Personal brand, social media and other ‘secret disruptors’ for financial planners
Technology-enabled innovation has not only impacted on product design and delivery but on the way in which customers interreact with each component in the insurance and investment value chain. And it has forever changed the way in which financial planners conduct their business. Those who want to climb to the top of the financial planning discipline must leverage every benefit that technology affords them; but they cannot do so in isolation.
“We can hardly imagine what is possible in terms of what exponential technology will deliver,” said Nikolaus Eberl of the Reciprocation Marketing Agency. He told the financial planners gathered at the 2017 FPI Professionals Convention that the change they had experienced over the past decade was the ‘tip of the technology iceberg’ and that change would accelerate massively in the coming 10 years.
This technology revolution will fundamentally change all aspects of retirement and retirement planning, with years in retirement likely to increase to periods of 50 or even 60 years. “If you have a child today, and that child lives a healthy lifestyle, he or she could live up to 142 years,” he said. “We will retire into a new world of work where we will have to embrace a new companion, artificial intelligence”.
Kobus Kleyn, CFP ® – who participated alongside Eberl, Tim Slatter (timslatter.com) and Tsholofelo Dihutso, CPRP (FPI) in a panel discussion on online communication – has already taken significant steps towards embracing technology thanks to his early adoption of social media as a tool to elevate his personal brand. “Every one of us has a personal brand and how we inflict that on our community, our clients and our prospects makes all the difference – the power of personal branding will change your life,” he said.
Social media platforms such as Linked-In make it possible for accelerated brand building without incurring massive expense. “These platforms are not only about attracting new clients, but about retaining your existing book,” said Kleyn. “To succeed you must create and promote an authentic brand that renders consistently on each of your social media accounts”. This view resonated with Slatter who observed that authenticity was key to the client’s perception of an advisor’s value. You need to be at the heart of your online communication strategy and empower consumers to engage with your brand.
Kleyn, who has a formidable online following and has written extensively on his passion for the financial advice profession, posed some rhetorical questions to get the audience thinking. Does your brand stand out from the crowd? Are you creating a lot of noise in the market? Are you creating an online presence that is differentiated and recognisable? And most importantly, are you positioning yourself as an authority and thought leader in the profession.
Social media can be daunting but there is help available for financial planners that want to invent or re-invent their online profiles. “FPI has created a digital forum (tribe.fpi.co.za) comprising experts in digital, social media and wealth financial planning,” said Dihutso. “We invite all FPI members to join this growing community to grow and maintain their practices”.
Mastery of personal brand and social media has many upsides. Not only will you attract new clients; but your exiting book will be able to resist the advances from younger and increasingly competitive financial planners – they will not desert a ‘winning’ brand for a tech-savvy newcomer. “A focus on your personal brand prepares you for new regulation such as treating customers fairly; allows you flexibility in fee charging; pulls new prospects; and assists in client retention,” concluded Kleyn. “It empowers you to declare and promote your passion for financial planning”.