It’s Not Business. It’s Personal.

I’m sure you’ve seen them. Posts on LinkedIn where folks admonish the individual to move their comments to Facebook – or another more ‘appropriate’ social platform. “LinkedIn is a business to business (B2B) platform,” they write. “Personal content belongs somewhere else.”

Surprisingly, the B2B world should be more personal and create more emotion.

In a recent research effort brought together by Google and CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council, marketing research firm Motista surveyed over 3,000 B2B buyers looking for insight into whether they purchase in a logical manner; a manner driven by process and devoid of feeling. The research offered up very interesting results:

B2B customers are significantly more emotionally connected to their vendors and service providers than consumers.

This actually makes perfect sense. B2B buyer’s jobs or organizations may be on the line with a purchase. They may be taking on enormous personal or professional risk. (B2C purchases are rarely career ending.)

Over the past six months, I have been speaking on the subject of branding. Specifically how the power of an emotionally connected brand brings real value to a financial advisor’s bottom line. “A well-executed brand and brand experience increases the perceived value of the services one provides,” I tell them. Well-executed brands garner love, trust and respect. They shift clients from static to ecstatic, who are now willing to talk well of you, and even pay more for your services.

The financial services industry is obviously a challenging place to build a brand. Put simply: we are in a PR meltdown. And the recent fiduciary rule underscores the underlying lack of trust. (In fact, the Edelman Trust Barometer reports that financial services continues to remain the most mistrusted industry in the world.)

People buy from people they know, like and trust.

We’ve known for years the value of a personal introduction or referral. Unfortunately this approach to sales and marketing is simply not scalable. Advisors wishing to move from an organic growth mode to an intentional growth effort must tackle the trust issue head on. This effort begins with a deeper look at their brand and brand experience.

In an upcoming book, Brand Admiration, the authors define brand admiration as “the psychological state of mind of customers who develop a meaningful connection with a brand.” They write that, “an admired brand maps to customers’ own needs, goals, and sense of self.”

Unfortunately, that’s difficult for most financial advisors to translate. It seems that they most often focus on the F word; forms, facts, figures, funds, fiduciary and fear! This approach does not translate into trust. In most cases, it creates a disconnection. No one comes to a conversation with an advisor begging to discuss fiduciary issues.

What to do now?

  • Back up and start from the beginning. Spend time remembering why you’re an advisor in the first place. What piece of your heart sings when you work with clients?
  • Consider your brand from an alternate perspective. Walk outside your office and walk back in as a prospective client. What might you feel and do?
  • Build a foundation of messaging that embraces an individual’s emotions and stories about money—ultimately building trust. We are our stories and feelings, not forms, facts and figures.
  • Get brave and courageous. Be willing to step outside of what you ‘think’ people want to hear from an advisor. Step into what you want people to ‘feel’ about you.
  • Know that we are also visual beings. Stop using imagery that makes no sense to your target market. Considering reaching out to Millennials? Skip the compass and map. Give up on the bank columns. And, avoid Cialis commercial models at all costs.
  • Believe and trust that a well-executed brand will bring value to the bottom line. This effort will take time. In the interim, read the research! An admired brand has deep resonance—that translates into real brand equity—with a direct impact on a company’s bottom line.

Learn more ways to create an unforgettable brand

P.S. Still don’t like those personal posts on LinkedIn? Instead of being annoyed or complaining, simply click the drop down arrow in the upper right corner of the post and select hide.

Finding Energy to Recharge Your Battery

Episode 64: Finding Energy to Recharge Your Battery
Guest: Debbie Pokornik

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Welcome back to the Women Rocking Wall Street Show. This week’s show is all about reconnecting with our feminine energy and to empower ourselves to live a vibrant and powerful life.

Debbie Pokornik on Women Rocking Wall Street

Debbie Pokornik

My guest this week is Debbie Pokornik, a women of many talents. She is a mother, natural health nut, dedicated dog owner, award-winning author and a passionate social worker. Debbie is also the Chief Empowerment Officer for her company Empowering NRG, which helps proactive moms create the vibrant and powerful life that they crave by guiding them to stand in their own power while at home, work or at play.

Debbie’s began her career working for school districts and helping them create programs for kids, parents, teachers and the community, with the purpose of bringing out the best in everyone. Debbie left in 2010 to write her first book, Break Free of Parenting Pressures: Embrace Your Natural Guidance and from there she wrote another book, Standing in Your Power: A Guide for Living Your Life Fully Awake.

Today, Debbie focuses on helping moms learn to recharge their batteries, which is necessary to live a vibrant and powerful life. When talking about a balanced person, Debbie highlights two types of energy that exist in everyone – divine masculine and divine feminine energy. While most of us associate each with a specific gender, Debbie say to think of them as an operating system, both pieces are equally important to both genders. When society perceives the feminine energy as weak, it actually weakens society as a whole because according to Debbie, the feminine energy is what recharges our batteries.

The key to success is finding time to reconnect with your divine feminine energy. Even if you think that you don’t have the time, it’s identifying those pleasurable moments that we experience each day and really focusing on that moment. The more you focus on them, the easier it becomes to notice those little moments rather than focusing on the difficult times. Also, make the time to get out in nature, which is a great way to reconnect with your feminine energy.

If you would like to learn more about Debbie, be sure to check out her podcast, Vibrant, Powerful Moms. Thanks for listening. If you liked what you heard, be sure to hit subscribe, share it with others and write us a quick review on iTunes.

Battling Inequality Through Words

Episode 63: Battling Inequality Through Words
Guest: Kelly Shikany

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Welcome back to the Women Rocking Wall Street Show! This week’s guest was spurred to contact me when she heard the Women Rocking Wall Street episode where I had the pleasure of interviewing Kathleen Burns Kingsbury about embracing being a female and not being afraid to ‘ski like a girl.’ As someone who has held different positions in the financial industry, Kelly Shikany is familiar with being the only female at the table and is now working to change public perceptions around women and finance.

Kelly’s first experience with gender inequality occurred while she was working at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Although she loved her job (in the late 80’s) it was not a female friendly workplace. Treated differently by colleagues as well as clients (some weren’t even interested in hearing a women’s voice), Kelly accepted both at the time because of the experience she was gaining. Kelly was aware what was going to happen and accepted it because she wanted the experience. However, today Kelly is glad to see that there has been substantial progress when it comes to women’s rights and has made it her mission to help mentor the next generation.

As a Financial Advisor at Lakeside Wealth Management, Kelly now has the pleasure of working with clients from across the United States. She spends her time building women’s confidence on their financial investments while battling the conception that women aren’t able to understand money. There have been many times where she has been sitting in a boardroom where complex concepts are being discussed and the presenter has said, “I’ll make it so easy that your mom will understand.” Whenever this happens, Kelly takes the time to speak to the presenter about not singling out women or using gender pronouns. It’s important to raise awareness so that the next generation has more confidence and doesn’t have to battle the gender issues.

For any women looking at getting into the financial industry, Kelly recommends joining the CFP mentorship program, known as WIN-to-WIN, which strives to build up female advisors. Also, don’t be afraid to share your knowledge and network so that there can be more females in the industry. If you would like to learn more about the work being done for women within the CFP program, tune into the Women Rocking Wall Street episode with Eleanor Blayney. If you would like to learn more about Kelly, you can connect through Lakeside Wealth Management’s Facebook and Twitter account.

Thank you for listening. If you liked what you heard, please write us a quick review on iTunes and share this with others whom you think might find it interesting or valuable.