Altruist’s Branding Playbook

As a marketing partner to financial brands, we spend a lot of time watching (a.k.a. stalking) other financial brands out there to see how they’re reaching and engaging with financial advisors. Most of what we see is commonplace, and – if we’re honest – a little depressing. But Altruist is definitively not one of those brands. Here’s what you can learn from them.

First: Who is Altruist?

Altruist is a custodian that was founded by Jason Wenk in 2018. They have some big funding from the likes of Vanguard – and boy, do they need it. They are seeking to break through in a cut-throat, highly commoditized space that is currently owned by trillion-pound gorillas like Schwab and Fidelity. More often than not, their business – custody – is purchased by advisors seeking asset scale, size, stability, security and client recognition, all of which lead to trust. 

What’s more: Since switching custodians is such a pain in the you-know-what, once these big brands have an advisor, they are likely to keep their advisor – unless, of course, they decide to go forth with giant mergers that are hugely disruptive to advisors’ businesses and drive everyone nuts

So, what’s a small little start-up custodian to do? What’s the playbook for David to (maybe, eventually) beat Goliath and achieve 1,700% growth in the past year?

Play #1: Know Thy Target

We’ve talked about this over and over – brands need to have the courage to think small. So when you land on Altruist’s homepage and you instantly see that Altruist is a “modern custodian built exclusively for RIAs,” you know that Altruist is putting that play into action. They’re instantly communicating: Here’s who we’re built for, and here’s who we’re not built for. Okay, now you have an RIA’s attention.

How do they keep that attention? Their content is laser-aligned with the RIA crowd and their needs. They emphasize that their CEO built RIA firms himself and wants to share his knowledge (more on that in a moment). They showcase other RIAs and how Altruist has helped.

Box #1, checked.

Play #2: The CEO Bully Pulpit

A palpable share of Altruist’s marketing and messaging revolves around their CEO, Jason Wenk. Lead magnets like their Road to $100M AUM eBook is penned by Wenk. Wenk holds office hours for RIAs to pop in and pick his brain. He’s active on social, video, podcasts and more, all of which have helped him achieve over 9,000 followers on LinkedIn who are actively engaged with what he has to say.

Someone far smarter than us once said that “people buy from people.” Wenk’s example shows that activating a human dimension of your brand by (duh) using actual humans is a way to create relatability and deep relationships.

Play #3: Showcase Peers

An active dimension of Altruist’s brand? Its own user base. Notice how their homepage is littered with stories from other RIAs. See how this ad shows real advisor stories? Or take a look at video testimonials like this one or this one. Or check out the Altruist YouTube page, which frequently showcases advisors and their perspectives. All of this contributes to a feeling that Altruist has cultivated a real community of peers. Similar to the way they use Wenk to create relatability, their use of testimonials, stories and community is a powerful way to create trust.

Play #4: They Brand the Little Things

Altruist doesn’t just make some pretty assets (we’ll discuss this in a second) – they brand everything they do. Watch this video as an example. Notice how the music is hip? Notice the way the host dresses? You’ll see this kind of flavor and flare across everything Altruist does. Putting it simply, they know exactly who they are and what they want to convey, and they do it everywhere.

Even their post-acquisition email – which in most companies is a simple text-based email – is pretty as heck. Altruist has standards, a personality, and they infuse it into everything they do.

Altruist post-acquisition email

Play #5: Okay, Okay – Design

If you have clicked on any of the links at this point, you’ll see: Altruist is as sleekly designed as can be. They are the Apple of the financial services industry. You can’t not look at their stuff and say “wow”. But the bigger piece here is that it’s aligned with who they want to be and what they want to convey. There’s a purpose behind the design. And that’s what makes us most excited about it.

Take a look at their About Us page –  can we never argue about a page being too long-scroll ever again?

In Summary

We’ll give you takeaways in true Altruist fashion: By keeping it simple.

  • Define a really tight, niche target
  • Use your people to build brand relationships
  • Use your audience as a vehicle to drive trust
  • Define your brand personality, and infuse it everywhere
  • Make things that look pretty
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.