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What impression does your visual brand give to potential clients?

Don’t underestimate the importance and impact of your visual branding, says Jon Pittham, managing director of ClientsFirst

How much difference does the visual branding of your firm make to a prospect’s decision to become a client?

It’s a difficult question to answer, isn’t it? If you choose blue instead of purple for your main colour scheme, does that really affect how many clients you’ll gain? Does it matter if your ‘look’ isn’t quite consistent across absolutely all of your material?

A good example of visual branding in action can be seen in a comparison of two famous tea brands – Tetley and Twinings.  This can give us some pointers about visual branding in financial services.

If you’re not familiar with the brands click on these links to go to the home pages of their websites:       Twinings     Tetley

Target audience

First and foremost, you need to create your visual brand with your target audience in mind. Tetley’s brand has not changed for years and it speaks directly to who they’re targeting: the everyday tea drinker, who wants something familiar. Their advertising is led by the ‘Tetley Tea Folk’, a recognisable group of cartoon characters usually with a steaming cup of tea in their hands.

Twinings, on the other hand, wants to attract people who want a bit more: the tea connoisseurs. Their advertising is focused on the products and firmly places Twinings’ tea with other premium offerings; confectionary, hampers and more, complemented by it’s use of the Twinings crest and its Royal Appointment.

Lesson: Who are you targeting and what do they want to see from a wealth management firm? Something everyday? Or something that represents advice that is a little bit more premium?

Represent what you offer

Tetley offer a brew for everyone and their branding – the prominent use of the Tetley Tea Folk, representing the everyman in overalls and flat caps – reflects that. Twinings, meanwhile, offers boutique teas for adventurous and experienced drinkers. Strong regal colours of gold and black feature prominently in their brand, supplemented by occasional brighter colours. Twinings represent their different offering by being different, pitching themselves a long way away from Tetley’s blue, or PG Tip’s primary offering: prominent green and red on white.

Lesson: What do you offer as a firm? The basic Tetley brew: a consistent if unadventurous solution for us all; or the Twinings mantra: something a bit beyond the everyday?

Justify what you offer

At time of writing, 160 Tetley teabags are £4.49 at Tesco, whilst the same number of Twinings Everyday teabags will set you back £5.99 from the same place. Twinings justify this price hike through their branding: the product looks better, therefore it must be better and consequently, cost more. Premium branding enables premium pricing. Another good and famous example of this is medicinal products. Often, the ingredients in Tesco’s own-label products and proprietary products from pharmaceutical companies will be exactly the same but the look and feel of the visuals is completely different as, of course, is the price.

Lesson: How are you pricing your offering compared to your competition? Does your branding support or hinder your pricing? Are you trying to charge Coca Cola prices for something that looks and feels like a Panda Pop?

Give your audience what they want

Tetley’s visuals are mainly traditional cups of tea, coupled with characters looking happy. It couldn’t be simpler or plainer to ascertain what they represent. Twinings’ visuals meanwhile are a bit more abstract, focusing on colours, raw ingredients and potential experiences. Again, what they’re after is pretty clear: Twinings promises a tea experience.

If you look at adviser’s websites you’ll see a huge range of images, from cartoons to pictures of industry, but how many literally or metaphorically show the client where the adviser is able to take them?

Lesson: Does your visual branding tell the client what you offer (financial advice), or show the client where you can take them (that holiday home in the sun)? One is more important to the client than the other.


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