Scoring the digital brands of wealth managers

Scoring the digital brands of wealth managers

02 August 2018

We recently completed our inaugural Living Ratings of the wealth management sector. Assessing the websites and social media channels of the largest wealth managers in the U.S., we looked at how they engage with highly coveted individual investors online. While their marketing efforts include potent websites, enhanced content, and focused digital communications, there is as much disappointment as there is surprise. Larger players fall short in important categories and smaller contenders demonstrably punch above their weight.

Regardless of their current ranking, each firm in our report can seize the opportunity to improve their digital branding by investing in best practices that define online leaders across financial and professional services sectors.

The content imperative
In general, wealth managers offer digital touchpoints that succeed in attracting visitors, but fail to provide the necessary evidence to keep them engaged. Technical componentry such as responsiveness, speed, SEO and other metrics all pass muster. This is critical for not losing visitors – both prospects and clients alike. People are impatient and expect to find information easily and quickly. For the most part, wealth managers have ensured their digital user experience is painless and the majority stand apart from those stragglers who still frustrate their visitors with poor navigation options, endless links and irrelevant search results. The imperative for wealth managers, however, rests squarely on the content side of the equation, where thought leadership should be refined, refreshed, even re-animated to better engage target audiences.

As with so many specialised areas in financial services, wealth management generates huge (if not excessive) amounts of information that hungry investors want and need to know. While part of the challenge is streamlining what to deliver, there must be a heightened priority on the visual and verbal packaging. From guided navigation with its suggested links for related stories to the creative use of video and infographics, content better presented is content better consumed.

Purpose and relevance
On the social media front, wealth clients, like all audiences, expect messaging pushed at them to be purposeful and relevant. They will accept such messages as invitations to explore more with your brand, even consider a relationship with you – if what you ultimately deliver owns up to the promise of your social posts.

The majority of the wealth managers in our report are classified as ‘Focused’ – a measure indicating that, despite the investment in their dotcoms, the impact of their content needs greater consideration – and frankly, fuller investment. Likewise, these firms, in general, need to make a more serious commitment to social media, strategising the why of each channel, and embracing the notion that brand-building through CSR, recruiting, diversity, and culture goes a long way to selling products and services.

Difference matters
Whether a wealth manager has the advantage of being a standalone firm or resides inside a greater “brand house,” it must have a singular goal: to create a digital destination, supported by distinctive social media pathways, that will define the brand, spotlight its difference, and help drive its business strategy.

Kevin Windorf
Client Strategy Director, New York

Want to chat?
We are meeting with wealth managers to discuss this year's findings and if you would like to meet up and discuss how your firm rated or how we can help you improve your brand and digital intelligence, please contact Greg Hobden in London, Kevin Windorf in New York or Gigi Yung in Hong Kong.

To read our full report and download the rankings of the all wealth managers please visit our Living Ratings content hub.