3rd December 2020
“Why financial services brands need to work harder” In conversation with Tony Vail, Co-founder of Wealth Wizards
Laura has been speaking to some of the brands we admire the most. And it’s all to help us discover what makes a brand loved. This time she’s picking the brains of Tony Vail, Co-founder of Wealth Wizards, a business that brings together technology and financial advice, neatly packaged in a digital platform for expert financial advisers to use.
Tell me about your brand and why people love it.
“We bring technology to benefit users with expert financial advice. I think with our brand, we’re perceived as both experts in finance, and also experts in tech. We’re not one bolted onto the other. When we started the company, we always had the vision to bring the two together. So what the Wealth Wizards brand stands for today, is bringing that expertise, efficiency, engagement and insight into businesses.”
What 3 words best describe your brand?
“Pioneering, experts, inclusive.”
How do you think you can evidence that a brand is loved?
“I would say how a brand is referred to and how it’s talked about. What is associated with the behaviours of the people associated with it, and how that has positioned the commercial success of the company. I think that’s one element of it. Also, how people, as potential employees, or suppliers are attracted to it.”
What has helped your brand grow?
“Because we engage heavily with our potential users, we understand what they want. For some of our business-to-business clients, we’re saving them hours in the process, we’re driving consistency that they’ve never seen before and we’re giving them management information that they’ve never had before. The other thing about it is, there’s a massive market opportunity for us there because there’s so much inefficiency in the world of financial advice. And that’s because the adoption of technology, for various reasons, hasn’t been as good as it can be.”
How will you grow your brand in the future?
“I think we’ve got a really strong brand, so we need to consider how we extend beyond the successful partnerships with employers and businesses – and how we launch new partnerships. I think the positioning of what we’re doing is very important to us. We’ve done well to create ourselves as a brand within our niche. But I think we’ve just got to make sure that we can take what we’ve established and get it more widely known.”
“In a digital world, you’ve got to engage people quickly, and you’ve got to give them value quickly. You’ve got to win and earn their trust.”
What would you tell yourself if you were starting the business today?
“Go and talk to the people that you want to make your product for. Understand their needs, problems, and what they want, because that’s the key to being successful. You don’t even have to have a clear proposition. At that point, you can go and talk to those people, and can actually give them value back.”
How can we make financial service brands more well-loved?
“I think trust is one element. We trust the big four banks to be competent, but we don’t always trust that they’re totally on our side. Financial services businesses have got to work harder at being seen as competent. Whereas the bigger organisations have to work harder at being on your side – and ultimately get that sweet spot of trust where you know you’re doing the right thing for the customer. I think we’ve just got to make it an emotional connection with people, not just a rational one.”
What’s your favourite app or tech right now?
“I do still get blown away by Wealth Wizards. I was watching someone demo our cash flow planning tool the other day. And the way it does tax calculations between different years and then presents some really easy graphs, I’m still wowed by that. My son’s very into a gaming platform called Roblox which has had a billion visits. It’s social. It’s customisable. And it’s a great way to engage with my 12- year-old son. I probably chat to him more on that than I do in real life!”
What’s your best business book/podcast recommendation?
“My favourite book is Where are the Customers’ Yachts? It’s written by a guy called Fred Schwed who went through the Wall Street Crash in 1929 and then wrote this book about his experiences on Wall Street in 1940. The title says it all. Why have all these people made a huge amount of money out of this industry but not the customers? It’s a great read and really well written. Podcast wise, Fintech Insider from 11:FS is a good one. And anything by Seth Godin, who is my marketing guru of choice. He’s amazing. I don’t ever confess to this, but I’ve got a little plastic Seth Godin that sits on my desk.”
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