Consistency Is Crucial: Streamlining the Details of Your Brand To Make a Stellar Impression
In previous articles from our Branding 101 series, we’ve touched on the importance of establishing your brand identity. One of the best ways to create an effective marketing strategy is by showing clients your values and what makes you different. Creating and leveraging your website, logo, and messaging all help you work toward this goal, but you need to ensure all of your branding materials are consistent.
Consistency helps you maintain a professional reputation and subconsciously assures clients of your attentiveness. Regardless of how a client first interacts with your brand — whether that’s by stumbling upon your website, receiving a shared business card or brochure, or finding a post from you on social media — they should get the same impressive first impression of your services. Taking the time to ensure you’re using customized, branded materials that make sense for your firm and maintain consistency goes a long way in creating a relaxed, polished experience for your clients and prospects. The following elements can all help lend to an outstanding, polished brand identity.
Polished Print Pieces
Even in today’s technological age, financial advisors tend to rely on a lot of print pieces for their communication and marketing efforts. Examples include welcome packets, brochures, business cards, and even annual review paperwork for their clients. We’ve helped financial advisors with their marketing and branding for a long time, and have found that polishing a client’s print pieces is essential to establishing consistency. All of your printed materials should feel like they were made by the same graphic designer, and they should all follow the same brand guidelines (fonts, colors, spacing, creative elements, photography, etc.). The cohesiveness of your print marketing materials can impress clients and encourage them to trust your services, and can also create confusion and distrust just as quickly.
While every financial advisor’s branding is unique, the same graphic design principles apply when establishing consistency. It’s essential to designate a specific color scheme and use those same shades across all of your print pieces. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure everything from your posters to your business cards use the same logo and fonts. A more subtle yet impactful way to promote consistency is by using the same creative design elements across your pieces. For instance, you might create angular watermarks to complement your firm’s triangular logo.
Yet another way to make your print pieces cohesive is through your photography style. Try to use images that have consistent compositions, color tones, or feature similar subjects and styles of subjects. If your brochures feature images of smiling families, you should use similar photos in your other print materials as well, versus using something like cityscapes.
Optimized Online Presence
Our recent blog post on the importance of optimizing your website gives key tips for establishing consistency online. Your messaging, graphic elements, layout, and photography style should be cohesive across every page. These components should also match the style of your print materials to create a truly consistent experience for your clients. By implementing this approach, your client will feel at home even if they’re not on your homepage.
However, it’s important to note that your online presence as a financial advisor doesn’t end with your website. Your various social media profiles also need to look like they belong, so it’s important to get them up to speed. A simple way to start is by optimizing your descriptions across your social media profiles. Keep the same overall message without using the same wording on every profile, as repeating content can affect your performance in search engines. For instance, if your website uses aspirational copy to highlight the importance of retirement planning, your descriptions should reflect this same sentiment. This is a great way to leverage your strategic brand messaging to help create consistency.
Continue your efforts toward consistency through the use of photography. Use photos (both in your header/cover areas and on your posts) similar to the ones on your website and print materials, and consider creating custom header photos. If your brand doesn’t use much photography, you can create images that rely on cohesive color schemes and graphic elements.
Cohesive Client Experience
The biggest and most important place to worry about consistency is in the physical space — your office and your virtual backdrop (key for a Zoom-heavy world!). Imagine a client sees your minimally designed, modern brochure and website before visiting your office, only to find your space under-decorated, dated, and a bit cluttered. This disconnect can cause confusion and make it challenging for the client to feel comfortable with your brand.
Create a truly cohesive experience for your clients by ensuring your office matches your overarching brand identity. A minimalist office atmosphere would be ideal for a financial advisor with a modern website featuring lots of white space. You might opt for a cozy waiting room and fun decor if you have a more relaxed clientele. In a future blog, we’ll further explore the importance of the client experience.
The bottom line is, establishing a brand identity isn’t enough. You have to ensure every aspect of your firm — from your print materials and website to your office — reflects your core brand identity. This consistency subconsciously assures clients of your ability to work toward their financial goals.
If you need help tying everything together in a way that’s beautiful and makes sense, contact us today. We can help you align all of your branded pieces and can also help create a brand guide — a document that formally outlines everything from color palettes to photography styles for your firm — so that your future ads, print pieces, and swag all look and feel the same, regardless of who is designing them.