A financial services brand is more than a logo. It encompasses your whole company identity and perception. If you’re going to rebrand, therefore, you need to go further than simply changing your logo.
There are many reasons why a financial services firm might want to rebrand. Perhaps you attained your visual identity from a cheap graphic designer years ago, and the quality no longer reflects who you are. Or maybe your core product, service or target market have changed and your financial brand no longer accurately communicates your value proposition.
Perhaps your vision has changed. Or maybe your business has experienced a PR catastrophe and you need to urgently recover. Whatever your reasons for rebranding your financial firm, it’s important to recognise that it’s a complex and delicate process. It often pays to consult a financial branding specialist to ensure you navigate the whole process carefully and effectively.
In this article, our branding specialists here at CreativeAdviser will be sharing 6 steps to rebranding a financial services firm. These steps are not exhaustive but we hope that this content helps you in your thinking for your own project.
If you are interested in speaking with our financial branding design team, then do get in touch to arrange a free consultation.
As mentioned above, there are many possible reasons why a financial firm might want to rebrand. However, it’s important that you clearly identify your own reasons for doing so. Few things are as messy in a financial rebranding project as a disunited team, where various decision-makers and stakeholders are pulling in different directions towards disparate goals.
Beyond that, however, it is important to also ask yourself who you are as a company, what you stand for and how you want to be perceived. This will involve establishing your brand story, which establishes these ideas in a compelling narrative which easily engages and inspires people.
#2 Research your market
If you are intending to stick to your current target market after your rebranding project, it’s important to establish, once again, who they are and their pain points (which you can address with your value proposition). This process is important as your audience might have changed since your last branding project.
It might be that you are going after a new market, possibly with a new product or service. If so, then it will be crucial to research this market and identify their characteristic, psychographics and pain points.
#3 Identify your identifiers
What makes you different from all the other financial services companies which your customer base could choose from? This is very important to think through carefully, as it’s tempting for many firms to gloss over this question with superficial answers such as:
“We’re different because we provide excellent service.”
“We’re different because we put the customer first.”
The fact is, every financial firm says these things and they don’t really make you stand out in the eyes of customers. Think about areas where you can really differentiate yourself, and incorporate that into your rebranding project.
For instance, are you a financial planning firm specialising in GPs or British expats in the Middle East? Do you offer investments purely on an ethical (ESG) basis? Or, perhaps you compete on low cost?
#4 List your brand touchpoints
This part of your rebranding project involves thinking about your marketing strategy. At which points do customers, partners and other actors encounter your brand? For instance, this might include:
- Your Facebook and LinkedIn company profiles.
- Your company brochure during an initial client meeting.
- Flyers, pop-up banners and introductory brochures during events, trade shows or seminars.
- Your email signature when communicating with customers etc.
- Your website content.
All of these touchpoints incorporate your visual identity in some form. As a result, any financial rebrand will involve redesigning all of them.
#5 Stakeholder buy-in
Many branding projects fail, or fall flat, due to insufficient involvement or “buy-in” from directors, decision-makers, investors and even employees. It is common for financial firms to neglect the latter during a rebrand, but remember these are the people who will be representing the brand to customers on a daily basis. If they are not on board, then you could be in trouble.
Of course, you don’t want to turn your rebranding project into the ultimate “design-by-committee” project. This is a recipe for gridlock and poor decision-making. You’re not going to make everyone happy. However, getting internal feedback on the brief beforehand, as well as some of the design ideas once the project has started, will be very important.
#6 Publish it!
Obviously, you need to go through the crucial creative process of a financial branding project before you can go public with it! However, once your new logo, corporate colours, fonts, imagery, website and brand collateral are signed-off its important to be quick and decisive with your new brand launch.
It’s a good idea to think strategically, ahead of time, about your brand launch. After all, this can be the perfect opportunity to gain more publicity and make a statement to your target market.
Remember, most people dislike change simply for the sake of it. So you will need to ensure that your reasons for rebranding are carefully communicated and that the reasons are plausible and authentic.
The process of rebranding isn’t simply over once you have your new website, logo and visual assets out in the public sphere. Branding is all about perception and reputation, which need to be monitored and cultivated over time to maintain and build your desired image.
Having a strong set of brand guidelines can help in this respect. This document collates all of your visual assets into a comprehensive outline, stipulating to employees how various assets should be used in different brand communications (e.g. how to use the logo on letterheads or Word documents).
Going forward, however, a strong marketing strategy will also help to ensure everyone stays “on message” and that your value proposition is properly and consistently conveyed over time.
If you are a financial firm and would like to discuss a financial rebranding project with us, then we invite you to arrange a free, no-commitment consultation with our specialist team here at CreativeAdviser.