Brand strategy: The true Mad Men approach to hedge fund marketing

Mad Men approach to hedge fund marketing and brandingA recent Financial Times article pointed out the hesitancy of many hedge fund managers to start utilizing a “Mad Men approach” to marketing, meaning full-on television and print advertising campaign strategies that promote their firms’ services to investors and the public. This comes after the SEC lifted regulations that previously prevented hedge funds from using traditional marketing channels to promote their services.

But despite this newfound freedom, it was cited that in a recent poll of over 200 hedge fund managers, only 1% said they plan to launch advertising campaigns in the coming year. The vast majority plan to hold out on hedge fund marketing due to regulatory discrepancies, and fear of diluting images of exclusivity that some firms may have. It is worth pointing out, however, that hedge funds still need to develop the right brand identity and brand strategy, which is often a precursor to any other kind of traditional investment company marketing and advertising efforts.

Even with hedge funds, having a clear brand that defines the firm’s identity, values, and how it is relevant to investors is a far more fundamental asset than any single hedge fund TV or print campaign. A hedge fund’s brand can help differentiate and make services more open and accessible to the right investor pool, as well as reinforcing an image of exclusivity for sophisticated investors. Furthermore, hedge fund managers can begin forming their hedge fund brand strategy now, and subsequently build hedge fund marketing efforts around the identity that they form.

The current state of hedge fund marketing provides a clear opportunity for hedge funds to get a head start on hedge fund website design and hedge fund public relations before competitors do the same. Thinking strategically about the message your hedge fund brand is currently sending to investors and potential investors is definitely the most Mad Men approach in the New Year.