News and Insights

Design, Branding and Marketing are Key to Performance

Thalia Kalodimos, Sr. Writer

Ranchers literally burn a brand on the tail end of their livestock to prove their rightful owner. (Still do. Don’t worry; no animals were injured in the making of this blog post.) If you think about it, corporate branding is essentially the same thing—it’s about asserting ownership, projecting strength in the field and protecting your investment.

Beyond just standing out from the herd, developing and promoting a strong brand image increases the value of a company, its products and services, and makes acquiring new business easier. Of course, anything that can lead to greater market share and profitability draws attention. But, why does it matter so much in finance? How can you be sure that brand marketing is worth the investment?

When you’re considering the importance of branding in the financial sector, the elephant in the room is the amount of money in the industry. Despite 2017 “significant” losses caused by natural disasters, Berkshire Hathaway’s cash stockpile rose to $109 billion at the end of September, marking the first time it has crossed the $100 billion threshold. (Depending on a particular value investor’s picks, some other publicly listed companies are similar.) When these sums of money are involved, companies make every effort to build their brand identity and hold on to their share of the market. Branding the service and value that a financial firm delivers helps a customer recognize the leader and stay on the trail. A blue-chip brand can pay dividends over time, through customer loyalty and recognition in a very crowded, global market space.

Strong Brands are Built by Design

C-suite executives gather to brainstorm the role of design in today’s business landscape at Singapore Design Week, every year. The group overwhelmingly agrees with whatever sector you’re in, design is more important than ever. “This is the great era of design,” said Barry Wacksman, executive president and chief strategy officer of digital agency R/GA… But he cautioned that we’re also confronted by so much bad design that “when we encounter good design” it can feel “transformative.” Last year’s meeting was described as a palpable representation of how far the design question extends beyond consumer marketing. Investment bankers say they are also facing cultural challenges.

“As an industry, financial services is one of the few that face very late disruption,” noted Sanjay Gour, the executive director of digital business transformation at UBS Wealth Management in the Asia Pacific region. Mobile, social and always-connected customers demand-responsive brand building today. In this evolving time, what role should design play in leadership and organization? What are the most effective strategies for firms to connect with key audiences, differentiate, project a value presence, and insure ROI?

Grady Campbell provides the answers, authenticity and design and brand strategy trusted by a virtual Mount Rushmore of financial clients. From private equity, private wealth and banking, to global asset management, Grady Campbell speaks fluent finance, and has grown into a full-court branding agency, serving some of the world’s most prominent financial firms. “Design is the underpinning of all we do,” says, Kerry Grady, Founding Principal. “2018 looks like it will be a great for financial companies, and the companies who invest in their branding and embrace the power of great design will come out on top.”

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