Give us your toughest questions on how to market your fund. We'll give you no-nonsense opinions and insights to help build your brand and grow AUM.
About January's Question
Marketing is what you do. Brand is who you are. (Itís not your firmís name and logo.) Asset managers need to understand that brand perceptions must be thoughtfully designed and consistently managed. The tangible payoff for funds that understand and invest in building brand integrity is a higher level of interest and credibility from current and prospective investors. Itís a key to asset growth thatís either misunderstood or overlooked.
Gordon G. Andrew
Andrew + Selikoff Partners
- Transparency: Is information regarding your fund’s investment philosophy, processes and people available and easily accessible? (Acid Test: How much digging is required to gain a basic understanding?)
- Consistency: Is all information kept up-to-date, and relevant to current market conditions? Does bad news get communicated to your existing investors as quickly and openly as good news? (Acid Test: What’s the frequency of content generation, and the number of direct and indirect “touches” with target audiences?)
- Enthusiasm: Does your fund appear genuine and enthusiastic about communicating with external audiences? Or does communication appear to be treated as a necessary evil? (Acid Test: How often are innovation and fun baked into those efforts?)
- Values: Are your fund’s core values expressed in a compelling manner? More importantly, are those values demonstrated through its actions? (Acid Test: Are they aspirational and inspirational? Is there tangible evidence that values really drive decision-making?)
- Clarity: Are explanations clear, devoid of technical jargon or mystery, and easily understood by all outside audiences? (Acid Test: Would an 8th grader get it?)
- Culture: Is there a visible common culture, beyond shared academic credentials or charitable activities? Are there tangible signs that all employees are valued, have a unified vision and enjoy working together? (Acid Test: Other than the annual mud run photo, do employees appear to be engaged as a team?)
- Associations: Who and what are the people, organizations, ideas and causes associated with your firm? Are those associations respected, credible and trustworthy? (Acid Test: Is the firm actively connected with the outside world?)
- Validation: How is your fund’s value proposition confirmed by objective 3rd parties? Do reliable sources express open support or inherent endorsement? (Acid Test: Do credible media sources cover the company? Do investors identify themselves by name and company?)
- Leadership: Are efforts made to share / promote your fund’s intellectual capital in a helpful manner that’s not directly self-serving? (Acid Test: Do other opinion leaders reference your fund’s ideas or contributions? Are white papers just poorly disguised sales collateral?)
- Persona: Does your firm appear to be run by interesting human beings, or hide its personality behind an opaque, institutional veneer? (Acid Test: Does the overall impact of public-facing communication project warmth and sincerity, or distance and arrogance?)
Marketing tactics aside, fund managers looking for a guiding principle on brand integrity are well-served by heeding the advice of the late John Wooden, basketball coaching legend, who said, ďBe more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.Ē
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