Being Yourself: Why Brand Personification Increases Customer Engagement

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“Over the last twenty years, with the way technology has gone, there has been a lack of connection between brands and their customers. At the same time, social networks have become ubiquitous in everyday life. These social networks have stepped up, and are now the biggest way in which people stay connected. This means that brands need to find ways to connect with people using technology. That’s where personification comes in, it makes it possible to build that connection between a brand and a customer online.” – Marc Lamoureux

Brand personification is one of the biggest trends in digital marketing today. Seemingly every brand, from StubHub and Disney, to boutique B2B operations have been trying to figure out how they can more effectively personify their brand and engagements. To research the subject, I sat down with Veriday’s CEO, Marc Lamoureux, who has been working with companies who are looking to improve customer engagement using personal and scalable solutions.

When we think of a person, what do we think of? Naturally, we think of demographic descriptors to describe that person. Similarly, just as a person will have certain characteristics that define them, so will a brand.  

Why is this important? Because consumers are more likely to identify and stay loyal with brands that closely resemble themselves in terms of personality. So, how can we build our brand to connect our values and goals with those of our customers while having valuable conversations with them? This is where brand personification comes in.

What is Brand Personification?

Brand personification is a projective technique where people think about brands as if they were people, and describe how they would think and feel. Research suggests that personifying a brand and giving the brand distinct human qualities will help people connect better with the company. Similar to human relationships, this more personal connection can lead to a dialogue, and ultimately the formation of a loyal relationship.

When personifying your brand, you should focus on authenticity, painting an accurate picture of what you and your business represent. If you force characteristics on yourself that simply aren’t present in the organization, people will notice. Instead of forcing those characteristics on yourself, leverage your team to help tell stories that accurately reflect your brand and company culture.

Marketingwise, the goal of brand personification is to better connect your brand with values, goals, and customers. 66% of all customers want human interaction in their experiences.  In retail banking, fully engaged customers bring in 37% more annual revenue. It is clear that engaged customers are better customers, so it’s important to get to know our customers, and engage them in a personal way.

Challenges with Brand Personification

Brand personification has its challenges, especially in highly regulated sectors such as finance. As a dealer-broker or a financial advisor, you need to be aware of compliance rules and regulations, including how your brand and messaging fits in with those rules. For example, under FINRA, you must keep a record of all communications. While it is still possible to personify your brand under FINRA, you must be careful to maintain records of every single communication. Marc added:

“One of the perceived challenges of expanding your marketing programs and personifying your brand, through your people, is that it creates a really expensive burden on compliance reviews. In some sectors the burden is larger than in others. Regulators are asking financial service companies to vet every piece of content that is distributed to the public.”

While there are ways to streamline compliance challenges, it is still an inefficiency that needs to be dealt with at some point if you want to get your brand personification efforts off the ground.

The backlash it can cause is another concern regarding brand personification. In a study by Oregon State University, it was found that brands that have been “humanized” will often be held to higher standards than non-humanized brands. The study found that when something went wrong, humanized brands were seen as doing it on purpose.

These issues and concerns need to be taken into consideration when creating a personification strategy. However, If done carefully and effectively, humanizing your brand will increase customer engagement, loyalty, and retention.

How do Customers Respond?

In general, customers respond positively to brand personification. Human-to-human interaction is well received in a world that has become more and more automated and transactional, with technology solutions replacing human interactions.

Humanized branding allows brands to start a conversation with customers. Instead of strict, on-brand propaganda, starting a conversation can put a brand in a more favorable light. A brand that has engaged in personification has the opportunity to be seen as a friend, or at very least a member of the community, as opposed to being viewed as a faceless monolith. Consumers are naturally attracted to humanized brands that they can connect with. You can attract consumers to your business by having similar personalities, values, characteristics or beliefs to them.

In today’s competitive landscape, this extra opportunity to connect and engage with your customers is needed. Social media means that there is constantly a conversation happening online, and you need to be a part of it. If you aren’t there to tell stories about your brand and culture, to many you won’t exist.

Giving your brand human qualities helps you participate in the online conversation. Find your community, the group of people that you wish to do business with, and take part in their conversations. If your brand becomes a reliable and valuable information source for your community, they will grow to trust you.

Building the trust, nurturing the relationship and becoming part of the community can take some time. It is important to remember that social interactions can drive other behaviours. The work involved with developing authentic relationships with the community will pay off down the road.

What Benefits Does Brand Personification Bring?

Your business can see many tangible benefits by personifying your brand, as long as you do it authentically. Here are some ways in which personification can benefit your brand:

  1. Associates real people with your business.
    • Consumers prefer interactions where a real person is on the other end of the conversation.
  2. Differentiates yourself from the competition.

    • People tend to have positive associations with brands that were consistent with their own identity.
    • Your niche is more likely to do business with you if your brand has similar convictions as them.
  3. Aggregate strengths of real people to your brand.
    • Use the skills and personalities of your team to create a well-rounded brand persona.
    • Your brand can have all the skills and traits of your team.

Personifying Your Brand In Financial Services

In financial services, customers don’t want a 100% transactional relationship. There was a time when everybody knew the names of their bankers at their local bank. Today, this type of relationship with our customers is far less common. As technologies such as ATMs, telephone, online and mobile banking has become ubiquitous, relationships with customers have become less personal, less valuable, and less engaging than they once were. Technology has been putting the industry at risk of becoming too transactional, with a lack of humanization. Due to the sensitive and complex nature of the relationship, customers need to be able to trust their FinServ provider.

The only way to build relationships with customers (and potential customers) is by engaging with them in personal, relevant, and valuable ways. Connect to customers using your people and give your business a personality.

The only major difference in implementing brand personification techniques for financial services is the compliance aspect of it, which can be overcome using specific solutions in the marketplace.

Marc had a great anecdote to summarize brand personification when he said:

“Would you be more likely to engage with (the website) or engage with your friends on Facebook? We view brand personification as invoking the same strategy. A customer is more likely to engage with their friends or real people than a brand that they don’t know.”

The whole idea of personifying (or humanizing) your brand, is to gain that connection that used to be very common in all types of commerce. Back when the social relationship between two parties drove loyalty. Personifying your brand is a strategy for you to be seen as “the friendly neighbourhood RIA” or “the insurance broker down the street”.

What efforts have you gone through to personify your brand? Were those efforts worth it? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ. What topics do you want to learn more about? Let us know and we will take your suggestions into account.

Triple Bottom Line: What You Need To Know About Millennials

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“Kids these days…..” It’s a sentiment that is often passed around. Youth of today are often stereotyped as “lazy, entitled, and self-centered”. It is often stereotyped that some don’t have the drive of previous generations. Some think they are too idealistic, that their goals are impossible.

Well, I’m here today to tell you that maybe the problems aren’t with them. Maybe, as a group, millennials are just misunderstood. Millennials aren’t the same as previous generations. They were raised to think very holistically. With that upbringing came the awareness that every decision has an impact on the world in some way. Everything is an experience. Every decision makes an impact. Especially, when it comes to investing and consuming.

What do the members of the millennial generation really care about?

The truth is, they care about a lot of things. They want wealth, just like their parents and grandparents before them. Millennials also want to be stewards of the environment; protecting it, and bringing ecosystems back to full-strength. They want society to be fair and equal. The generation wants balance in what is known as the:

Triple Bottom Line

So, what is the “Triple Bottom Line” anyways? Triple Bottom Line (TBL) refers to an accounting framework that takes into account social, environmental, and economic performances instead of simply focusing on financial performance.

Previous generations were largely unaware of the severe impacts their activities were having on the environment. As a result, the environment was paid very little concern. Decisions were short-sighted and investments often were made in environmentally harmful industries. While investing in these industries is likely to pay off financially, the non-financial impacts of these investments have been extremely harmful. Thanks to environmental awareness, younger generations know that some industries (like oil and gas) have hugely harmful impacts on the world. With this knowledge, some are less likely to invest in something that, while making them a profit, will severely harm the environment.

Millennials also care about the social implications of investments and business decisions. They grew up in a turbulent time, seeing people lose their homes, jobs and savings in the 2008 recession. They saw the social impact that decisions by big bankers had on the average person. Millennials care about the social impact of decisions as well.

The youth of today have learned from their parents and grandparents missteps, with many thinking in a more holistic sense. Do you want to sell a millennial an investment portfolio (or convince them to use your business)? You will have to show them that your environmental and social performance is just as important to your company as your financial performance.

Environmental Performance

To have a chance at really attracting young clients to your advisory practice, you will need to demonstrate that you understand and are able to empathize with them. Many young people today believe sustainability is a core business concern. If you want to attract millennials to your business, you could make sustainability a part of your brand.

Millennials would pay slightly more for eco-friendly products (Pew Research), and that logic should carry over to investments. If you can show millennials that you wish to make a positive difference in the environment, you can align yourself with their interests, wants, and needs. This method of alignment is much easier (and more effective) than simply by promoting pure wealth. “Green” investment packages, with no oil, gas, automotive, or tobacco investments, should be quite attractive to some millennials.

A major issue that has to do with branding your environmental efforts has to do with “greenwashing”. If you claim to offer environmentally friendly products, or investment packages, but simply repurpose another product and claim it to be green, millennials will notice. The group has grown up in a time of unprecedented environmental awareness, and it will damage your brand’s reputation if you are perceived as greenwashing.

One way to use causes to help attract millennials to your business is through content and branding. It may help to share your views on being inclusive, open-minded and environmentally conscious. If you genuinely believe in doing right by your clients, this branding should come easily, positioning their core concerns as a part of your business.

Social Performance

A major critique of millennials is the sentiment that “they are all special snowflakes”. The generation cares about others. They want people to be treated the way they want to be treated and called what they want to be called. They want people to not be discriminated against based on who they are.

Millennials really care about cause-related initiatives. They will respond positively when a company takes interest in a social or environmental cause, with 75% of millennials saying it’s important that a company gives back to society. Millennials have surpassed simply wanting help in supporting causes and are starting to demand that others, especially companies, do their part. If you do your part, you will be rewarded.

Millennials will appreciate your commitment to environmental and social responsibility. After learning that a company is socially or environmentally responsible:

  • 83% are likely to trust the company more
  • 79% are likely to purchase that company’s products
  • 74% are more likely to pay attention to that company’s message because it has deep commitment to a cause

An excellent example of a company using positive social influence to sell their product is Toms (a shoe company). Toms does their part in giving back to society, giving a child in need a free pair of shoes for every shoe sold. This is a core aspect of the company and a contributor to its rapid growth. Millennials want  the world to be a better place. By offering investment opportunities that focus on socially responsible industries, companies and bonds, you may be able to sway a millennial to invest with you. Maybe for every dollar you make in fees (from a certain package) a portion gets donated to a village in need. Maybe you have your own idea to make social responsibility a core part of your investment options. As long as you are genuine about the cause, social responsibility should come easy.

Economic Performance

There is a reason why economic performance is the last (and very much least) of the three categories. Every business tries to have a competitively priced offering with a well developed business case. This will not help differentiate you from your competitors. You still need strong financial arguments, because very few people will willingly take a very bad deal simply because of the quality of environmental and social benefits.

At the end of the day, these millennials want a financially successful future. They want to own homes. Millennials want to be able to take long vacations and travel the world. They will need a strong financial portfolio with fair prices to achieve these goals. In this category, millennials are not much different from previous generations.

So, in order to cater to the youth of today (and tomorrow) you will have to think about aspects of your business that are non-financial. One way to connect with a millennial is through content marketing. Discuss your own passion for a cause on your blog, or create another form of content that speaks to their needs or interests. This may intrigue a young investor, motivating them to start a conversation with you about that topic.  Offer environmentally friendly investment options, and show that you and your business care about making the world a cleaner place. Then, write, speak, dance and sing about those topics, posting the resulting content to your blog.

By making business decisions that have minimal adverse social impacts, and being conscious to social issues, will help open a discussion with youth. Simply offering better prices or rates has been the end-all be-all tactic of attracting new clients. That time is coming to the end. Modern youth don’t simply make decisions based on the 4Ps (price, product, promotion, place). There is a social decision-making model in place that is revolutionizing business.

Attracting Millennials

To attract millennials, you will need to demonstrate a strong commitment to social, environmental and, economic success. Your content strategy should involve creating content about subjects that millennials value, are interested in, and that relate to their financial challenges. For example, you could create content on getting out out student debt, or educate them on financially literacy. 

Speak in the currency they value; learn about their goals and passions, where they are in life and what they want to do with their life. They value experiences over all else, so develop alternative strategies to attract their business. As a financial advisor, your topic is wealth and management. However, you can place it in the context of what Millennials value — experiences, or the experiences that they will miss out on should they fail to manage their money. Instead of writing about retirement planning or to buying a house, you could write about saving for a vacation or starting a non-profit.

Tie experiences back to social and environmental responsibility and you will be in a great position to build trusting relationships with millennials.


What do you think about our reasons to consider the triple bottom line in your advisory firm? Do you agree with the sentiment that youth of today are fundamentally different from previous generations? Will the kids in school today be fundamentally different from the millennials? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter @VeridayHQ. Remember, soon the youth will inherit the world’s wealth. It’s time to cater to them.

The Importance of Consistent Branding for Financial Advisors

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Every company, individual, and Advisory Firm has a brand, even if they don’t pay much attention to it. Simply put, a brand is everything to do with you and your company: who you are, what you stand for, what services you offer, your goals, values, personality, and so much more. It is the feeling that is evoked by your customers and prospects when they think of your company. A good brand is built over time and requires thought, strategy, and consistent implementation. Consistent branding for financial advisors is just as important (if not more important) as branding for any other business.

Keeping a consistent brand can be pretty straightforward, but first, let’s discuss the benefits that come with consistency.

Consistency helps you manage perceptions

With a well thought, well built, and consistent brand, you’re better able to shape how people perceive your practice with every interaction they have with you. A consistent brand exudes professionalism, stability, organization, which in turn will help build trust.

Consistency sends a stronger message

A focused effort to maintain consistent branding and messaging across all of your business activities can help to deliver a positive impression to your audiences. But first, you’ll need to think about how you want your brand to be perceived. What do you want people to know about you? Are you reliable and focused? Do you follow through? Do you provide your clients with amazing results? Having consistency with your brand will amplify your message and build loyalty with your prospects and clients.

Consistency protects your investment

Logos don’t come cheap – and neither does all of the marketing material you may have containing your logo. It is important to build equity in your brand by implementing it consistently whether that is online, in print, or at events. Sloppy application of logos and messaging can be very detrimental to your brand. Value what your brand represents for your organization.

Keeping a consistent brand

This can be fairly straightforward, so long as you put in the effort to ensure that your branding is consistent throughout all of your business and marketing activities. That means that you are implementing your brand consistently for:

  • Merchandise
  • Letterheads
  • Your website
  • Business cards
  • Social media accounts
  • Tone and language
  • And so much more

In the digital age, branding your company so it stands out from others couldn’t be more important. When done right, your brand has the ability to attract and retain new clients. Keeping a consistent brand can help you manage your audiences’ perceptions of you, send a stronger message to clients and prospects, and save you money in the long run.

 Are you paying attention to your brand? If not, maybe it’s time to start.

3 Reasons every Financial Advisor needs a Logo

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Logos…almost every company has one.  A company’s logo is a recognition tool for the public to link their services or products to the company.  If designed effectively, a logo can represent the unique selling proposition of a company.  As a Financial Advisor, with many competitors offering similar services, it is important to have a memorable logo that represents your Advisory Firm, and makes you stand out from the crowd. Great logos are recognizable in a blink and should also make a lasting impression.

We previously spoke about the importance of building a strong brand as a Financial Advisor.   This article will take a look at 3 ways a creative and unique logo can help your Advisor Firm succeed. 

  1. Builds trust and recognition

Some companies have been branded so effectively that individuals only need to see elements of their logo to recognize the brand. Think about McDonald’s. The golden arches are so familiar that they no longer need the text “McDonald’s” for you to recognize that the symbol represents this monstrous fast food chain.

Having a well-designed logo can help you build trust. Think about the way you would perceive a business if you were to compare the following logos:

 Digital Agent

 Digital Agent by Veriday Logo

When you have a well-designed logo, people are more likely to perceive your business as legitimate and want to do business with you. A logo that looks like it was designed in Microsoft Word or Paint may result in people questioning your professionalism and how well you’re able to deliver your core services as an Advisor.

2. Attracts new clients

On a day-to-day basis, we encounter hundreds of logos. The best logos are the ones that stand out from the rest. Continuously exposing people to your logo can help build familiarity with your business. You can do this by using your logo consistently through:

  • Letterheads
  • Your website
  • Business cards
  • Your social accounts
  • Marketing materials
  • And so much more

The more recognizable your brand is to prospects, the easier it will become for you to attract new clients.

3. To build a brand identity

Cultivating a strong brand is crucial to your businesses’ success, both online and off. There is a lot that goes into building a brand and shaping how others perceive you and your business, including your logo. We are now in a day and age where people will make purchase decisions based off of emotional connections. Building a strong brand identity can help build value for your business.

Your logo should be clear and easy to read. Sometimes, organizations have more than one version of a logo depending on what it is being used for.

A few things to keep in mind when designing your logo…

Don’t cut corners

A lot of brands try to play it fast and loose with logos and aren’t willing to pay a sufficient amount for a properly designed logo. A logo is a great one-time investment because it’s with your business throughout its entire lifespan (unless you decide to rebrand).

Be detail-oriented

Sometimes, brands will make the mistake of not paying close attention to the use of their logo and how it is used. Is your logo properly sized and positioned to each piece of marketing material you use? Does the specific image you’re using look pixelated once it’s expanded?


A great logo should:  identify a brand, make it stand out and, ideally, drive customer interest and sales. If you’re interested in a consultation to see if a professionally designed logo is the right move for you, feel free to contact us.

Build an Advisor Brand That Makes you Stand Out

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What comes to mind when you think about Coca-Cola?

You may be thinking “a popular beverage”. But, when it comes to their brand, it’s more than just a beverage company. Coca-Cola sells happiness, togetherness, and positive emotions.

So, when it comes to deciding between buying a Coca-Cola product or a Pepsi product, both are popular beverages and in the same realm. What pushes people to decide is often the emotional connection an individual has to that brand.

A brand is everything to do with you and your company: who you are, what you stand for, what services you offer, your goals, values, personality, and more.  A brand lives and evolves in the minds and hearts of potential clients.  It is a fostered set of emotions and ideas consumers associate with your company.

Cultivating a strong brand is crucial to your businesses’ success, both online and off. There is a lot that goes into building a brand and shaping how others perceive you and your business; from customer testimonials to your value proposition.  Seeing that we are now in a day and age where people will make purchase decisions based off of emotional connections, building a strong brand identity can help build value for your business.

Just as a brand can drive its prospects to pick them over a similar competitor, your personal brand can drive your prospects to pick you over other Financial Advisors.

So, ask yourself:

  1. What does my personal brand say about me?

Your personal bio is the most powerful branding tool you have. In Mitch Joel’s book Ctrl Alt Delete, he talks about “digital first”. This concept emphasizes that the first place we learn about things (and people) is online. This means that, often times, an individual’s first impression of you will be based around how you carry yourself online. Your personal bio is one way to communicate who you are without having to be face to face with prospects and clients.

On a broader scale, what you communicate on your website and social media defines how you (and your brand) will be perceived by an audience. When you promote yourself as a Financial Advisor, you’re promoting what’s on the surface of your brand. But, what makes you unique and sets you apart from other Advisors? Do you promote yourself with the idea that you are a unique brand, such as “Coca-Cola”; a brand that sells happiness, togetherness, and other positive emotions, or just “a popular beverage”? If you’re selling your services by sharing your valuable knowledge with your audience, people will start to build trust with your brand.

  1. What do I WANT my personal brand to say about me?

Are you family-oriented? Do you specialize in a niche area of Financial services like retirement planning? Are you a fan of a specific sports team? Do you use your interests to better connect with clients? If being family-oriented is something that you want to be portrayed to your audience, use images that focus on that throughout your website. Use images and create content that further demonstrate your understanding of your niche market. You can use also social media to humanize your brand further by celebrating your favourite sports team’s success. There are so many ways to create a well-rounded personal brand that is true to who you are and what your advisory firm is all about.

Take a minute and think about what you want people to think (and say) about you and your business. Do you want them to see you as someone that is strictly business or someone that wants to get to know their clients on a more personal level? Even with a digital shift, human interactions are still very important to sales and business processes. A prospect or clients experience with you online (and off) should feel personalized and human. You want prospects and clients to connect and relate to your brand on an emotional level. Giving your audience a solid sense of who you are may make them more willing to trust you as an Advisor, which is particularly important in this industry and when competing with other Advisors.


What does your brand say about you? Can you identify your values, goals, or uniqueness from what you’ve put online? Remember that a brand is not what you say it is, but rather what your consumers say it is. At the end of the day, do you want to promote yourself as a unique brand, such as Coca-Cola, or just a popular beverage? In other words, do you want your brand to connect with your audience on an emotional level, or be seen as just another Financial Advisor?