• Strategy

Financial Service Companies Struggle to Differentiate

Scott Snowden
Scott Snowden
Business & Technology Strategy
Write to Scott

The financial service industry is stereo-typically conservative. Many firms in this industry adopt the colour blue for their branding (it's the world's favourite colour). These companies often rely on operating "the way it's always worked." Perhaps it is no surprise to hear that we are often talking with clients about difficulties they face trying to stand out in this space.

Brand Purpose

"Our firm is about people"

"Active Portfolio Management"

"We enrich our clients"


Sound familiar?


Financial Service firms seem to stop their branding right there.

financial services graph _ flywheel blog image


(Source: Gallup Business Journal)


No longer is branding a corporate exercise. Social platforms give individuals an opportunity to brand themselves. Often, that personal brand is built inadvertently through the daily activity of sharing, commenting and liking things that emulate and represent your beliefs and values.


An individual's ability to seek and find ways to spend their money in ways that complement their own values have never been greater than it is today (and this will only continue). Similarly, companies themselves have corporate characters to reinforce through strategic partnerships - based on value alignment.


For clarity, this does not mean that every business should be a mission-driven organization with an overt social purpose .  Of course, that works appropriately for companies like Kiva. In contrast, QuestTrade has decided the core purpose of enriching their clients goes beyond the tagline and drives their mission to increase automation and lower fees.


Did you pick your tagline by listening to your clients or from introspection? How deep did you probe? Are those the qualities that your target client actually values How holistically does your company embody that purpose?

Communicating Your Message

Facebook - once the playground for college kids - now boasts that 63% of it's users are over 30. Those original users have grown up on Facebook and their networks continue to grow. Teens prefer other platforms now such as Snap and Instagram. All of these platforms are now news outlets themselves.


It used to be very easy to control your message. A well crafted press release was gladly regurgitated by the media. Today however, news has changed. The way we find it, read it, share it and publish it has been fundamentally affected by social media.


It is well past the time to relax the corporate restrictions on using social media.  And no, sharing your press release on LinkedIn is not a social strategy.

Integrated Strategy

At Flywheel we promote the benefit of an integrated strategy. Suffice to say that if your company can define a strong, core purpose it will naturally fuel your ability to amplify your message across many traditional and digital channels.

Author: Scott Snowden
Business & Technology Strategy 

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