Branding and Marketing Basics for Financial Professionals

While branding and marketing are two very different things, they are often confused because they go hand-in-hand.

Independent marketing organizations, like DMI, often offer both services to financial professionals, adding to the confusion. Although there is overlap, one comes first, and one can’t exist without the other. I know - I probably just made it even more confusing. Let’s start at the beginning.

Before you can market your financial services to your prospects, you need a brand.

As DMI’s creative director, one of the best parts of my job is creating a brand identity for financial professionals. I enjoy learning why they do what they do and what differentiates each from the competition. It is in those differences that I find what makes a company unique. These differences form the foundation where I build the logo and brand identity that sets a financial advisor or insurance agent apart.Branding_blog_quoteThe color palette, photography, iconography, typefaces, tagline, and the overall look I create are the bricks and mortar that build a brand. The brand is what prospects see first and needs to give them an impression of how the financial professional does business and who he or she is. A brand identity should, at first glance, elicit an emotion, ideally a positive one. A good first impression helps people connect with the advisor or agent before they even meet.

When you hear "two great tastes that taste great together," does any specific brand come to mind? Did it make you crave a chocolaty, peanut-buttery masterpiece? Great brands elicit emotion. These emotions compel a prospect to pick up the phone.

A brand doesn’t speak to a specific deliverable or service. It explains “who” the advisor or agent is and what they stand for. It’s a visual representation of a company’s mission and values for the public – defining what it is to a community.

So, if the brand represents the “why” prospects should work with you, what does marketing do?

Marketing is the “how.”

Marketing is the method used to communicate the financial services and offerings to prospective clients. Simply put, it’s the strategy used to take services and products to market.

blog_quoteMarketing strategies focus on identifying a company’s goals and achieving them through the promotion of its services and offerings. The best way to achieve the results you want is to create S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Marketing is an ongoing process that takes many forms for financial professionals. Campaign strategies use methods like brochures, direct mail, email campaigns, a lead-generating website, retirement workshops, financial education podcasts, radio shows, and television commercials to convey the brand message. No matter how you market your company, whether you’re online, in the local paper, or on the radio, your brand needs to be clean, clear, and consistent.

When your Marketing (the “HOW”) works, prospects will find you. Don’t lose them because your brand (the “WHY”) is missing.

Marketing and branding go hand-in-hand. Professional marketers like DMI know it’s complicated, and for any business to succeed, it takes professionals with the experience to build a brand and execute the marketing. DMI’s award-winning marketing team creates brands and marketing strategies that get financial professionals in front of more people, so they can do what they do best – sell.

Struggling with where to start? Download DMI’s S.M.A.R.T. Goals Method worksheet to help you define your branding and marketing goals.


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Kimberly Marcella - DMI Creative Director

Kimberly has been part of DMI Marketing for over seven years. Immediately after earning her degree in Graphic Design and Letterform, she was hired to be the designer for the marketing department at Brandeis University. Then she moved on to the marketing department at a top medical software company. There she created collateral for a national sales team and designed graphics for their trade shows and events. From there, she began designing and creating marketing strategies for the financial industry. She has spent most of her career specializing in marketing for financial professionals, and her diverse experience has given her a unique viewpoint for marketing to different industries. In her role as Creative Director at DMI, her goal is to help create unique and effective marketing strategies to drive qualified leads to the financial professionals who partner with DMI.

* This content is for licensed financial professional use only. This website is not intended for use by the general public.

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    DMI was founded in 1989 to provide financial advisors three dynamic elements for success: marketing services, sales consulting and business management.