August 2003

Building Brand Loyalty
By Peter Montoya

People often make purchasing decisions based on how a brand makes them feel emotionally rather than based on quality or other objective evaluations. If “Just Do It” strikes a chord with an athlete, he’ll buy Nike; the decision may have little to do with quality.

This rule applies to financial services as well. A company with a positive brand identity—something that creates an instant reaction in its audience—will attract clients and maintain its client base, in good times and bad.

Naming Names

Charles Schwab was just another stockbroker until he turned his name into a brand and sent Wall Street reeling with discount brokerage services. He understood a powerful marketing principle: differentiation. But more important, Schwab saturated the media with his name, face, and company identity. Years later, Schwab is perhaps the best-known name in finance to millions of Americans.

The following are the fundamental principles of building a brand:

Case study. Margolin, Winer & Evens, an accounting firm of 25 partners and 200 staff based in Garden City, N.Y., is a good example of a business with a focused rebranding campaign. According to the Electronic Accountant, Margolin, Winer & Evens’ campaign includes a new logo, new brochures, a revamped website, and a new motto: “Turning vision into value.”

A cornerstone of the campaign is its advertising theme, “The power of WE,” which incorporates the firm’s initials. Margolin, Winer & Evens zeroed in on attributes that differentiated it from competitors and what markets it wanted to be in, then appointed champions for each marketplace to, in Selinger’s words, “go out and become known.”

Master Plan

Elements of a thorough marketing plan include the following:

Marketing Always Has an Effect

Marketing is rarely neutral. It usually either enhances a business or makes it appear foolish or ineffectual.

Here are five tips for making the most of branding:

Peter Montoya is president of Peter Montoya Inc., a personal branding agency.

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