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3 communications challenges for advisers

Embrace the challenges of online communication
 urges Michael Taggart, 
head of social and digital at financial services PR agency MRM

The post-RDR world introduces three communications challenges for financial advisers. But those who embrace online communications – producing blog posts, images and videos and engaging on social networks – to meet these challenges, will quickly see them turn to business opportunities.

The importance of profile. First, the balance of power between providers, advisers and consumers is changing, casting advisers in a far more starring role. The transparent application of fees, instead of commission, means advisers are no longer tied to the apron strings of providers. And this means they can increasingly expect providers to come to them. So it will be more important than ever for advisers to be known and respected by providers – in other words, they will benefit from growing a profile.

Building trust. A second challenge will be to communicate the RDR changes to existing and potential clients. If the chief purpose is to increase consumer trust in financial services, then advisers must wear that badge of professionalism and trust with pride. They will be on the front line in the battle to build that post-RDR brand.

These days, the first stop for consumers in the quest for financial products is Google. This presents a huge opportunity for advisers to demonstrate their expertise. By producing digital content, from blog posts to videos, podcasts to online forum contributions – and turning up in search results – advisers could be increasing trust in financial services and winning the trust of the right kind of investors and savers.

Networking. Finally, the important communication that often gets overlooked is peer-to-peer. When the winds of change are blowing, it can be invaluable to learn from the successes and mistakes of fellow advisers. Advisers are
on social networks and joining online communities in their droves. The most savvy are keeping up with what is going on in the industry, supporting each other and seeking advice and opinions on a whole range of business issues. Social media makes it easier than ever to do that networking – an opportunity not to be missed.
No one is suggesting these channels will replace face-to-face communications, emails, letter-writing and traditional media; on the contrary, they complement them. But now the RDR has taken place, they will become more relevant than ever before.

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