“A  business’s mission statement must be communicated in a way that touches someone personally, as opposed to firing words as darts and hoping that some eventually stick or hit the bullseye.” – Brian Solis, The End of Business As Usual 

“Advisers need a 25-word customer proposition that can be delivered on the golf course, or in a wine bar, that gets a client to bite very quickly.” – Clive Waller, MD, CWC Research

It’s not all that often that a booklet on client suitability – this was one part of Aberdeen’s Adviser Intelligence Series and came free with Financial Advisor on the 10th May – chimes perfectly with one of the latest books on social media and the digital revolution, but that’s exactly what happened this week.

In his article, Preparing for the RDR, Clive Waller looked at some of the most important aspects of RDR-readiness, such as the development of a client proposition, independence, fee charging and regulation.

He posed the question, “are advisers going to be chartered accountants or turf accountants in the future?”

To answer, financial advisers need to be clear about the value they’re adding and be able to communicate that succinctly, ideally in 140 characters or less, to all of their existing or prospective clients.

First, however, you need to make sure you really understand what your clients value.

Malcolm Kerr from Ernst & Young thinks “client research has been a neglected area of RDR preparation. Engaging clients in the process early on can reap rewards further down the line.”

So don’t forget to ask your customers what they want?  You might even be surprised by the answers.

But what then? Once you’ve researched your market, defined your business and come up with a plan… how do you wrap it all up in a mission statement that get’s clients interested rather than simply scoring you points on the ‘slightly cheesy marketing’ leaderboard.

Brian Solis offers up the following challenge, “when was the last time you read your company’s mission statement?  You probably haven’t in a long time.  If you have reviewed it recently, would you tweet it?”

Therein lays the difference between mission statements now – mid digital revolution – and then, when marketing strategy was often consigned to a hefty file hidden on a shelf somewhere.

Then, you could get away with dismissing things as ‘marketing speak’ and question how much they really helped the bottom line. Now, customers expect – no, demand – that you can articulate who you are and what you are about in simple, engaging language.

Just last night I was instant messaging on Skype with a new contact in the US.  He’d sent me a link to a promotion his brand was running.  I was interested but needed to check it out and knew I’d have to run it past the rest of the team.  Keen to save myself time, I asked him to write back with his ‘3 line summary’ of what I should tell my Chief Technology Officer (CTO) about the product.

I was willing to recommend him, but I wanted him to do the work to define his product.

These days, loyal and satisfied clients are willing to do much of the legwork of recommending your products and services but to be effective; you need to give them the right tools.

A few years back a catchy strap-line writ large was the main method of brand promotion. Clients didn’t want – or need – the detail.  Now, traditional media is in decline.  Customers are engaging with each other and recommending things via online word of mouth.

Your customers can help you, but you need to help them understand you first.  It’s about closing the gap between a brand and its customers and sharing the power between adviser and client.

So, what should you be aiming for in a mission statement?  There’s a lot more detail on this in End of Business As Usual, but put simply:

  • What is the call to action?
  • What is your true purpose and mission?
  • What benefits do you offer that real people want?
  • Does you mission fit in a tweet (140 characters or less)?


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Hazel McHugh

Before becoming a freelance writer and digital marketer, Hazel was Group Marketing Manager at Santander.
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