A brand has six levels that it represents:
When the physical appearance of your people, your office, your collateral material and digital presence all have the same look and feel considering the six levels above, there is branding alignment. Branding alignment helps your identity stand out in the marketplace. If your identity does not consistently align to your brand positioning and values or is not distinct from your competitors, you may want to rebrand your organization.
Name - Logo - Tag Line - Signage - Website - Brochures - Social Media - Financial Plans
When you do not have brand alignment, it creates confusion. It is harder to convert prospects because they must work hard to understand your organization. Clients are less likely to refer you because this lack of clarity makes it harder to articulate.
There is also the idea of co-branding which happens when you refer someone to an attorney, host an event at a particular venue or have a guest speaker on a private webcast. These things reflect on your organization, so you need to be sure they match your brand.
This may be the easiest area to adjust because you can mostly outsource it.
As you develop your business plan, identifying the strategies needed to achieve the mission and the vision of the organization is necessary. When the tactical execution of the plan is out of alignment with the vision, it creates tension. Investing time and capital in correcting this type of misalignment can create big dividends.
Mission - Vision - Values - Strategy - Tactics - Tools
If you do not have the tools to achieve the vision, it is not likely to happen. If the values of the organization include honesty and integrity, but you tell your assistant to say you are in a meeting, while you are out on the golf course, there is a misalignment. Small as it may seem, this type of misalignment can undermine the organization and unintentionally create a message that you are not serious about the goals and values of the organization.
The leaders of the organization need to cast a vision consistently. Without vision, the people perish; it gives life to your team! A strong brand mantra not only helps concisely communicate your brand’s mission and the benefits of your services, but it also inspires both your employees and clients. The values of the organization should not be something that employees signed off on in the employee manual, but something that is lived out by every team member. Moreover, if you do not have the skills and tools to do the work, the vision is more of a mirage.
When what you are doing and accomplishing on a regular basis is aligned with your intended purpose you are in alignment with your organization. It will look like this:
Practice Goals - Culture - Job Description - Key Tasks - Model Week - Actual Calendar - Productivity Report
If you’d like to discuss any of the questions or adjustments in this article, connect with us. We are here to help you develop a well-aligned, great practice. Together, we can build some of these strategies into your project plan.
If you find you are in good alignment, let us know; you deserve a pat on the back!
Bernie DeLaRosa, CFP®, ChFC® CRPC®, CLU®, APMA®, CASL®, BFA™
Managing Business Consultant
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