Adding a More Human Dimension to Your Financial Brand

Since 2008 or so, we’ve seen an endless number of financial brands seeking to be “more human.” In and of itself, this is a laudable objective – endless studies show that money is about much more than numbers; it’s a highly emotional topic that tugs on the heart just as much as it engages the mind.

But as financial brands have raced to be more human, most think that simply means mentioning emotions in copy or trying to tug at heartstrings in an ad. These things do matter, but there’s more to it than just that. 

Many financial brands often forget that the easiest path to adding a human dimension to your brand is by giving an authentic voice to the humans within your company. Assembling and deploying a cadre of individuals on social media can make your brand more relatable and more authentic than any amount of brand marketing can accomplish on its own. 

Case in point: Check out this post and video from Sebastien Page of T. Rowe Price along with his daughter Olivia. Sebastien has been posting a number of these videos teaching Olivia about the basics of finance. Is there anything more human than watching the two of them interact? Even if Sebastien isn’t “selling a fund” here, he’s accrued tens of thousands of views and over 10,000 followers on LinkedIn just by being approachable, relatable and the opposite of buttoned up. And all of that “human” attribution you’re giving to Sebastien creates a halo effect for the broader T. Rowe brand.

What can you learn from Sebastien and others who are getting “human” right on social and beyond? Here are a few things to think about:

  1. Let your humans be humans. From a mile away, you can smell a post that’s been put through the corporate washer. Finding a way to empower your people to post what’s truly meaningful to them without multiple layers of reviews can have a huge impact on driving engagement and create a sense of authenticity for your brand.
  2. Not everything has to be about business. There’s a human side to every businessperson. Building a personal relationship with customers and prospects online means actively showing the people we are outside of work. Empower your people to talk about family, broader personal passion points and talents. 
  3. Under-produce. Remember: These days, huge followings are built online by Twitch streamers shooting from their (very messy) bedrooms. Adding burdensome production requirements on content will shackle your people from pushing content out. There’s a time for high quality production, and there’s a time for that webcam or cell phone video that feels all too real – in this case, it’s time for the latter.
  4. Figure out compliance. Compliance is a highly necessary part of any financial company. But if every post about pets has to go through compliance (is there a FINRA guideline about discussing Scruffy’s past performance in the local pet show?), it means that a high frequency of authentic, ongoing content from spokespeople is impossible. If at all possible, establish guardrails, training and liability for your people that empowers them to post when they want, how they want – while also protecting the broader health and safety of your company.

At the end of the day, so much of these “human” experiences come down to a simple fact: Empowering your people and letting them shine. 

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