4 Keys to Building A Solid Advisor Transformation Program

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Customer expectations are evolving as rapidly as technology. Because of this constant evolution, brands need to adapt how they interact with their customers. Financial organizations are turning to their advisors as an additional marketing channel. However, to adopt this sort of marketing strategy requires implementation of new technologies and processes. This is why it is important for any organizations to be agile in order to get behind these evolving strategies and to implement transformational programs.

If you have decided to take the next step and implement an advisor marketing program, we want to provide you with 4 keys to building a solid advisor transformation program. The 4 keys are: connecting strategy to transformation, get adoption in check, positioning for growth, and check your vendor surroundings. Let’s dive in…

Connecting Strategy to Transformation

If you are looking to improve your advisor marketing because you want to use a platform with name recognition or to try a different platform, you may be setting yourself up for failure. To properly implement a transformational program, it needs to be closely linked to the organizational strategy. To ensure the transformation and strategy are connected, these are some questions you will want to ask:

– What does the end look like?

○    Can you visualize what your programs will look like after achieving full transformation? If you cannot visualize it, you probably haven’t connected the transformation to the strategy.

– Is there a clear link between the transformation and a tangible business objective?

○    Regardless of what the objective may be, if the transformation is not tied to that objective, it will be difficult to apply tactics to reach that goal.

– Do you have a decision-making framework?

○    Having a proper framework will help you stay agile and determine when to take on new initiatives.

For example, these are some of the key questions we use at Veriday when working with our clients to help establish a decision-making framework.

Get Adoption in Check

After you have implemented your transformational strategy that will accommodate new initiatives, it is important to understand adoption. Look to document the most important user actions that equate to a business value. Whether it’s a single action or a process, the purpose it to equate “Action A” to “Business Value Y”.

After creating this adoption checklist of the important user actions, ensuring that these actions can be measures is crucial as it enables the program success to be quantified and keep the checklist simple. Furthermore, the list of user actions should be kept small. Don’t go overboard – only keep a list of 3 to 5 actions. In keeping the list small, it will result in a greater ability to measure the actions. In keeping this checklist to monitor adoption overtime, it is important to measure at an established frequency and consistency. If the list becomes too large, the frequency will suffer.

In the simplest terms, here is how we may measure adoption and their impact on the business.

– Advisor wrote a blog post = 70% traffic increase in organic traffic

– Reviewed a piece of content = 10% increase in review times

– Create a new lead form = 60% forms are lead-based

– Size of their email list = 50-60% open rates

Positioning for Growth

The goal of implementing any new program regardless of industry or department is business growth. To ensure your organization is lined up to grow after the transformational program, these of some key question to ask.

– How many different departments or groups are aware of your advisor marketing program?

– How many different departments or groups participate in your advisor marketing program

– Are the conversations meaningful?

Check Your Vendor Surroundings

The fourth and final key to building a solid advisor transformation program is examining your vendor options. Take the time to critically examine your vendor ecosystem and what their strategic fit is within various marketing areas. Some questions you will want to ask about your current, as well as future vendors are:

– Do your technology vendors have a roadmap?

○  Have they seen your organizat    ion’s roadmap?

– Have they shown you their roadmap?

– Have they aligned their roadmap to yours?

– Are your vendors adaptable to changes?

As you start to implement a transformational program, the adoption and success of the program remain unknown. Only until it’s in the wild, will you know how it will be received by customers. For this reason, it is important that your vendors are agile to these changes.


3 Essential Elements of the Best Omnichannel Experiences

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At Veriday, we recognize the value of an excellent customer experience. Our digital marketing platform, Digital Agent, helps financial agents offer an excellent, omnichannel experience to their customers and audience alike. Today, we will examine the three main elements of an omnichannel experience. An omnichannel experience means users can interact with your business however they want. This type of experience gives marketers in-depth insights on their customers, leading marketers to be more effective at content marketing.

Omnichannel - Liferay

1. Anytime, Anywhere, Any Device

The ability for the experience to take place on any device at any time is more important than ever. End-users should be able to access information at any time, using any channel. Users should be able to log in on their mobile device, browse content on their bus ride home and finish their tasks on their desktop when they get home.

This type of experience benefits customers by reducing inter-channel friction. If the user needs a login to access parts of the website, the information they provide allows them to pick up where they left off. 

The difference between omnichannel and multichannel experiences is that there is true back-end integration between channels. An omnichannel experience provides opportunities to track users across devices to get a holistic understanding of every interaction they have with your brand, adding vast quantities of data to your buyer profiles. The data will help your brand target relevant content to users because you will have more accurate insights.

2. Complete Buyer Profile

The second element that defines a true omnichannel experience is a complete, data-driven buyer profile. Having back-end integration between platforms provides data that will allow marketers to create more accurate buyer profiles.

A complete, data-driven buyer profile will include information such as:

  • What article they read last
  • What time of day do they visit the website
    • Also, what time-zone they are located
  • What forms they have filled out
  • Have they clicked any CTAs?
  • Have they made any purchases?
  • How did they get to your website?
    • Search engine, direct, social media?
  • Whether they read emails and other communications
    • Do they do so in a timely manner?
  • And much more.

This information can be elusive if the technology solution hosting your website (or portal, intranet, extranet or app), does not have the needed analytic capabilities built-in the solution. If you can access and analyze the rich data provided by multiple sources, your marketing team can create and target content at the right members of the audience.

3. Relevant Content

The final element of an omnichannel experience is targeted relevant content. Without content, you cannot add value to the conversation, provide important information to your audience, or influence purchase decisions. Content is the lifeblood of any marketing strategy.

An omnichannel experience provides marketers with insights, gleaned from customer data. Having a cross-section of what content a user has consumed, how long they stayed on particular pages, and how they access the content (e.g. what device? how did they get to that content? etc.) allows marketers to target relevant content to potentially interested audience members.

There are several content strategies that data can help inform:

  • Create content that focuses on topics that your target audience has shown an interest in.
  • Recommend video content to users who frequently access your website with a mobile device.
  • Update content that frequently causes visitors to leave your site.
  • Create demos, tours and other interactive content types with particular segments of your audience in mind.
    • Find common archetypes based on what content they have viewed, what forms have been filled out and whether newsletters have been signed up for.

An omnichannel experience lets marketers be more effective at creating content thanks to data-driven insights provided by cross-device integration.

Why Omnichannel?

Omnichannel experiences are so beneficial because it enables marketers to gain a better understanding of their audience and themselves. Firstly, omnichannel marketing is more successful than single-channel campaigns. In a survey of more than 1,000 businesses, InfoTrends documented that the more channels used in a given campaign, the more effective the message.

Secondly, it gives marketers the ability to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of their marketing channels. Do certain channels consistently provide more leads than others? Are your Youtube videos gaining more attention than posts on your blog? That type of information can help marketers make better decisions and create more effective content.

Thirdly, and most importantly, omnichannel experiences are so valuable because it lets your audience consume content in whatever fashion they want. This improves their experience and increases the likelihood that when that user is ready to make a purchase, they will make it through your business! 

Are you interested in providing your customers with an excellent omnichannel experience? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ or on LinkedIn.

5 Important Facts About Engagement from Mobile Devices

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Mobile devices are owned by 2.3 billion people worldwide. The device that is constantly in everyone’s pocket is a fantastic channel for marketers to create engagements. Why are mobile channels such an exciting opportunity for marketers?

1. The average smartphone user picks up their device 85 times per day.

Those 85 views lead to a total of five hours of browsing the web and using apps. That is a lot of opportunities to create opportunities for mobile engagement with mobile ads, branded apps, text messaging and email newsletters.

20% of millennials (aged 18-34) don’t even use a desktop anymore, having fully committed to the “mobile-only” lifestyle. Having their device with them at all times allows people to be more connected, able to be reached with emails, messages, and advertisements at all times.

This connectivity allows marketers to make more timely, location-based offers to their audience, opening up a world of mobile possibilities.

2. Mobile purchases and payments will be worth $500 billion by 2020.

People are increasing the frequency in which they use smartphones to make payments and purchases. According to HubSpot, mobile commerce will command 24.4% of overall e-commerce profit by the end of 2017. It’s projected that in-store mobile payments will cross the $500 billion thresholds by 2020, with 150,000,000 users at that time.

Marketers can take advantage of technology by offering perks, extras or deals for people using mobile payments mixed with a healthy dose of location-based targeting to provide even more offers to the customer in-store to motivate sales.

3. Text messages have an open rate of 98%.

Text messages have an open rate of 98%, with up to 90% of text messages being opened less than a minute after receiving it. This open rate is far higher than the open rate in email marketing. 32 percent of people respond to SMS offers, with texted coupons redeemed ten times more often than traditional coupons.

Marketers can make targeted, timely and personalized offers to prospects through mobile channels. Giving people timely, relevant offers and notifications can improve their satisfaction and lead to more sales.

4. Mobile devices are the most common starting point for online activities.

Mobile devices are the most common starting point for online activities. 65% of users start with a mobile device when searching for information online. Those findings make sense because people are always connected with their mobile device. When a query crosses their mind, they can easily search for answers. As-a-result, Google ranks mobile-friendly websites more favorably than non-optimized sites.

To capitalize on the increasing share of mobile searches, marketers need to make sure their website has a responsive design. A responsive website will detect what device is being used, and automatically tailor the content of the site to the specific device, reducing clutter and make the web experience cleaner on mobile devices.  Every website we make with our product Digital Agent is created with responsive design. This article provides fantastic information on the importance of responsive design.

5. People consume an average of 86 minutes of mobile content per day.

There are many ways people can consume content on mobile devices. Apps, mobile-friendly websites, email, text messages and social media provide channels for consumers to access and share content. People consume an average of 86 minutes of content per day on mobile devices.

There are several things that need to be considered to ensure content is successful.

  1. It has to look good on a small screen
  2. The content should be “light,” not requiring a significant amount of time to consume
  3. It should be highly shareable, existing either in an app or on social media

Youtube videos, short blog posts, content within a mobile app perform better on mobile devices than they do on desktops. It’s an exciting opportunity for marketers to create content that can capture mobile users attention.

In conclusion, it’s important to be aware of mobile channels when creating content.

That’s it, five reasons that mobile channels are important for marketers. If you liked this blog post, and want to learn more about digital marketing, content marketing or technology solutions for marketers, follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ or LinkedIn.

How Digital Experiences Create Personal Connections

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According to a Walker study, by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. This shift means, to stay competitive and retain your customer base, your brand will need to work towards providing a better customer experience (CX).

In 2017, consumers are using mobile devices to research and interact with businesses at a never-before-seen rate. They now expect a seamless omnichannel experience, where your business is available through whichever channel the customer prefers.

That means the onus is now on businesses, across all industries (but especially in financial services), to provide better mobile and digital experiences.

Today, we will examine why creating personal connections through digital and mobile experiences is so critical to financial services professionals in the modern world.

Great Digital Experiences Create Connections

Brands need to utilize digital channels to foster personal relationships between their business and its customers. There was once a time where relationships could be built between a business and their customers based purely on in-person interactions. Those days are no more. Today, a strong digital presence is required to create personal connections with your clients.

47% of millennials claim that social media has helped introduce them to new brands. A whopping 71% are more likely to buy from brands they ‘like’ on Facebook or follow on Twitter. These stats help illustrate a growing trend for marketers; that research and purchase decisions are made using digital channels.

It’s not just millennials who are making the move to digital. All generations are using online content, social media, and web searches to research products and services. If you can provide a customer an answer on social media, if you have a beautiful, informative website, or an engaging blog, you will leave a positive impression on potential clients. If you can leave a positive impression on somebody, they might begin to follow you on social media, liking and sharing your content and joining online discussions. At that point, your followers are promoting your business for you.

The whole process is similar to getting referrals, only instead of clients recommending you to their networks (cousins, friends, etc.), the recommendations are made to their social networks by liking, sharing, and otherwise interacting with you online. This process creates a personal connection, as the person you provided a valuable answer to, now feels as if they have a relationship with your brand. In 2017, relationships between businesses and consumers are built mostly online.

Personalized Digital Experiences are Valuable and Expected

A study in the academic journal, Brain Research, found that people react differently when hearing their name instead of somebody else’s name. There is activity in all parts of the brain when a person hears their name. People react differently when spoken to directly, and you can use this insight when creating your digital strategy. 

A personalized digital experience will make your customer feel special. This personalized experience will develop a sense of brand intimacy. More than 85% of mobile marketers report success with personalization, leading to higher engagement, revenue, and conversions. As a result, consumers have begun to expect personalized experiences online.

56% of consumers are more likely to shop with retailers who offer a personalized experience, and a whopping 74% get frustrated by seeing content that doesn’t match their interests. That frustrated reaction is similar to what would occur during a poorly executed in-person interaction.

Imagine if you were having a conversation with a financial service professional about getting approved for a mortgage. Throughout the conversation, the financial service professional kept bringing the conversation back to why you need a credit card. It’s likely that you would become frustrated by the attempts to have you sign up for a credit card. The same reasoning applies to digital experiences. If a brand continually produces and shares content about topics you have no interest in, you will eventually become frustrated and stop following that brand.

Not personalizing your digital marketing and communication efforts will result in frustrating your audience. That frustration will eventually cause you to lose the chance to build a personal connection with that customer.

Fostering Personal Connections Through Digital Experiences

So the question now becomes, how can a brand build personal connections with their clients through digital experiences? All things considered, there are a few ways to do it:

  • Provide Access to Real People Online

One way you can foster personal connections with customers is by providing access to employees online. Providing customers access to real people can easily be accomplished by providing a name and contact information to relevant employees. Instead of a “black-box” email form, where the client needs to fill out their information and describe the nature of their problem, provide an email address attached to a real person so they can contact them directly. In fact, the most requested improvement from customers was “better human service.” 

Providing access to real people online will allow customers to feel personally connected to your business. Therefore, the customer will feel connected because they know they are interacting with a person. Our article, Don’t Eliminate Human Interaction speaks to the need for the “human touch” in your business and how you can provide those interactions.

  • Personalized Communications

Personalizing communications has never been easier. Thanks to a variety of automation platforms, you can personalize newsletters and share content only with relevant audiences. As stated above, people react differently when addressed by their name. It evokes a personal connection that does not occur from generalized communications. Personalization has evolved beyond just placing the recipient’s name at the beginning of an email; now personalization involves crafting messages that will speak to an individual’s unique interests.

You can utilize consumer data to target communications and marketing efforts on a one-to-one level. Consumer data can come from a variety of sources. It can come from anywhere, from forms on your website to data gathered from tracking systems (IP addresses, etc.). For more information on using data to segment and target your audience, check out our article: You Don’t Know Your Customer…. Because You Haven’t Asked.

  • Use Social Media to Make Your Voice Heard

Social media platforms are some of the most effective tools for creating personal connections with your audience. Over 69% of adults in the United States use social media. There is a very high likelihood that your target audience uses at least one social media platform.

You can use these platforms to share informative content with your target audience. A study by AOL/Nielsen showed that 27 million pieces of content are shared every day. You can reach out, and provide your target audience with relevant content that will help educate them about topics of interest. Getting the information directly from their financial services professional will nurture the audience’s connection to your brand.

Personalizing your digital experiences will make your digital marketing efforts more effective and help you foster personal connections with customers. To learn more about personalizing experiences, check out our article: What is Personalized Marketing? Finally, follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ if you’re interested in content marketing, digital customer experiences and how businesses can thrive in the digital age. In fact, while you’re at it, you may want to check us out on LinkedIn as well!


Don’t Eliminate Human Interaction in Your Business

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80% of people said they prefer to chat with a human being when doing business with a financial services brand. Brands in financial services should focus on providing best-in-class human interaction to go along with their digital marketing efforts. The best results occur when traditional and digital channels are mixed. 83% of consumers said they prefer dealing with human beings through digital channels to solve customer service issues. That is why chatbots, video conferencing, mobile apps, and online forums have gained popularity over the last five years.

Combining the personality of a human with the efficiency of digital channels will benefit your business by fostering stronger relationships with your customers, increasing brand loyalty.

In addition to the planned human touchpoints, you should always provide clients and prospects with contact information so they can get in touch with a real person. You should provide several channels through which a customer can contact you. Examples include:

  • An email address, attached to a known person at your company.
  • A phone number, with information as to who will answer the phone.
  • An invitation to come down to your office, with office hours provided.
  • An instant chat option to get in touch with an employee right now.

When is human interaction required?

When you are planning your digital strategies, you should plan to include what touchpoints will involve human interactions. Not every situation calls for an in-person conversation. In many cases, an automated email, a push notification or an automated phone call can do the trick.

So how do you know when to include planned human interaction in a touchpoint? One way you can make that decision is by looking at consumer data to find points of significant friction. Use data collected from your content management system (CMS), email campaigns and other sources to find parts of the customer’s journey that could use the human touch.

Is there a point where customers are tentative to continue on their buyer’s journey? That might be a point where a phone call will motivate action. Human interaction might help improve the efficiency of your buyer’s journey at points where people need that little extra push.

Can big data help my business?

Using data analytics to make smarter decisions has already benefitted companies across multiple industries.

According to McKinsey, retailers using big data can increase their operating margins by more than 60%. These are huge improvements to any bottom line, and these improvements are only going to get more significant over time. According to Walker Info, 60% of companies in 2013 placed a lot of emphasis on what customers have done in the past; by 2020, 83% will put their emphasis on what customers intend to do in the future. This shift in how brands are looking to put data to use means that they will have a more accurate picture of what will occur in the future.

In addition to the shift in how companies are using data, they are also looking to increase their capacity to analyze the data. Research shows 80% of data is “dark and untouched,” meaning it’s never actually used to make improvements or changes deemed necessary by the customer. As more data is analyzed, more insights can be found to improve your customer experience.

How can these improvements affect my business?

Adding more meaningful human interactions throughout your customer’s journey will increase the effectiveness of your marketing and sales efforts. Every business has unique clients with individual needs, but some sentiments are common across industries. 67% of consumers feel that service online and via mobile devices should be “faster, more intuitive and better able” to serve their needs.

The difficulty lies in choosing exactly how to weave human interactions throughout your customer journey. What touchpoints should be leveraged? How often should an employee make personal contact with their clients? How can you make people within your business more accessible to your customers? Those are the questions that need to be asked and answered by every business.

Remember, whatever you do, don’t eliminate human interaction in your business. A sprinkling of human touchpoints throughout your digital journey will lead to a better overall experience for your customer. Do you use big data to plan human touchpoints? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ.


Emerging Technologies and The Future of Customer Engagement

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Over 4.75 billion people worldwide use at least one mobile device. This widespread acceptance has dramatically changed the way brands engage with their audience. People are always accessible. This accessibility allows brands to use mobile channels for marketing and communication, enabling real-time messaging to specific people.

The future will inevitably hold more technological breakthroughs that fundamentally change the way humans operate. Marketers need to ask themselves how they can make full use of new technology solutions, as they may end up growing to become a “force of nature.” At one point in time, brands struggled to see the potential in social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. That’s changed. Today, over 50 million businesses use Facebook in one way or another. In 2016, these companies spent a combined $26.885 Billion (USD) on Facebook advertisements. These technology platforms are here to stay.

But the mobile device and social platforms are not unique. Any technology with widespread adoption will change the way businesses connect with their audience. The ubiquity and versatility of the mobile device have allowed businesses to be creative with the mobile channel. Therefore, the big question is: How will emerging technologies affect the future of customer engagement?

1. Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes computer-generated imagery on a user’s view of the real world. The technology takes your location and builds a virtual world where you can digitally interact with real-life things that are around you. That means that something in front of you in real life (such as a bench in the park), will also be in front of the “digital version” of you. AR allows a computer-generated image to be added to that park bench, enabling you to see both the bench and whatever is laid on top of it, whether it be an animated monster or information about how to purchase that bench.

In 2017, AR is still in its infancy, with very few commercially successful applications of the technology to date.

Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game created by Niantic and the Pokemon company, introduced the average consumer to the technology. As businesses and individuals continue to work with the technology, successful commercial applications will continue to be developed.

There are still some things need to be worked out for AR to enter the mainstream. Wearable devices that can overlay graphics into the user’s field of vision need to be developed. Using a smartphone to access AR features may still be too much work for the average person to adopt the technology fully. Once the required infrastructure for the wearable technology is in place, nothing can stop AR from taking off.

Augmented reality has a larger number of non-entertainment applications compared to virtual reality (VR). AR can be used to overlay graphics into real-world situations, melding physical and digital spaces into one.

So how will AR affect how businesses engage with customers and how will it influence the overall customer experience?

From graphics overlaid on real world images (and video) to immersive “worlds” that seemingly change the way buildings and other objects look, the possibilities are endless. The technology is already being used in games such as Pokemon Go. It’s only a matter of time before another non-entertainment industry begins to adopt it.

There are several potential applications for AR, including applications that can increase customer awareness and motivate sales.

A financial advisor could use future AR applications to place a picture of themselves and their contact information near their real world office. That would allow anyone using the technology (whether it be through their smartphone or another AR-centric wearable) to see information about the business while walking past.

A retailer could use AR to showcase their products around their brick-and-mortar location. Potentially peaking the interest of those passing by and lead to an increase in sales. With AR still in its relative infancy, it’s hard to imagine what the fully mature technology will look like.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another technology solution that will play a key role in the future of customer engagement. Major tech companies are working to create more intelligent algorithms that can make complex decisions, and evaluate human language.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is defined as:

“the branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave more like humans.”

There are many avenues for the future of AI, and no single method looks like the clear route right now. The end goal of AI researchers is to create machines or algorithms that can take real-world inputs such as “vision” or sound and make decisions based on those inputs.

The future of machines with human-level intelligence is still quite some time away, but it’s clear that the technology will eventually become a core component all nearly all commercial activities. Understanding what consumers want, and when they want it, will help businesses make more timely offers to customers, increasing satisfaction and revenue while decreasing friction in the buyer’s journey.

AI will lead to fewer interruptive ads, higher-quality content, smarter suggestions and smarter use of an organization’s resources. In combination, these effects can increase the cost-effectiveness of marketing and sales departments by reducing wasteful expenditures. 

Artificial intelligence can reduce friction in transactional relationships and streamline decision-making by using data to make offers that will be better received by customers. As the technology matures, AI will be able to target recommendations, content and offers to motivate action. AI solutions will eventually know more about your customers on a second-to-second basis than we ever thought possible. These recommendations will eventually allow real-time marketing to become a legitimate practice.  It will allow brands to engage their customers at critical moments in the buyer’s journey and recommend actions that will increase profitability and customer satisfaction.

3. Voice-Computer Interfacing

So far, 2017 has been the year of the digital assistant. Google has Google Home. Amazon has Alexa and the Amazon Echo. Microsoft has been working steadily to improve Cortana. And Apple has potentially the most famous of the bunch in Siri. Major tech companies are fighting to sell you an assistant that will recognize voice commands to help you interact with your computer (and other connected devices).

Continued improvements in AI will need to be made for voice-computer interfacing to reach maturity. Currently, most digital assistants have limited use-cases. The only applications and processes that are available are pre-programmed. For voice-computer interfaces to reach their full potential, improvements to their flexibility will need to be developed. Users need to be able to access anything they want through a voice request. Significant improvements need to be made to get to that point.

Consider the progress made by search engines over the last 20 years. With continued improvements, companies like Google have eliminated fraudulent and dangerous websites from their results. They have enabled users to search various parameters (images, videos, etc.), and are working to reduce inaccurate results from its rankings. 20 years from now, voice search could be just as ubiquitous and advanced as text searches are today. Marketers will need to prepare for voice-optimized digital properties.

Technology advances to new, unseen heights every day. It’s hard to imagine how these technologies will change the customer experience.

If you like thinking about the potential applications of emerging technologies, you might also like these articles:
10 Technology Trends & Predictions You Should Pay Attention to in 2017 (Part 1)
10 Technology Trends & Predictions You Should Pay Attention to in 2017 (Part 2)
6 Open Source Technologies That Changed The World
As always, thank you for reading. We would love it if you followed us on Twitter @VeridayHQ or LinkedIn here.

How to Project Warmth and Competence

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In a previous article, How Warmth and Competence Affect Customer Perceptions, we discussed how warmth and competence play a major role in how people perceive other people and businesses. Because of this, a brand (or person) must project warmth and competence to be seen as trustworthy.

In financial services, warmth and competence are especially important because a person’s financial situation is a sensitive subject. They need to be able to trust their financial advisor to manage their finances responsibly. 

Once people learn about the importance of these two characteristics they often ask “How can I project my warmth and competence to clients?” The question has no definitive answer due to a lack of focused research on how to project warmth and competence in a business setting. Luckily nonverbal behaviors (NVB), a more common research subject, may provide insights on the topic.

Nonverbal Behaviors Convey Warmth and Competence

Nonverbal behaviors include any actions other than the words used in verbal communication. It’s not just body posture and smiling. NVBs include the tone of your voice, whether you make eye contact and literally any other action you take to communicate.

This definition is very broad and includes every aspect of communication that cannot be conveyed in a transcript. The listed nonverbal behaviors all play a role in how you are perceived by others. Research shows, only 5% of communication is expressed through the spoken word, 45% by the tone, inflection, and other elements of voice, and the other 50% by body language, movements, eye contact, etc. Nonverbal behaviors constantly, subtly project your characteristics throughout a variety of social interactions, with the two most obvious being body language and overt behaviors.

It’s important to be aware of what exactly your nonverbal behaviors project to others.

Body Language

Body language conveys a lot of information about an individual. For example, slouching or leaning back in a chair during a meeting with clients can project a lack of confidence or laziness. That may undermine the message you are trying to sell. In order to be seen as competent, people must see you as confident.

Body language needs to be controlled in every social interaction to stay “on message.” To project warmth, one should be sitting up straight, making eye contact, nodding, smiling and using open gestures when interacting with others. These actions will project warmth to clients, indicating to them that they have your full attention.


How you speak with customers will also affect how warm you are perceived. Whether the conversation takes place in person, over the phone or via Skype, the customer will notice and (subconsciously) react to your tone of voice. To project warmth, your tone needs to be consistent. Dramatic shifts in your tone of voice can put off customers for a number of reasons. Your goal should be to sound upbeat, confident, under control and very clear in all your communications.

Using an inconsistent tone of voice can undo any gains in warmth made by other NVB’s.

Projecting competence is more difficult than projecting warmth, especially if you are trying to project competence in a specific skill, such as financial planning. Some level of competence can be inferred from NVB’s. However, to best project competence, you will need to utilize overt behaviors.

Overt Behaviors

The overt behavior of a person can be generalized to describe each and every action a person takes. For example, walking is an overt behavior. Making a phone call is an overt behavior. Determining these types of behaviors is very simple.

While non-verbal behaviors subtlety display warmth and competence, overt behaviors directly project your level of competence to your audience.

It doesn’t matter that you had good posture in your meeting if you completely mishandled someone’s finances afterward. Do what you say, say what you do.

Other overt behaviors you can employ to project competence include:

  • Taking notes to show your attention to detail
  • Speaking confidently
  • Showing respect for your clients time

Projecting warmth and competence is, without a doubt, a challenging task for even the most socially adept individuals. You need to be careful to monitor how you behave if you wish to project competence throughout your financial services organization.


Even if you’ve done well to project your warmth and competence, one mistake could harm a person’s perception forever. If even one time you seemed disinterested in them, didn’t project warmth or did something wrong will affect the way people see you. It’s important to be vigilant and focused when dealing with clients. Treat every meeting like it’s the most important one of your career.

Something to consider when trying to project warmth and competence is that actions can only change your perception to a certain extent. People will judge you based on stereotypes about your ingroup, how you look, and a variety of subtle factors that you have no control over. While projecting warmth and competence is important, especially for financial professionals (people need to be able to trust you with their assets), there is only so much any one person can do.

Financial Services Takeaways

Financial services professionals need to project both warmth and competence when interacting with clients (or prospects). This is needed in order to reassure them that their wealth is in good hands. Finances are a very sensitive subject for many people. Those people need to be constantly reassured that they can trust their financial service professional. To nurture and grow that trust, you need to be both warm and competent.

Financial agents should consider being mindful of their body language and overt behavior, especially in front of clients. As we have learned from The Human Brand, a book about the personification of marketing, how others perceive you is a huge factor in determining the success of your business.

Do you believe projecting warmth and competence to clients is important for financial service professionals? Does the average wealth management professional or financial advisor project warmth that can generate trust? Is that what separates good financial agents from great financial agents? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ and follow us on Linkedin here.

Worthy Intentions: How Customers View Your Actions

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How can financial service brands improve the quality of their relationships with customers? It’s a question asked by many leaders in financial services and is the major theme of a book called The Human Brand. The Human Brand, by Chris Malone and Susan T. Fiske, examines how customers perceive the actions of brands and how those perceptions influence relationships.

The book examines several strategies that brands can employ to improve the quality of their customer relationships. One such strategy involves something called the principle of worthy intentions. Acting with worthy intentions involves putting your customers’ best interests ahead of your own. Some businesses today struggle because they are viewed as greedy and untrustworthy. But, when a brand acts with worthy intentions, consumers notice and appreciate the efforts.

In previous articles focusing on The Human Brand, we examined the importance of warmth and competence. We will now discuss a brand that acts with worthy intentions, and as a result has grown a community around their brand. We’ll also see what your brand can do to demonstrate your worthy intentions to clients.

Worthy Intentions: A Lululemon Case Study

Lululemon is a yoga lifestyle and clothing brand founded in 2000 in Vancouver, Canada. In just 17 years, the brand has grown dramatically. It boasts more than 200 stores across North America and Australia; generating almost $1 billion of profit in 2016. How does a clothing company, in a very competitive industry, do so well? By acting with worthy intentions.

How has Lululemon acted with worthy intentions?

Firstly, they act with competence. They sell high-quality products (with high-quality fabrics) that their customers like to wear. Even in 2013, when the company had to issue a recall on some of their yoga pants for being too see-through, they took immediate action to rectify the situation. That action ensured that customers still saw them as the same competent brand.

Another major factor that contributes to Lululemon’s perceived worthy intentions, is that customers perceive the brand to be very warm and welcoming. Their brick-and-mortar stores are designed to be intimate and slightly messy to project a relaxed, lived-in look. They will also hem yoga pants for their customers right in the store because they want to give the customer the best experience possible. They’re demonstrating their commitment to putting the customer first by taking that extra step to satisfy customers while making them feel at home.

Building a community around each store is another essential part of their brand strategy, and helps project that warmth. They build loyalty by ingratiating themselves within their customer base. In this case, it’s local yoga influencers (yoga studios, instructors, etc.). By getting in with the studios and instructors, it brings more eyes to the product. Potential and current clients know who they are, and what they are about. And, if they’ve been treated well by the company, they will recommend it to others. They’ve established a trusting relationship.

What do these actions bring Lululemon?

Fierce loyalty from their customer base. Here are just a few examples of the success Lululemon has had thanks to their loyal communities of customers:

  • 95% of all purchases are made at full price.
  • Ranked 4th among retailers in revenue-per-square-foot in 2014
  • Increase in gross income of 42.9% since 2014.
  • Brand valued at $3.05 billion

Lululemon has done an excellent job nurturing their relationships with clients, and as a result has grown into an iconic brand with loyal, fanatical customers.

So what can you do?

1) Become more self-aware

Self-awareness is arguably the most important aspect of projecting worthy intentions to your customers. What do my clients need the most? What actions can be taken that will benefit clients? Are you treating my clients the way they want to be treated? What can you do to offer a better client experience? These are questions that, if regularly pondered, will empower your business to offer better experiences to clients.

Constantly considering how your actions, words, and decisions affect your customer’s experience ensures that your intentions are seen as positive by others.

2) Embrace change

If you aren’t willing to embrace change, your customers will question your intentions. Someone who acts with worthy intentions is willing to change if it is in the best interest of their customers. Change is a constant facet in today’s rapidly moving world. People expect change. A company that refuses to change will be seen as a relic of the past. Brands need to become comfortable with their customers being in control of the relationship.

If you can convey a willingness to embrace change that benefits your customers, your brand will be seen as having worthy intentions.

3) Look out for your customers best interests

Always look out for your client’s best interests, and they will appreciate it. Here’s a personal example:

When replacing my internet provider, the job of setting up a new modem took far longer than expected. However, the installer stayed at my house and finished the job, despite the fact that his shift was over before he was done.

The installer made decisions based on what would be in my best interests. Even though he had every right to say “I couldn’t get it set up” and leave, he didn’t. He ate into his own Friday evening to help me and my family set up our internet, and it was greatly appreciated.

By looking out for our best interests, this internet installer showed my family his worthy intentions (and developed some loyalty for his brand).

4) Project warmth

To show that you have worthy intentions, you absolutely have to project warmth to the client. Without warmth, your intentions will most likely not be trusted. More information about projecting warmth (and competence) can be found in our article: Projecting Warmth & Competence.

Takeaways for Financial Service Professionals

In financial services, having worthy intentions might just be more important than in any other industry. Due to the sensitive nature of a person’s finances, they often require an additional level of trust in their financial agent. People need to trust their financial service provider more than they trust the person selling them pants.

Financial services professionals need to be very self-aware as to how they are perceived by clients. If you project anything except concern for their financial situation, acceptance of their decisions, and confidence in your ability, you may lose the trust your clients have placed in you. Be willing to change your plans to accommodate the needs of your clients. If you constantly survey how you can provide better services to your clients, they will see that your intentions are good. 

Operating with worthy intentions should be as important to financial services professionals as projecting warmth and competence to your clients. It plays a huge role in how you are perceived by your client base and in turn, how loyal your customers are.

Thank you for reading! Acting with worthy intentions is an exercise in treating people the way they want to be treated by brands. If you want to see more articles like this one, follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ!