from Oakland California called the ‘Tower of Power’. For over 50 years they have been one of the funkiest bands on the planet.

Don’t worry this blog isn’t a lyrical waxing about how ‘in the pocket’ these guys are. They wrote a song – Soul with a capital S. And it’s just as much an essential part of the groove as it is a vital ingredient in approaching financial branding.

At this point you have an option – keep reading about soul in branding or watch these guys –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXQNFm9zWoo

Want to keep reading? Great! Because a great financial brand is far more than a logo. It embodies a single vision for the firm, a totem of everything it stands for, is proud of and is committed to.

It is the Soul of the business

What is interesting in relation to financial brands is the high percentage of market capitalisation that is attributable to brand value. Brand is therefore arguably any organisation’s most valuable asset.

However, we have probably been guilty at some point of simply focusing on the ‘what’. Take a random look at some financial firms’ websites and you will see a fair few starting with the facts, figures and features – how old they are, areas of specialisation and how they are ranked in their industry.

However, such features frequently fail to connect with a time-poor target audience at an emotional level and are extremely unlikely to impact their perceptions of the brand.

In other words, what you do is not your differentiator.

Many brand development processes involve a branding agency ‘telling’ the client what they need. It is usually a protracted process and the firm does not always love the solution. Long processes are arduous, lose focus and are expensive.

In a service business, the brand lives through the people in the organisation. It is a product of a thousand gestures. Therefore their active involvement is crucial.

So we at Financial Marketing have flipped perceived wisdom on its head and produced an approach to branding  – our one day team based Brand Workshop – that is quick, inclusive, energising and highly effective. Take a look at our Brand Wheel below.

It’s inspiring to watch teams working together closely to define their Soul. We always see people walking in with different views and walking out energised with a truly differentiated, single-minded purpose and shared vision – brand essence, brand pillars, unique value propositions, vocabulary, tone of voice and elevator pitch.

One of our clients neatly summed up the experience from his perspective: “I have now experienced brand workshops for three of my businesses at different stages of development, from start-up to Royal Warrant holders. In an effective way, the workshop participants are challenged to re-consider their approach to selling and marketing their products and their business. In each case, the management of the business has left with a dramatically enhanced clarity of thought in respect of their business proposition. Whilst each business has extracted a range of specific benefits from the workshop, the common theme is that things will never be the same again.”

Everything we sell in the financial world is based on delivering some form of promise – “I promise to pay you this money if your house falls down” – “I promise to look after your money and make it grow”.

How we engage the hearts and minds of everyone in the organisation in the delivery of those promises defines brand success.

If we start with Soul in financial branding, our words, thoughts and deeds will groove naturally.


Author: David Butcher

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