Lessons in Investment Branding: 2022 Trends and Best Practices
Online consumers experienced a shift in the way brands curated their digital experience for users last year – altering their strategies for design, brand strategy and public relations to better suit a rapidly changing landscape. This change developed a unique backdrop of expectations in 2022, particularly when it comes to how users are connecting with brands online.
Historically, the digital side of financial and investment brands maintained a level of distance from their audience, appearing primarily as sources for insight into company service as opposed to performing as an extension of customer service or support. This notion of maintained distance in investment branding and social media has rapidly eroded over the past couple years.
Today, the pairing of creative solutions with comprehensive emotional blueprints allows users to empathize with brands on a deeper level (and vice versa—even within financial and investment industries). This online transition to a more targeted experience has created a multitude of learning opportunities for the entire investment community, and has led to some key insights into how professional brands, once distant from their target audience, can develop a more meaningful connection to their consumers almost immediately.
Here are a few lessons in investment branding, and how you can better connect with your audience:
TELLING AUTHENTIC STORIES
At its core, investment brand storytelling has gone from constructing a complete or larger narrative to developing an identifiable connection with the audience. As we’ve discovered, stories with the right attributes foster an intimate development of trust and confidence, one where the brand’s personality is personified through the story and users are engaged with the material.
If you want to create an effective brand story, there are three essential objectives that should be met:
Brand stories should illustrate how you relate to your audience and how your brand is going to positively impact their lives. It is essential for consumers and investors to feel emotionally aligned and understood in order for them to walk away with a sense of personal connection – as if the strategy was curated just for them.
Make it Simple
Simple storytelling naturally generates trust and understanding. The more complex a story is, the more likely your reader is to doubt or misinterpret the brand. Simple branding strategies encourage curiosity and allow the consumer to explore and digest the brand in a deep, thought-provoking and meaningful way.
Explaining to the consumer exactly what their challenge is, how your company can solve it and what makes you different not only solves what the consumer is looking for, but it demonstrates keen attention to details. Being supportive focuses a brand’s messaging on the target audience and shifts the conversation to how your company’s products or services directly benefit them.
This strong understanding allows you to empathize with clients on a deeper level, unlock the full power of SEO marketing and reach even more of the same demographic. Additionally, a concise definition of your target audience allows keyword research to be carried out more efficiently, revealing relevant search terms that can benefit your website further via optimization. Online tools like Google Analytics, SEMrush and Facebook Audience Manager are extremely reliable in this regard – identifying direct consumer interests effectively.
The Scrollytelling Trend
Branding experts synthesize scrollytelling as a new unique solution for an impactful, interactive website design. Effectively combining “storytelling” and “scrolling”, this dynamic method of information presentation provides a more engaging avenue for graphics, animations, texts and photos. Popular among modern day sites, scrollytelling has developed a space for brands to garner attention while also considering the narrowing attention-span of the every-day user.
A scrollytelling survey reported that out of 71 responses, 80% of respondents chose “pretty cool” or “LOVE LOVE LOVE” when presented with the unique feature.1
A clear example of investment industry scrollytelling can be found in Goldman Sachs’ landing page. Showcasing an immersive and engaging experience, Goldman effectively incorporates a rich array of media – text, illustrations, video and photos – to engage online readers and captivate their curiosity through various shapeshifting elements.
As this format continues to gain popularity, web designers are slowly departing from basic stories containing less visuals, to a more creative and dynamic website approach. With simple scroll-based websites – readers don’t have to second-guess what to click, open or swipe to view the full story anymore. Instead, multimedia, animation and image transitions are positioned into one dynamic environment, elevating information in a way that was once impossible with static PDF reports.
As news, media and content spread faster, financial and investment marketers are harnessing new avenues of technology to target specific audiences, build connections and ensure that consumers are receiving valuable information. With expanded metaverse pathways for distributing information, videos and social media – new age digitalization has allowed many firms to DIY their own online press engagement. Social media accounts, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, have turned into not only crucial gateways for developing clear public image, but are a key resource for scoping out journalists, engaging with clients and monitoring competitor activity.
Regression analysis has shown that trust is one of the strongest predictors of consumer satisfaction; and in terms of e-commerce, trust has the strongest impact on customer satisfaction in online shopping (ResearchGate).2
Building Virtual Reputation
The rapid transition into the digital space left many businesses struggling to develop a strong, trustworthy online persona. Now, more than ever, trust is vital in establishing and maintaining strong consumer relationships. Being mindful that audiences are living, breathing people is key to preserving the intimate online relation. It is also critical to reach out to clients regularly in a meaningful way, reminding them that they are valuable and integral to your greater picture. You want them to feel seen, heard and understood. Maintaining a strong, authentic brand reputation and authority is helpful in achieving this, and is an integral part of cementing trust within your client base.
Among global consumers, approximately 69% listed societal-focused concerns as critical to trusting a brand; with online fake news and false information being at the top of the list.3
The shift to the virtual workspace has left many firms requiring better, more genuine, digital-business personas. Online tools such as webinars, zoom calls and virtual workspaces have bloomed along with an increase in how to carryout authentic online communication and public relations—even in the highly regulated financial and investment industries. Some of the most effective examples include the following:
Emotional authenticity can be conveyed through a website by including videos and personalized messages, to directly communicating with the consumer. Personalized messages are becoming more crucial in the world of SEO, as well-written content not only drives a path to higher quality consumers, but greater business conversions as well.
Niche Trades and Podcasts
Focusing on compelling stories, and smaller, niche B2B trade publications or podcasts, allows for a greater audience outreach. When presented effectively, employees are a great way to establish powerful connections, deliver value to investors and win new business with the same level of value by speaking to audiences who will listen, and consumers that want to learn.
Social Consciousness and Empathy
As time progresses, the modern consumer is beginning to approach purchasing decisions with holistic attitudes. As noted in PR Daily, “People are looking for identity and purpose and someone to show them the way forward”.4 Not only are they accounting for social issues, such ESG investment standards, but they are also interested in identifying with products that add value to their interests. As a result, companies are going above and beyond their offerings, defining not only their involvement but the impact they make on world around them.
If you are interested in learning more about branding strategies, contact MBC Strategic, and discover how your firm can benefit from our expertise in today’s rapidly changing digital environment.
- The Past, Present, and Future of Scrollytelling
- Determinants of Online Customer Satisfaction in an Emerging Market–a Mediator Role of Trust
- Brand Trust Is Becoming More Important: Here Are Some Key Stats And Themes
- Post-pandemic, communicators must integrate the online and offline experiences