Ideas and tips from Marie Swift, a nationally-recognized consultant who's worked with some of the top financial advisory firms nationwide for nearly twenty years. This blog spotlights financial services firms and allied institutions that Swift deems as adopting "Best Practices" in the industry. Swift also shares some of her own tools and ideas aimed at helping independent financial advisors.
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Finding Your Voice and Building Your Brand as a Financial Advisor Today
Based on a conversation I had a few months ago with Bob Veres and Marion Asnes, I have been thinking about and reading up on "voice" and "branding" with an eye toward bringing something fresh and helpful to the CEO TED Talk that Marion and I will be co-delivering at the Bob Veres Insider's Forum in September.
Subsequently, Bob wrote a nice piece on branding essentials for his Inside Information subscribers. Marion and I were quoted, as were some of my other favorite industry insightfuls (Steve Wershing: here's looking at you, kid). If you missed that issue, head right on over to www.BobVeres.com and sign up for Inside Information -- it is one of the best publications in the financial advisory space, chock full of insights and good food for thought, written especially for financial advisors and others who are a part of that service ecosystem.
I then wrote a piece which I called "Being a Social Leader Online" -- which is all about building trust through authentic voice and transparent communications -- for Financial-Planning.com. They renamed the piece "Why Financial Advisors Can't Ignore Social Media" -- which is true, but was not really, to my thinking anyway, the focus of the piece. Never-the-less, I know a bunch of financial advisors and allied others read it because I saw a ton of conversation and energy happen on Twitter. So that's good. But the whole point of that piece is that high-trust leaders are those who are willing to show their personality -- and even their vulnerability.
I subsequently had a conversation with some business colleagues who left the corporate tech and ad agency worlds and now basically ghostwrite blog posts and long-form LinkedIn Pulse posts (along with corresponding social media posts for Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter) for financial advisors. They have developed this thing they call "Voice Science" so that when they write the pieces for their clients, they actually CAPTURE that person's authentic voice. I'm excited about the free webinar they are doing for Friends of Impact this Tuesday, August 11, at noon CT.
The big idea here is not to sanitize things so much. Yes, be professional. Yes, do a spell check. Yes, think before you post. But be your true and authentic self. To do that, though, you should really think about who that true and authentic self IS ... and if you are a part of a team (or a team of one) working as a business then there needs to be some dialog and consensus on what your "brand" is before you can synch up your "voice." One more helpful tidbit: Bob and his team at Insider's Forum asked me to come up with a guest post for their blog. Since the whole topic of "brand" and "voice" have been on my mind more than ever recently, I wrote a piece called "Finding Your Voice Online." I hope you will read it and do some of the exercises I suggest. I hope to see all of you at the 2015 Insider's Forum where we can continue this "brand" and "voice" conversation. To save $75 off your first registration, enter 2015IMPACTCOMM Final thought for today: As I was following some links on Twitter, I stumbled upon this article by a content marketing guy named Marcus Sheridan. He says that we can never REALLY find our true and authentic voice ... because it is changing all the time. His call to action is good: From this day forward, stop worrying about “finding your voice.” And if you do find it, throw it back in the river so you can find it again later. Finding is not the goal here. This is about GROWTH, pure and simple. And trust me when I tell you that if you’re growing, happiness will follow.
My take: We must all constantly reinvent ourselves. If we do that, I submit that in addition to personal growth and happiness, our business growth and happiness will also multiply. So, ask yourself regularly: "Who am I? And why should others care?" Challenging questions, to be sure, but well worth the contemplation. Time for me to go on a long walk and think about those questions myself.