What do you think of the word ‘brand’? You might think of the Nike ‘swoosh’, the golden arches of McDonald’s or the red can of Coca Cola. In this context, it can be difficult to know what it means for you: is it your logo, your colours or your website?
The answer is it’s all those things and more. Your brand is whatever identifies your business and communicates what it’s about. That might be your stationery, the way you answer the phone, or the biscuits you serve in client meetings.
In our first guest blog, marketing consultant Faith Liversedge explains why brand identity forms a vital element of a business sale or acquisitions process.
Branding is important for financial advisers – and any business providing an intangible service – because your brand is pretty much all you have. You don’t have anything visible to go on – no packaging, no special offer, no next-day delivery. So, it’s the little things that have the potential to make their mark.
Like your biscuits.
You might laugh but think about the difference between Duchy Originals and Tunnock’s Teacakes: both say two very different things. And try as we might, we can’t help but make judgements based on things like this. We do it even more so nowadays because we don’t have time for much else. Visual cues are often what we base major decisions on.
So apart from buying new biscuits, what can you do to make sure your brand is communicating your business well?
The biggest impact your brand can have is through your website.
Your website is the backbone of your business
It’s very often the first interaction people will have with you. Even if you get new business through referrals, the people who are being referred will still want to check you out online.
If your website is slow to load, hard to navigate and poorly designed, people will make judgements about you and your ability to manage their life savings. That’s because they know what ‘good’ looks like and they know what to expect from a professional website.
Silver surfers far outrank millennials when it comes to shopping online*. They’re used to skipping around websites, finding what they want, and plugging their credit card details in to buy their goods. They’re often used to Facebook, Google and Waitrose.com, so you have to make sure your website delivers the same.
So, what should you look for?
- It must work on mobile: 52% of people are using mobile devices, so if doesn’t work on this platform you’re losing half your visitors.
- It must be fast: 40% abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
- It must be secure: SSL certificates protect websites from attack and give visitors confidence that you’re trustworthy.
- It must be optimised for search engines: 75% of clicks go to the first page of results on Google, so people need to be able to find you online.
Then there are the less technical aspects:
- The design: 75% of users judge a business’s credibility by the design of its website. So yours needs to be clean, clear and easy to navigate.
- The copy: jargon and official language will make you seem old fashioned and stuffy. Conversational copy that pinpoints your audience’s issues – and how you solve them – will show what you do.
- The imagery: stock shots of pensioners on the beach won’t wash – you need to include images that are relevant to your target audience.
Fixing these issues will help to create a brand your clients can trust and feel confident about. And this will futureproof your business.
After all, it’s not just your clients you have to think about – it’s their children too. The ones who are set to inherit your client’s wealth. And if you think baby boomers are judgemental and brand sensitive, wait until you meet their millennial offspring…
If you’d like to see what’s happening behind the scenes of your own website, please email me at email@example.com. My team will assess your site and create a bespoke report. We offer this service free of charge.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for more advice on preparing your business for sale, download The City & Capital Group’s latest guide, free of charge, here.
*Source: The truth about online consumers, KPMG 2017