25 Sep Rebranding Your IFA: How Do You Know It’s Time?
Perhaps you are a small IFA firm, or a large set up with multiple offices across the country.
Maybe you’ve just started your IFA business. Or perhaps your brand has been established for a long time, yet you find yourself wondering whether it’s time for a refresh.
Whatever the case, your financial brand, financial logo and corporate identity are three of your most valuable, intangible business assets.
They depend on one another, and interrelate to engage clients and prospects – building business connections, building trust and nurturing your sales pipeline behind the scenes.
We are all aware of financial brands that are known across the world. Many of them show great continuity with their financial logos and branding. Yet it’s hard not to notice that, for time to time, even the largest and most well-established financial firms can sometimes choose to re-brand.
Why do financial brands change, and how is this done? Morever, how do I know when it’s time to redesign my own financial services branding?
Questions like these are really important, but first it’s crucial to answer a more fundamental one…
What is re-branding?
A re-brand creates a new look, feel and visual identity for a company. This goes beyond financial logos, although it often does involve changing this important visual focal point.
Indeed, it can involve a complete name change, logo redesign, product redesign, change of market, change of identity and values.
Admittedly, this set of processes is probably better described as a financial branding overhaul, rather than simply “re-branding.” Indeed, sometimes re-branding can be a smaller endeavour such as changing your marketing strategy, or a minor visual redesign.
So it’s possible for financial re-branding to encompass the re-branding of your financial website, a re-design of one of your financial products, or a re-design of how your business structure is communicated. It might be an entire overhaul, or a partial re-brand.
So that gives an idea of what branding and re-branding are. But how do you know when it’s time to redesign your financial brand?
Here are some commons reasons IFAs and financial firms decide to engage in a re-brand:
#1 Company Ownership Changes
Many IFAs are build around a sole founder. When these businesses are successful, they can grow to outlive their creators.
Sometimes, this presents a tricky situation for the financial brand in question – especially if the company includes the founder’s name in some way.
Other situations that can give rise to financial branding redesigns include mergers, de-mergers and acquisitions. Indeed, a re-brand can occur even when a single shareholder acquires a smaller financial firm (perhaps they want to rebrand the products and services, for instance).
#2 Financial Branding & Market Repositioning
Let’s suppose you started out as an IFA focusing primarily on wealthy clients in your local area.
However, as your business grew, you found yourself working increasingly with senior doctors, medical professionals and consultants. Eventually they comprise the bulk of your client-base, and you find yourself being referred to these demographics time and time again.
In situations like this, it can make sense to start thinking about a re-brand. The above scenario actually describes one of our IFA clients. They underwent a redesign of their financial brand with us, and now they position themselves as one of the UK’s leading IFAs to the medical profession.
The important thing is that your financial brand and logo reflect your message, values, identity and market you are trying to target.
#3 Bad Reputation
It’s unpleasant when it happens, but it does sometimes occur. Financial brands can have their reputations tarnishes by misconduct, mismanagement and scandal just like any other industry.
When this happens, a financial branding re-design can be a sensible way forward. If people can begin to forget the old name, visual identity and history which have defiled their memories, and start to recognise a new, fresh, and authoritative new brand in its place, then your financial brand has a potential way to rise from the ashes.
#4 Corporate Evolution
People change. So do companies. They do not stand still, but move as various pressures, regulations, opportunities and economic forces are exerted upon them.
Your financial brand may, therefore, find itself one day reaching new markets and audiences, and having to craft new brand messages to connect meaningfully with them.
This can happen with startup IFAs and financial firms too. In their infancy, they might focus primarily on defined contribution pensions to regional clients. However, as they grow in maturity they might find themselves branching out their services, connecting with new regions or niche industries, or changing their message.
In such cases, financial branding re-designs are often a sensible route forward.
#5 The Brand Is No Longer Noticeable
Sometimes, a financial brand can appear fresh, original and compelling when it first starts out because there’s nothing else that really looks, sounds or feels like it.
However, over time other people might “copy” elements of your brand experience. The market becomes saturated with other firms that talk and sound like you. The competition is fierce, and over time your target market starts to have a difficult time telling your financial brand apart from the others.
The frightening thing about a financial rebrand in this scenario, is that a new approach can seem risky. After all, you’re potentially leaving behind a lot of financial branding cliches that your target market is largely familiar with.
However, if you can courageously pull it off by working with a reputable financial branding partner, you can modernise and distinguish your brand in a compelling, effective manner.