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If you’re part of an independent firm or network, then your brand should answer two questions: “Why work with an independent?” and “Why work with this independent?”
Because anyone who decides to work with you has already decided that the independent route is beneficial for them. They may have been sold on the idea a long time ago, but there’s a reasonable chance that they still see independence as an alternative to the more familiar, more conventional big bank or institution. They need to be shown that your firm is worthy of their trust and capable of meeting their needs.
Of those two questions, many firms stop after the first and others skip right over it. But a strong brand will present the advantages—like objectivity and transparency—they have over the big banks, while projecting the kind of engaging, singular brand story that can be difficult to cultivate at those institutions. In doing so, they can address both the challenges and opportunities of prospecting in the independent space.
Keep in mind that you are less restricted in the way you present yourself, so it’s doubly ill-advised to settle for a generic, humdrum brand. Tell your story in the way only you can, and use your independence as a chance to be more memorable and engaging. And if there’s one respect in which independents should aim to match the banks, it’s professionalism. Set against national or even global brands, anything less than a polished boutique image can undermine the trust you’re working to build.
So these are your priorities as an independent firm, team or advisor. Find your answer to the questions “Why work with an independent?” and “Why work with this independent?” Then, make sure those answers are as professional as they are distinctive.