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From Adviser Guide: Selling Your Brand

Q: How can I find out what clients think about my brand?

Before you start this exercise it is important to recognise what is meant by ‘brand’ for financial advice businesses.

By Emma Ann Hughes | Published Jul 05, 2012 | comments

Before an adviser can begin to answer what clients may think of their brand, they must first establish what a ‘brand’ means in the context of a financial advice firm.

David Shelton, independent consultant and author of The Business of Advice, said: “Clearly it is very different from tangible items such as cars, perfume, beer and groceries.

“Indeed, in a market where we sell concepts and deal with long-term plans and aspirations, we have to make anything tangible work very hard for us.

“As all advisers will know the most important part of the brand is people; both advisers and support staff.

“How people dress, what cars they drive, how they speak and whether they do the job on time are all critical, along with qualifications, empathy and overall credibility.

“You should also include premises, websites and brochures in your brand armoury and ensure that they are all consistent in terms of how they look and the way they communicate with clients.”

According to Mr Shelton, it is quite difficult for smaller firms to learn what clients think about their brand because of the cost of such exercises.

However, he said a client survey is a good starting point and this should be sent to all clients who have dealt with the business in the previous 12 months.

The following issues should be covered in the survey:

1) The level and quality of service.

2) The competence and effectiveness of the adviser.

3) The competence and effectiveness of the support team.

4) Timeliness and accuracy of service delivery.

5) Level and frequency of contact.

6) Effectiveness of communications.

7) Premises.

Mr Shelton said while such a survey would not work as a comprehensive brand study, it would give advisers an insight into how clients experienced their business.

He said: “You should remember that the brand is every part of the business that touches the client, which is what the survey is designed to pick up.”

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