Brand vision: how businesses can go from bland to brilliant

At Uniquity, we’re pretty evangelical about having a clear vision in business. Of course, being successful starts with providing a service or product that people need or want. But without a crystal clear view of where you’re heading and where you want to go, it’s incredibly hard to scale up and thrive over the longer term. Our number one, tried-and-tested way of getting that all-important clarity – and our starting point when we work with new clients – is creating a brand vision. That’s how great marketing begins. What is a brand vision? In your head, you probably already know what your business stands for and what you want to achieve, right? But if you had to write it down now in a couple of sentences against the clock, what would happen? It usually plays out in one of two ways – reams of scrawled ideas or a blank page while you scratch your head to try and get it right. Either way, that’s not something you want to share with the world. A brand vision is, in essence, a statement and a goal, laid out in a simple, clear and compelling way. It distils what you stand for, how you’re different to your competitors and what you have to offer your customers. It’s also something for you to set your sights on, painting a picture of where your business will be in five, ten or even twenty years’ time, using the foundation of what you’ve already achieved. What you end up with is a clear articulation of your business and your grand plan for world domination (or maybe something slightly less ambitious) in one well-crafted package. Ta dah! Why you need one Having a simple way to define exactly what your business is about is crucial if you want to communicate clearly and cut through the noise of a crowded market. It’s not just about getting through to your customers and prospective customers. A brand vision is there to tell your staff, your partners and anyone else out there who you are, why you do what you do… and why they should care. Take your team. You can’t expect your people to execute or communicate your vision and values if they haven’t got a clear idea of what they are. By having clarity on who you are and a destination that your whole team can work towards, it means everyone knows what part they can play to help you get there. And a brand vision also works really well as a referral pack for existing customers to pass on to friends and contacts. It’s your offer, distilled. And you don’t even have to be there to make it happen. But perhaps the most important benefit is a more emotional one. Your brand vision sets out the heart and soul of your business, it’s your values laid bare for all to see in language that’s easy to understand and resonates with who you want to reach. It’s how you can get the right people to fall in love with your brand – and that includes you and your team. How to do it At Uniquity, our brand vision process is designed to identify what’s unique and brilliant about your business. We go through a series of exercises to capture that brilliance and translate it into a powerful and awe-inspiring story. One that’s irresistible to your team and target audience. And once the brand vision is there, we’re ready to get that brand noticed by the people who need to see it. That’s how you scale up and build an unstoppable brand. We work with a lot of financial services clients looking to take the brakes off their business and get the growth they deserve. But a brand vision is something that any company in any field can use to take their business to the next level. If you’d like to chat to us about unleashing the full potential of your business with your own brand vision, book a call.

Industry Awards for Financial Advisers & Planners

There’s a lot of competition & it’s hard to differentiate yourself as the best from the rest. A good way to distinguish yourself as an industry leader is by applying to and winning credible awards. Such awards acknowledge companies and leaders who have achieved a certain degree of success against a specific set of standards, or separated themselves from competitors in front of a panel of experienced judges. Since applications can be time-consuming, it’s important to ensure you’re focusing on the awards that will grow your business. Before deciding on which awards to apply for, consider asking yourself the following three questions: Awards Financial Advisers & Planners can enter: We’ve done the hard work by pulling together a list of awards that you can enter below that we’ll be updating on a regular basis: Award Name Submission Deadline Date of the Award Next Year Awards URL WealthBriefing European Awards 17th December 2021 30th March 2022 https://clearviewpublishing.com/events/the-tenth-annual-wealthbriefing-european-awards-2022/ Professional Adviser Awards 28th January 2022 26th April 2022 https://event.professionaladviser.com/professionaladviserawards2021/en/page/home UK Pensions Awards 4th February 2022 8th June 2022 https://ukpensionsawards.com/live/en/page/home AI Business Excellence Awards 14th February 2022 April 2022 https://www.acquisition-international.com/awards/business-excellence-awards/ Impact Awards 4th February 2022 tbc https://www.impact-awards.co.uk/ ACQ Global Awards Open tbc https://awards.acq5.com/33/ New Model Adviser® Awards Closed January 2022 https://enable.citywire.info/s3/NMA-Top-100-2021-Awards-2022 PAM (Private Asset Managers) Awards Closed 9th February 2022 https://pamawards.awardstage.com/#!/past-winners Yorkshire Financial Awards Closed 24th February 2022 https://yorkshirefinancialawards.co.uk/ City of London Wealth Management Awards Closed 24th March 2022 https://www.goodacreuk.com/events/forthcoming-events/city-of-london-wealth-management-awards-2022 Family Wealth Report Awards Closed 4th May 2022 https://www.familywealthreport.com/article.php?id=191614#.YNyydrviuM8 Citywealth Magic Circle Awards Closed 17th May 2022 https://magiccircleawards.com/2022/en/page/home Citywealth Brand Management and Reputation Awards Closed 21st June 2022 https://www.brandmanagementreputationawards.com/brandmanagementreputationawards2022/en/page/home International Adviser – Best Practice Adviser Awards Closed tbc https://lastwordmedia.eventscase.com/EN/ia-best-practice-adviser-awards-2021 Investment Life & Pensions Moneyfacts Awards Closed Announced 15th September 2022 https://www.moneyfactsgroup.co.uk/awards/ilp/2021 Personal Finance Awards Closed Announced tbc https://pfsawards.org/pfs-awards-2021-22-winners/ The Growth Investor Awards Closed Announced tbc http://growthinvestorawards.com/ The Financial Services Forum Marketing Effectiveness Awards Closed Announced tbc https://fsfevents.evessiocloud.com/FSFME2021/en/page/home Women in Finance Awards (London) Closed Announced tbc https://www.womeninfinance.co.uk/uk/ Gold Standard Awards Closed Announced tbc https://www.goldstandardawards.com/goldstandardawards2021/en/page/home?utm_source=Online&utm_medium=Online_Editorial&utm_content=GSA21_Home_Editorial_IW The FT & Investors Chronicle Investment and Wealth Management Awards Closed Announced tbc https://events.bizzabo.com/337908 AI International Finance Awards Closed Announced tbc https://www.acquisition-international.com/winners-list/?award=60942-2021 CISI Financial Planning Awards Closed Announced tbc https://www.cisi.org/cisiweb2/cisi-website/networking-events/conferences/financial-planning-awards-2021 Diversity in Finance Awards Closed Announced tbc https://www.ftadviser.com/events-awards/2021/09/09/winners-of-the-ftadviser-diversity-in-finance-awards-revealed/ Finance Monthly M&A Awards Closed Announced tbc https://mandaawards.finance-monthly.com/ Financial Adviser Service Awards Closed Announced tbc https://www.ftadviser.com/events-awards/2021/11/18/financial-adviser-service-awards-2021-the-results/ M&A Today Global Awards Closed Announced tbc https://greenbuildingencyclopaedia.uk/blog/news/awards/ma-today-global-2022-award/ MoneyAge Awards Closed Announced tbc http://moneyage.co.uk/awards/index.php Money Marketing Awards Closed Announced tbc http://www.moneymarketingawards.co.uk/ Retirement Planner Awards Closed Announced tbc https://www.retirement-planner.co.uk/?s=award The Professional Adviser New Talent Awards Closed Announced tbc https://event.professionaladviser.com/newtalentawards2020/en/page/home UK Business Awards Closed Announced tbc https://ukbizawards.com/register-your-interest Unbiased Media Awards Closed Announced tbc https://business.unbiased.co.uk/press-releases/category/media-awards Unbiased Trusted Professional Awards Closed Announced tbc https://www.unbiased.co.uk/pro/press-releases/unbiased-announces-the-winners-of-the-trusted-professional-awards Wealth Adviser Awards Closed Announced tbc https://www.wealthadviser.co/special-reports/awards Wealth & Money Management Award Closed Announced tbc https://www.wealthandfinance-news.com/awards/wealth-and-money-management-awards/ Women in Financial Advice Awards Closed Announced tbc https://event.professionaladviser.com/WomeninFinancialAdviceAwards2021/en/page/home

5 signs it’s time to think about a rebrand

Uniquity believes that the true power of branding can only come from within, by knowing oneself and understanding who you are, what you stand for and what matters to the people who will be served by your business. By deeply understanding what your brand is all about, the path to a clear and consistent message in the market will become obvious. But is your branding still working for your business? It’s very easy to become laissez-faire about your business’s branding when you look at it every day. Perhaps you’ve just always had the same logo, or the thought of changing your colour scheme fills you with dread. Maybe you’ve seen a competitor’s branding and love it, but don’t know how to achieve this sort of look without copying it. Whatever your reasoning for putting it off, now’s the time to assess whether this is the right time for a rebrand. At Uniquity, we’ve supported many clients in making this decision and realising their potential through a beautifully designed and executed rebrand. So how do you know when it’s the right time? Here are 5 signs it might be time to act… 1. You don’t feel like your brand represents the business you’ve become Just like your own personal style or favourite restaurant, how you feel about your branding can change as you evolve and grow as a person and business. What you started with may no longer reflect the business you’ve become. If your branding no longer feels like it’s aligned to your business, it’s time for a shake up. Outgrown your branding? Read more here. 2. You want to differentiate your business from the rest of the market As with most things in life, trends play a big part in branding. You may have been the first to think of it, but somehow your brand and those of your competitors are all starting to look the same. Break the mould and try something new with your business. This starts by understanding what is unique about you and your company before translating it into visuals and messaging. 3. You want to reach a new audience with different needs When focusing on new client types, it’s important to think about how this may affect your branding and how your target audience will change. Your original branding may not be appealing to the needs of your new customers, so this could be the perfect opportunity to consider a rebrand. 4. Your branding has become outdated and you need to modernise it We’ve all clicked on a website and been immediately put off by branding that seems out-of-date and feels old-fashioned. As a client, this is bound to make you question how modern the company’s processes are, or whether they’re likely to offer the most up-to-date products and services. Like the rest of your business, as the times change, your branding needs to as well. Is your branding making you look as though you are behind the times? 5. You don’t feel proud of your branding when presenting to clients Last, but most certainly not least, is how your branding makes you feel. At Uniquity, we want all our clients to be excited to show off their brand and feel proud when presenting it to potential clients. Your business, at the end of the day, is an extension of you and your team and it’s imperative that your branding is authentic to you and what you’ve set out to achieve. We want to see you beaming with pride as you deliver a pitch with a bespoke brand that perfectly aligns with your business goals. Developing a strong, authentic brand and delivering it consistently is the foundation upon which every successful business is built. If any of these statements sound like you, then we can help you lay that first stone. We’ll help you uncover what makes you special, differentiates you from the competition and defines who you are and what you want to be, and what your target audience wants you to be. Take some time to look at what you’d love your business to look like and how that can be achieved. Uniquity is proud to offer a rebranding service – we could help your brand evolve today!

10 gift ideas to send to your team and clients for Christmas 2021

It seems crazy to already be saying this, but did you know there are fewer than 50 days until Christmas Day? While most of us have spent the latter part of this year catching up on plans that were cancelled in the former part of the year, it has left many of us feeling underprepared for Christmas. Although Christmas this year is set to look more normal than the last, we’ve still had significantly less face to face time with our clients and teams in 2021 than usual. As many are opting to keep their Christmas parties virtual this year, now’s a great time to show your clients how important they’ve been to you, this year more than ever. And while we encourage you to think about and do this year-round, Christmas is a particularly perfect moment for gifting. A gift should be personal, thoughtful and appropriate. We don’t recommend ordering fifty of the same item and sending them to everyone. Sending a gift that’s irrelevant to your team or clients is a very quick way to make them feel like you don’t really listen or know them. If you know that Jim Smith is diabetic, probably best not send him personalised biscuits. And if Mary Jones doesn’t drink, she won’t appreciate a nice bottle of wine. Take the time to think about what’s appropriate for whom, and send them something they’ll really love. Here are 10 of our favourite gifting options. A CHRISTMAS 2021 BAUBLE Let’s be honest, like 2020, 2021 is a year we will never forget! Why not get your client a hopeful reminder of everything we’ve been through in the last year, by adding a special decoration to their tree? These handmade baubles are a thoughtful way to do this without breaking the bank. ETHICALLY SOURCED COFFEE You may have visited an office before and noticed the team are all self-professed coffee connoisseurs, so what better gift than some freshly ground, ethically sourced coffee beans from a sustainable farm? Grind offers three blends of delicious coffee that have a positive carbon footprint. SWEET TREATS FROM BISCUITEERS If you’re a Uniquity client, chances are you’ve been a recipient of a biscuit-shaped delivery. A firm in-house favourite, Biscuiteers offers personalised and seasonally-themed biscuit gifts. They’re something a little different and fun, and are guaranteed to make your clients smile. It’s impossible to be unhappy with biscuits around! GORGEOUS BOUQUETS FROM BLOOM & WILD Has anybody ever gone wrong with flowers? We don’t think so. Bloom & Wild offer a really lovely selection of bouquets, and even some longer-lasting plant options too. They always arrive promptly and beautifully presented, too. BESPOKE GOLF BALLS FROM TITLEIST If golf is something that you regularly enjoy or bond over with your clients, this is the perfect gift. Titleist offers a good range of ball types, including Pro V1, AVX and TrueFeel, and you can add a message or a logo to any one of them. Something that shows that your client you’ve really thought about them and their interests is the hallmark of a perfect gift. PERSONALISED CHAMPAGNE FROM FORTNUM & MASON If you’re looking for something classic and a little more upmarket, Fortnum & Mason are a perfect choice. You can include a personalised message on the bottle, too. What a special way to say thank you to your clients than a message on a bottle of bubbly? GOWER COTTAGE BROWNIES The Uniquity office recently received a gift box of Gower Cottage Brownies from our friends at Sanctuary FP, and we all agreed that they were the best brownies we have ever tasted. GCB is a small company based out of Swansea, Wales. They specialise in lovingly handcrafted brownies and blondies wrapped in beautiful gift boxes. There’s an option to include a personalised and branded sleeve over the top, which makes them a perfect, personal and delicious gift. MONOGRAMMED STATIONERY FROM SMYTHSON OF BOND STREET For the ultimate gift that encompasses style and elegance, look no further than Smythson of Bond Street. They offer their gold stamp embossing service on a range of leather products, from notebooks to passport holders to wallets and purses. AFTERNOON TEA DELIVERED BY CUTTER & SQUIDGE Yes, you read that right. Cutter & Squidge is a bakery cafe based out of London, offering delicious sweet treats and indulgent afternoon teas. They have a whole range of options for gifting, including cakes and truffle selections, but we personally recommend the afternoon tea delivery – it’s so unique and a great, delicious novelty. VIRTUAL WINE TASTING WITH BERRY BROS & RUDD Bring the magic of a vineyard to your clients’ homes (or your team’s office!) with a virtual wine tasting from Berry Bros & Rudd. They’ll deliver wines, glassware and a corkscrew to every guest, then one of their experts will guide you through the wines. A truly classy and unique option which captures all the cosy luxury of the Christmas season.

Which social media platforms should my business be on?

To the untrained eye (and the trained, in fact) the sheer volume of social media platforms available right now is pretty overwhelming. Of course, there are the classics – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram – but in recent years Snapchat and Tik Tok have exploded in popularity. And we haven’t even touched on YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr, WhatsApp, WeChat… the list goes on. You want to reach as many people as possible, right? So should you be on all the social media channels? The answer is a resounding ‘no’.  Why? Let’s revise that previous statement: you want to reach as many of the right people as possible. So which social media channels should I be on? The first step to answering this question is to look at precisely who your target audience is. Almost across the board, young Millennials (aged 25-34) make up the majority of social media users. So if this is your target audience, you’ve got the dealer’s choice of where to market age demographic-wise. Coming in a strong second is Gen Z, the 16-24 range, who are pivoting strongly towards newer social media channels and dominating the age demographics on Snapchat and Tik Tok. However, they still have a strong presence on Instagram. But what about demographics outside of this? What if your ideal client is 55, approaching retirement, working in a decision-making role in a business somewhere in semi-rural England? Where are the pre- and early-retirees hanging out on the internet? The 50+ Demographic Percentage-wise, Gen X and Boomer generations seem absent on social media. But anecdotally and statistically, we know that’s simply not the case.  The scale that these platforms are used on is monumental – it’s estimated that 66% of the UK population are active Facebook users. That’s 44.84 million people! So we’re still working with a pretty sizeable market. While you’re more likely to encounter masses of Millennials on any given social media platform, that doesn’t mean that other age demographics aren’t using it in significant numbers too. And what these figures don’t reflect is how active each age demographic is in comparison to their percentage share of the total user figure. Anecdotally, you’ll see more activity on Facebook from Gen X and Boomer users than you will from Millennials and younger, despite representing a smaller percentage of all Facebook users. So to answer our previous question – where are the pre- and early-retirees hanging out on the internet? – the answer is ‘everywhere’ (including Tik Tok, where they account for 4.1% of users!).  But you said I shouldn’t be on all the social media platforms! Correct! You should not. Ultimately, the platforms that are most relevant to you depend on identifying your target market much more specifically. Each platform has its own very specific use, and users will pivot depending on the type of content they’re looking to consume or to post. If your business targets professionals in decision-making roles, LinkedIn is the place for you. If your ideal client is new grandparents, head on over to Facebook. For on-the-pulse individuals with an interest in current affairs, get on Twitter immediately. And for the creative types, look no further than Instagram. Which is the best for my financial services brand? Research from SproutSocial suggests that, surprisingly, Instagram is the best platform for engagement on financial services posts, followed by the tried-and-true Twitter and LinkedIn.  These latter two have been big players in financial services marketing for a while now, and for good reason. They typically have older demographics who are financially minded, and the platforms themselves are well-recognised and well-established homes of professional discourse and networking. They’re like ready-made networking events. Twitter is the more casual and informal of the two, but they hold roughly equal footing. However, there has been a huge rise in financial services brands on Instagram in recent years, especially those focusing on personal finance, financial education, and fintech brands challenging the industry status quo. With this increased spotlight on financial services, there is certainly space to be made for financial planners and wealth managers, if they’re willing to put a modern twist on how things are done. Instagram has a far more casual, conversational, “behind-the-scenes”-type feel to it. If you arrive on Instagram and behave as though you’re on LinkedIn, you simply won’t get the engagement you’re after. So, if professionalism, tradition and a polished, corporate feel are important to your brand, then Instagram is probably not for you. However, if it fits your brand to take on a relaxed tone in the appropriate context and you’re unafraid to indulge in a meme every once in a while, it could be a goldmine. You can read more about the importance of brand tone of voice here. I thought Instagram was just a photography app? What is this, 2010? Gone are the days when Instagram was the preserve of budding photographers slapping the Valencia filter on moody, grainy photographs of the sea. In 2021, Instagram has made a heavy pivot towards video, presumably to keep up with the popularity of Tik Tok and the rise of video in general.  Marketers often tend to shy away from Instagram since it’s not designed to host clickable links which take your followers to your website to consume content there. Instead, you have to specifically bring your content to Instagram. This takes a slightly bigger investment of time and effort to use and get right. But, done correctly, it can be game-changing.  The possibilities that lie in Instagram’s Live feature are endless and bountiful – Q&A sessions, office tours, a day in the life. Similarly, the app’s algorithm has begun prioritising their Reels videos over static images. These bitesize pieces of content are engaging, highly shareable and, most importantly, require a short attention span to consume. A social media user’s dream. Instagram Stories are another ideal playground for marketing and engagement. Question stickers, polls, sneak peeks into company life – once more, the possibilities are limitless. This article from Influencer Marketing Hub takes a really comprehensive dive into the current best

10 of the best financial websites: bringing personal finance to life

As a marketing agency that specialises in financial services, it’s safe to say that we’ve seen our fair share of websites within the field. Some are instantly striking, some are informational but a little stiff and some are sadly forgettable. The financial industry is filled with technical jargon and can often feel alien to someone on the outside looking in, trying to find help. That’s why having a website that cuts through the noise and brings clarity to everyday personal finance is so crucial. To highlight the best sites of the moment, here’s our take on 2021’s top 10 financial websites: 1. Wealth Simple – for its simplicity, funnily enough Wealth Simple market themselves as “Investing on AutoPilot”. Their goal is to give everyone a simple way to grow your money, just like the world’s most sophisticated investors. There isn’t a huge amount more to say about what they do, because as their name suggests, they keep things simple. Following suit perfectly, their website also screams simplicity. It’s well developed, direct and professional while maintaining a youthful feel. There are just four tabs with their ‘Details’ page featuring lots of animations and well-known catchphrases to make investing relatable. Their three-tier pricing structure also lets you quickly evaluate which investment plan you can afford. Simple. 2. Abacus Wealth – for its family feel Abacus Wealth is set on helping their customers answer the big financial questions and their site is packed with images of families clearly enjoying their financial freedom through finding these answers. What we love about their website is its clear calls to action and easy navigation. They also feature an ‘insights’ section that is broken down into issues that might affect women, the LGBTQ+ community and also money meditations. Their modern style makes their site approachable and easy to use. 3. Nude – for oozing style Nude has created a cool and stylish way to save for your first home. Downloading the Nude app and opening a savings or investment account helps you boost your deposit to get on the property ladder. They carefully incorporate the government bonuses and give ideas on how to buy your first home in record time. The Nude website is colourful, engaging and youthful. Its target audience is clearly first-time buyers and they’ve hit the mark with millennials with their fun and funky design. The homepage sets out in four clear steps how Nude can help you buy a home, and as their tagline states, “in record time”. We love the pastel colours, abstract designs and glimpse of their countdown timer ­– who knew buying a property could be so fun? 4. Ninety One – for its innovative design The Ninety One website greets you with a calming mountainscape and hits you with alternative headings such as, “How We Think” rather than “What We Do”. They’re active investors that focus on making a real difference for their clients, helping them achieve their long-term investment goals. But instead of having a clinical, corporate tone, the website is striking and progressive and proudly displays its initiative to have net zero emissions by 2050. The paragraphs are short and succinct, making it an attractive read and their brand colours are bright and cheerful. A website whose innovative design makes you believe they really are an innovative company. 5. Matter Family Office – for its clean layout Matter Family Office was founded to help successful families seize the opportunities of wealth and avoid the pitfalls. Through this goal they lead their clients on a purpose-driven path that supports their goals and values through a number of different services. The black and white imagery immediately ignites a sense of familial nostalgia and makes the homepage beautifully crisp and clean. As you scroll down, the icons boast of their impressive client retention rate and multi-generational client base. They go on to break down five key services they offer to aid you with your investments. There’s no lengthy jargon or stream of corporate images or team members. It’s simple and it’s effective. It shows it’s about the client. 6. Parabellum Investments – for its bold and simple design Parabellum Investments is a family office operating as a global private equity firm. They deploy their own capital to acquire companies operating in enterprise software, business and IT services and mining and energy anywhere in the world. Their striking blue and white brand colours are softened by the sepia tone photographs featured on their homepage. Their mission is clear – to be a “new class of investor” and a “family office with a difference”. This message is portrayed clearly through their website. Besides the usual news and contact pages, they have just one tab titled ‘Investments’ that gets straight to the point about what they do and how you can use them. Their font and messaging are both simple and bold, giving prospective clients confidence that they have experience and are the people to get the job done. 7. Wealth Matters – for their all-round good financial planning and upfront fee disclosure The Wealth Matters homepage exudes the feeling that they’re a firm that will put your family first. From the hero image of a family walk on the beach, to the featured testimonial video and their tagline, “financial planning for total peace of mind”. Their brand message is clear: “armed with a financial plan, you can live your life to the full”. Unlike most financial planning websites, Wealth Matters has an upfront and clear fees section on their website so that potential clients don’t have to worry about enquiring about a service they can’t afford. Their promise for clear and transparent fees is met with their cost breakdown, which even includes a price promise, reassuring you that they will keep your best interests in mind. We may be biased on this one as they are a client of ours, but this is an all-round good financial planning site that boasts transparency. 8. Waterfield – for their award-winning philanthropy Waterfield Advisors offer unbiased and bespoke wealth advisory services with a “no conflict of interest” model. They’ve

In plain sight: why clarity in business means everything

There aren’t many situations in life where you don’t want things to be crystal clear. Your bathroom window is one, a surprise party is another, maybe even your memory after a night of karaoke. But one area in which there are really no downsides to being absolutely clear is the purpose and direction of your business. The power of a clear vision It’s no secret that I have a real passion for clarity and helping others to get it. Having a clear vision is what gives you confidence in business, sends the right message and helps your team stay on the right track. One of the first ever self-help books I read was Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The one step that stuck with me most deeply was ‘start with the end in mind’. Having clarity and conviction over where you’re going is an absolute game changer when it comes to getting results. Research backs this up. When Greg McKeown – business consultant and author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – studied over a thousand teams, this is what he found: “The results…were startling: when there was a high level of clarity of purpose, the teams and the people on it overwhelmingly thrived. When there was a serious lack of clarity about what the team stood for and what their goals and roles were, people experienced confusion, stress, frustration, and ultimately failure.” There’s a cautionary tale here about lack of vision, but let’s just take a moment to savour his description of those who got it right: “overwhelmingly thrived”. What business doesn’t want that? How 20/20 vision makes a difference In case you need more convincing that having clear goals is key to any business, here are five areas of focus and the main benefits: 1. When you’re clear about what’s most important and what isn’t, you and your team are more likely to: 2. When you’re clear about exactly what you want to accomplish, you’re all: 3. When you’re clear about your strengths and weaknesses, you’re more likely to: 4. When you’re clear about the distinct steps to achieve your goals you can: 5. Most importantly of all, when you’re generally clear, you’ll: Clarity and confidence Having a clear vision creates the confidence to pause and find your way. The confidence to say no. The confidence to speak up to prevent problems or defend against poor decisions. The confidence to stand alone. The confidence to be proactive when silence might seem safer. The confidence to take prudent risks and embrace new challenges. Make clarity a core component of your business and the confidence of you and your team will soar… and, yes, “overwhelmingly thrive”. Our way of creating clarity is through a ‘brand vision’ – talk to us today to explore how other businesses have built their vision and how to create yours.

Why should you care about your brand voice? 5 key benefits

A couple is enjoying a romantic candlelight dinner, one gets up, takes the other’s hand, gets down on one knee, looks deeply into their eyes and says: “Would you enter into a legal union that bestows certain rights and obligations and provides me with access to your existing and future property until one of us dies or the contract is legally dissolved?” Dinner is over. In business, as in this ridiculous example, how you talk to your customers can be make-or-break. Fair enough, if you’re proposing to someone, you’re not trying to push a brand, but you do need to set the right tone.  What’s a brand voice? You’ve probably heard a lot about the tone of voice (or TOV), which is essentially the personality we use to communicate with people. Brand voice is bigger. Your tone is part of it, but it incorporates much more – it’s your ethos, your values, the look and feel. It’s how the world sees and hears you.  Too many businesses make the mistake of thinking branding is just about visuals. Of course, your logo, colour palette, imagery and the general look of your brand can have a huge impact on the way people perceive you. But your language is as important and needs just as much attention.  Here are five key benefits to getting your brand voice right. Unless you’re selling something extremely niche, it’s likely you’ll have a few competitors out there looking to attract the same customers as you. If you’re all saying the same thing in the same way, you won’t stand out. Find out what makes you unique in that jumble of voices and run with it.  Just remember that you don’t have much time to grab their attention. Internet users make snap judgements in seconds, so it’s not just about having something memorable to say. You do need to be able to differentiate your message but you need to be able to land it quickly and efficiently. Your brand voice is basically the embodiment of your business’ personality out there. You need to make sure it’s one that’s likeable, authentic and relevant for your target market.  It all starts with having a clear, distinct brand identity. Do you wear your values on your sleeve? Can you sum up your brand in three words? If you’re not sure what you stand for, how are your customers expected to? Consistency is also key here. People are more likely to remember your brand if they can rely on the same voice each time they interact with you. This is also important because it helps to build credibility and trust. We’ll get to that in a bit. You probably have a good idea of who your ideal customer is. Think about how they speak, what their interests are and what’s important to them. Then build language and ideas that will resonate with them into your brand voice.  At Uniquity, we use the StoryBrand framework to bring marketing content to life. At its most basic level, it’s about making the customer the hero of the story with you as their guide, navigating them through a problem. This kind of narrative builds an emotional connection by demonstrating how your business can make their life better. And who doesn’t want that? PS. Just shouting about how good you are doesn’t work. We finally got here. This is what brings people back to you again and again and makes them advocates of what you do. Trust is an especially important quality for financial services brands, but it’s vital in any industry.  Of course, you need to walk the talk to really earn your customers’ trust. But having a clear, consistent, relevant brand voice is the first step in building the confidence to get them to choose you over everyone else. The benefits aren’t just about building customer rapport. A good brand voice should do the heavy lifting for your business, representing who you are and why you do what you do at a glance. It’ll also make it easier for you to keep creating content that’s relevant and compelling for the right audience. Nailing down some guidelines on your brand persona and tone of voice will help steer your writing in the right, consistent direction for your brand.  That’s a bit about why your brand voice matters, we’ll look at how to craft the right one for you another time.

Is your brand’s first impression up to scratch?

What can you achieve in 1.7 seconds? Not much, but according to Facebook, that’s the time your business has to grab someone’s attention as they scroll on their phone. In this digital information age, it’s make or break in under 2 seconds. With those kinds of stakes, it’s more important than ever to bring your business to life through effective online branding. Get their attention (and then hold on to it) We’ve been taught not to judge a book by its cover, but marketing a business online goes against that very mantra – everything comes down to that first impression. You need to get their attention quickly and then give them a good reason to stick around.  But building an online brand is a lot more than just designing a logo and creating a website. It’s about creating an exceptional customer journey from the moment they discover your brand right through to the time they (hopefully) leave you a glowing testimonial.  The right branding is the key to giving your audience the trust and confidence to pick up the phone to you, make that purchase or sign up to your service.  So what do you need to think about when building a brand? Authenticity: Keep it real With so much competition out there and so much noise online, it’s essential that your brand represents your business in a clear and definitive way. Outline your identity and values as a company. What’s important to you? What sets you apart from the rest? Why should anyone trust you? Make sure your branding is honest about what you do and what you stand for as a company. Don’t pretend to be what you’re not just to gain traction online. This may bring in website visits in the short term, but it can cost you valuable leads and cause reputational damage over time. Consistency: Stay on track You may have seen those companies that have a great Instagram account… only to lead you to a website that makes you question whether you’ve followed the wrong link. It’s important to not only remain consistent in your messaging and your values, but also your appearance. Brand consistency builds recognition and trust. Make sure your content across social media, your website, email marketing and other channels has a common theme and complement each other. Community: Be one big family It’s all well and good creating a fantastic brand, but if you aren’t listening to the needs of your customers, it’s all for nothing. Establish early on who your target audience is and what will lead them to you. Create an emotional connection with them. In these difficult times, people are craving a sense of community more than ever, so bring your brand to life by making them feel part of something. Tools for building your brand Branding should be a seamless experience – running through absolutely everything your business does. But here are some key areas that really are essential to getting it right online. There’s no ignoring the likes of Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Tik Tok – having a social media presence is key in the virtual world we now live in. Although clearly, you have to pick the right channels for your clients. Word-of-mouth referrals remain important, but social media gives you access to billions of potential clients.  Make sure your business profiles line up with your website and stay active. Matching profile photos, cover photos and up-to-date information with regular posts helps to build visibility and the reputation of your online brand. If social media is the window into your business, your website represents the customer taking the time to actually come inside. Well-written and strategic website content is crucial for improving your presence online.  With the average time spent on a website at a drive-by 15 seconds, you don’t have much time to get your message across. Clarity and brevity are crucial. As well as being well presented and consistent with the rest of your branding, make sure the content is SEO optimised to get the search traffic you need. Email is a great way to communicate directly with your subscribers. It gives you a chance to form that connection with your target audience, allowing you to communicate directly with them at a time that’s convenient to them. The right messaging, coupled with good branding, makes email marketing a highly effective way to engage your audience. Blogs can be very valuable in driving traffic to your website. Whether you share blogs on your own social media channels or create back-links from other sites, it’s a key referrer of clients. Using an SEO strategy to make sure your blogs are optimised can make blogging a powerful tool to reach your potential clients. Creating a Google My Business account is a great way to build trust and convey brand sincerity. When a potential client searches for your business name and sees a flood of 5-star reviews, it’s a vote of confidence in what you do. Asking clients to leave a review is a simple process that can go a long way in ensuring your brand’s visibility online. Your online presence is effectively your business making its first impression – on a massive scale – so getting it right is key to drawing in new clients and letting everyone know what you offer. In this blog we’ve scratched the surface of what you can do to make your brand more visible, but we’d love to talk more about giving your business the online impact it really deserves.

Six brands we are excited to see grow in 2021

Now that we’re firmly settled into 2021, at Uniquity we’ve been taking a good hard look at the branding landscape and gearing up for a year of growth. But of course, it’s not just us doing the growing. For the past few weeks, we’ve been non-stop talking among ourselves about which brands, financial or otherwise, we’re excited to see grow this year. Some honourable mentions included Wild Refill, Nude and PensionBee. But when we really got down to it, these six just cinched it for us. BLACKFINCH VENTURES These guys are the ones to watch for making big waves in the sustainability space. It’s baked right into their brand DNA, and they genuinely are a catalyst for good. They’re an excellent example of taking an ‘inside-out’ strategy, and creating consistency between their goals, vision, and values. The companies in their portfolio are so diverse and are all already creating positive waves in a variety of industries. We predict great things for Blackfinch. Visit them here. HUBSPOT HubSpot is by no means a new name on the scene, but their offer is so strong we can’t see how they could possibly lose their growth momentum.  We may be biased as we’ve just become HubSpot partners, but the tools and measurement are amazing for driving marketing growth. The integrations are seamless and the payoff is high.  Visit them here. SNOOP Since learning about Snoop last year, Laura has personally invested in them because of the brilliant potential they have.  Snoop is using open banking for good and has a great, clear brand purpose: ‘everyone’s better off’. Their app has been widely cited as one of the big fintech brands to watch out for, and we couldn’t agree more.  CITYWIDE We’ve worked with this brand for a few years now. But having just refreshed their three-year vision using the Vivid Vision framework, we’re feeling really excited to see it executed and to work alongside them in a tightly focused way. If you’re not familiar with the Vivid Vision framework, here’s the concept: if you can vividly imagine where your business will be in three years’ time, you can share your excitement for the future of your company in a clear, compelling and powerful way. It’s a way to map out how you see your company looking and feeling in every category of what you do, without getting bogged down by numbers or data. Once you have your Vivid Vision you can share it with your team and clients, so everyone knows where you’re heading and can share your passion for why you want to get there.  Visit them here. STORYBRAND The Storybrand framework is just exceptional. We’re huge fans and have embedded it into our business – it’s changing the way we write copy and approach messaging. Perhaps one of their best nuggets of wisdom is this: “it’s better to be clear than to be cute and clever”. If you don’t want to do the whole course but are interested, they also have a book available which is equally as brilliant. Visit them here. METIS IRELAND These guys are really doing things differently and owning the ‘financial planning’ space in Ireland. They’ve had a handful of high-profile recruits and brand ambassadors which has bolstered their presence, they regularly appear in the Sunday Times Ireland, and are constantly thinking outside the box with where to go next.  In fact, they’re another brilliant example of a brand living and breathing their goals, vision and values through and through. We’d wager they become an Irish household name before long. Visit them here. We will be very interested to revisit this list at the end of the year and see how they’ve grown. In the meantime, we’d love to hear if there are any exciting brands you think should be on this list. Who have we missed? Who is exciting you? We would love to know.