This week London broker Coreco announced a comprehensive rebrand, including the introduction of a new website, logo and strapline.
Intermediaries agree that putting time and effort into building a compelling brand is an important step in establishing a successful advisory business.
David Sheppard, managing director of Perception Finance, said that with the current generation of borrowers being so tech savvy it is vital to have a good online presence and conformity in branding to match.
He added: “We spent a long time working with our marketing firm to get a brand that suited our approach having started with multiple possible ideas that they came up with. Even once that decision was reached there was still a way to go in terms of making sure that every other aspect of our business cards, letterheads and website carried the same theme.”
Daniel White, managing director of White Financial Services, argued that branding plays a huge part in bringing in business.
He said: “Whenever I am looking at a product online, the first thing I do is look at the website. If it’s a website that is dated or looks as if it has been made in someone’s bedroom, I will automatically lose faith and confidence in the authenticity of their product. To me, the way you present yourself online via a website says a lot about the way you conduct and represent yourself in a professional manner.”
How are you different?
Demonstrating how you are different from competitors is crucial for any business, and a broker’s website and branding is a key tool in doing so.
White says that when his firm revamped its website last year, they looked at how both large and small mortgage advice firms present themselves, and suggested it became very clear that many use “the same boring jargon”.
He added: “Literally, every website had the same content, just presented in a different way. On the back of this, I wanted something that didn’t have a lot of information about mortgages but more about the service I offered, case studies so consumers can relate to real life situations and also client reviews to illustrate the service I provide.”
Take your time and don’t cut corners
Sheppard added that it is important to take your time over branding, in order to ensure you get it right first time.
He continued: “Yes it may take longer but that will be a time and cost saving in the end. For a website, a holding page while it is perfected is better than throwing up a poor website. I have seen many an occasion where a website is put up quickly that is not right but is then left there for a number of years as it is seen as no longer a priority.”
White agreed, pointing out that going for the ‘cheapest’ option is a false economy.
Do you need a separate brand for online?
The growth of digital brokers also poses a challenge for intermediaries on the branding side, with some questioning whether they essentially need two separate brands, one covering online advice and one for the more traditional face-to-face service.
White suggested that going down this route risks losing the “identity” of the broker, while Sheppard said it could ultimately do more harm than good.
He added: “Ultimately it will depend on the exit strategy for the directors or if they will be looking for investment. An investor may not be happy to put money into one business without having a share in the other and a future exit from the business may prove harder if there is more than one entity that is looking to be sold.”
Coreco has said that it wanted to ‘future-proof’ its branding to demonstrate that it sits between the traditional broker model and the digital brokers.