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  • You are Your Brand:

    The PHD Personal Branding Process

  • Executive Summary

    It is estimated that there more than 300,000 financial advisors in the U.S., according to

    Tiburon Strategic Advisors, and the Department of Labor projects a 30-percent growth in

    the occupation by 20181. With so many financial advisors out there, how will you stand out

    from the crowd?

    Building a strong personal brand is a critically important way to distinguish yourself and

    your practice from the crowd. Not only does it allow you to control how your image is

    received and interpreted by your intended audiences, but it also allows you to control the

    message and define who you are and what you stand for, rather than passively allowing

    others to do it for you which they will.

    This paper defines Personal Brand and discusses why an advisor needs to develop one.

    It also analyzes what a strong personal brand can do for your financial advisor practice

    and introduces the PHD (Personal, Honest, Demonstrable) Personal Branding Process to

    help you map out your personal brand and create the materials that will be part of your

    brand elements. Finally, this paper outlines options for reinforcing your personal brand

    and specifies some ways in which you can measure the success of your brand.

    What Is a Personal Brand? Do I Need One?

    Todays advisors are asking themselves these two questions, trying to determine if they

    should devote resources to building a successful personal brand. Does it make sense in

    this environment to shift time and energy away from your core business of researching

    and consulting on financial products and services? The answer is, Absolutely!

    Your personal brand is not what you say it is, it is what your audience says it is.

    As stated so simply by consulting firm McKinsey & Co., a brand is a promise made and

    kept in the marketplace. Your personal brand represents who you are and how your

    audiences clients, prospects, colleagues, community organizations, and competitors

    perceive you. It comprises both rational and emotional components that dictate how your

    audiences think and feel about you and the services you offer and how they think and

    feel about you will play a critical role in your success.

    You are Your Brand: The PHD Personal Branding Process

    2

    Contents

    2 Executive

    Summary

    2 What Is a

    Personal Brand?

    Do I need one?

    3 What Does Your

    Personal Brand

    Do For You?

    4 Creating

    Your Brand

    6 Elements of

    Your PHD

    Personal Brand

    7 Reinforcing

    Your PHD

    Personal Brand

    9 Measuring Your

    PHD Personal

    Brand Value

    10 Conclusion

    1 U.S. News, Best Careers 2011: Financial Adviser, December 2010.

  • Your Brand. Your Business. Your Clients.

    Building a strong personal brand is paramount for creating a successful financial advisor practice,

    because it allows you to control how your image is received and interpreted by your intended

    audiences. It also allows you to control the message and define who you are and what you stand for

    rather than passively allowing others to do it for you which they will.

    Consider your reactions upon hearing three names: Winston Churchill, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs.

    What traits, values and characteristics immediately come to mind for each name? While it is true not

    everyone will react identically to these three names, the traits that resonate with people about each

    represent the elements of their personal brands.

    Now, consider three more names: Charlie Sheen, Eliot Spitzer, and O.J. Simpson. How did your

    reactions differ from the first set of three? Did this give you any insight on the power of building a

    personal brand and the value of maintaining that brand?

    People who believe in a brand tend to be highly loyal, more likely to return for repeat business

    with that brand, and more likely to refer that brand to friends, family and colleagues.

    What Does Your Personal Brand Do For You?

    People know what to expect when they encounter a strong, established brand. A successful brand

    establishes trust in the mind of consumers by delivering what it promises.

    Lets play the name game again with three well-known car companies: Volvo, Lexus and BMW. If those

    companies have been successful in brand building, your reactions are consistent with how most

    people perceive them: safety (Volvo), luxury (Lexus), and precision (BMW).

    As with these three brands, your brand should convey what you stand for and be a well-thought out

    combination of personal identity, reputation, trust and execution. It reflects who you are and how your

    target audience perceives you. Therefore, your personal brand should be centered on the part of your

    character upon which you want to build your personal identity.

    3Visit efficient-advisor.com or call us at 866.595.2470 for more tools and resources.

  • There have been thousands of statesmen, but there was only one Churchill; and theres only one you.

    While there are thousands of advisors competing for clients attention and loyalty, there is only one

    person who has the experience, expertise, personality, and talent that you do. Creating a powerful

    and consistent personal brand and identifying the audience you are attempting to reach is the best

    way to communicate your unique brand to your target audience and to turn your style, skill set and

    accomplishments into a brand they can immediately relate to and trust.

    Creating Your Brand

    We believe a successful brand needs the following three things to be successful. Use the PHD

    Personal Branding Process outlined below to get started:

    1 Personal: Your brand must be unique, distinct and represent you alone.

    2 Honest: Your brand must be memorable, direct and authentic to who you are.

    3 Demonstrable: Your brand attributes must be deliverable, measurable and sustainable.

    Personal

    Your brand must represent YOU and only YOU. It is crucial that the brand you build accurately reflect

    who you are and how you go about your business. It must reflect the specific traits, values and

    experience that make you distinct from every other advisor out there. It should also reflect your firms

    brand, if you are part of a larger organization. Your personal brand should complement, and never

    conflict with, your broader firms branding. Too many advisors build their brand around an positioning

    statement along the lines of, I am an experienced advisor who strives to find the best investment

    solutions for my clients. Well, no kidding. What advisor doesnt do that? Be more personal.

    Honest

    To be successful, your brand must also be authentic, direct and memorable. Your brand should

    position you as who you, are as well as who you are not. You dont want to appear to be all things to

    all people (like the bland positioning statement from before), but rather you want to be you, with all

    the unique qualities you represent.

    It is important to honestly assess who you are and be prepared to communicate that to clients in a

    succinct and compelling manner. Whatever your brand, it has to be accurate and supportable.

    Your Brand. Your Business. Your Clients.

    4

  • You are Your Brand: The PHD Personal Branding Process

    Demonstrable

    In addition to being differentiated and direct, your claims must be measurable, supportable and

    sustainable. All brand attributes you employ must be able to stand up to your audiences Oh, yeah?

    Prove it! test.

    Some points are obvious. Dont position yourself as a social media expert if you dont have a

    Facebook account and have never been on Twitter. But others are more subtle.

    If you position yourself as a retirement expert, be prepared to offer examples of how you solve

    pre-retirement, post-retirement and second-career planning issues for your clients. Theres more to

    retirement planning these days than amassing a large nest egg. Your branding must demonstrate

    precisely how you are qualified to deal with all of these complex situations.

    Dont overlook the sustainable aspect of this point. The brand attributes you choose should be ones

    that are relevant to your audience now and in the future. Helping clients invest for their first home

    may be relevant to your newest or youngest clients, but helping clients plan for key milestones

    throughout their investment lifecycle is a broader attribute that should appeal to everyone.

    Homework: The Adjectives List

    1 Take out a sheet of paper. List five (or 10) adjectives that you think apply to you and that you want your audiences to be aware of. Are you responsive, thorough and detail-oriented? Write that down.

    Do you want to be viewed as insightful, informed and innovative? Add those, too. Once you have

    the master list of adjectives that accurately describe you, whittle it down to the core attributes you

    want your brand to embody. Keeping in mind as you do so that you are building a list of traits that

    makes you unique, a list that could only describe you and no one else. That said, you can eliminate

    table stakes descriptors such as professional, experienced and knowledgeable.

    2 Next, turn the sheet over and give it to a few of your friends, family members and colleagues. Ask them to make their own lists. Tell them to be honest and direct.

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