The One-Brand Challenge for the Multi-Fund Asset Manager

Today, many asset managers are facing a complex branding challenge. How can they develop a consistent and cohesive brand across multiple investment strategies?
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Last week we had the pleasure of participating in Institutional Investor Institute’s 2015 III Senior Delegates Roundtable, an event that brought together senior executives from over 100 institutional asset management firms to discuss the outlook for the financial industry and how best to manage the sales, marketing and distribution functions of their businesses.

We were invited to the conference to share some best practices for investment managers looking to sharpen their focus on communicating a clear message about who they are and what differentiates them from other managers. What followed was an interesting and very interactive Q&A session in which a common theme emerged: cohesion.

Today, many asset managers are facing a complex branding challenge. How can they develop a consistent and cohesive brand across multiple investment strategies? This topic came up over and over again. How do you find one brand that cuts across fixed income, multi-strategy, real estate, long-only, large cap, etc? Should you have one brand or is it better to have multiple?

This is a challenge that we have come across frequently when working with asset managers. It’s a tough one, but it also presents an opportunity to move beyond – and above – any single offering. Firms that are able to find the connective tissue, or DNA, that ties all of their investment strategies together have the greatest chance of developing a compelling, consistent and highly differentiated brand.

There is another key benefit to having a brand that is not tied to any one investment strategy: flexibility to grow and evolve. No successful business stands still. A brand that can support you through any change in your business strategy is a major asset.

Research is the key to uncovering what ties together all that your firm does. This includes talking to institutional investors and consultants to understand how they perceive the firm’s overarching value proposition. It also includes getting insights from key internal stakeholders who can lay out their vision for the firm. We go into more detail about how asset managers can build a differentiated brand in this whitepaper.

In partnership with Institutional Investor, we had the good fortune of surveying many of these key stakeholders as part of our upcoming research initiative examining the role of brand in the asset management industry. Look out for the full research findings, coming out later this year.

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