Branding is the heart of marketing. More than just a logo and website colors, branding is the way that a company interacts with the world. 

In a recent podcast, we spoke with Steve Morris, Founder, and President of Matter Consulting. Over his 25 year career, Steven has become an expert on how businesses can succeed in branding themselves. We asked him to tell us the secret to creating a successful brand. He said it came down to one word:

“Brand is ultimately about character. Character is the indelible impression you leave on the people around you.”

Steven went on to provide 3 ways that financial professionals can define their brand’s character. 

  1. Create an authentic brand that unites their team and attracts clients.
  2. Differentiate their brand by communicating its Unique Value Proposition (UVP).
  3. Build trust by consistently meeting and exceeding their brand promise.

Brand Authenticity

It is important to be authentic when choosing your values. It can be tempting to try and construct a facade of the ideal business, but if the values you espouse don’t match the actual values that dictate your actions you’ll soon find yourself in dutch with your audience. 

Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, said,

“Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealized perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character.”

Advisors must understand which values are most important to their brand. One way to establish your values is to identify experiences where you felt your company succeeded. What were the values that made that success possible?

The inverse can also work. What were some times you feel your company did not live up to its expectations? What were the values that were violated in that case?

Finally, what are the values you rely on day-to-day to make sure that things run smoothly in your business and your life? Identifying these values can take time and is an ever-evolving process. It is, however, the first and most important step in achieving authenticity. 

91% of consumers would rather buy from an authentic brand. 94% of consumers say they will be loyal to companies that are transparent with their practices.

Brand Differentiation

In his best-selling book, Start With Why, Simon Synek lays out a simple plan for defining a company’s Unique Value Proposition (UVP). He uses a tool he calls “The Golden Circle”, which is a simple bullseye with the words Why, How and What.

His point is that most companies start on the outside of the circle with ‘What’ and move in. Instead, if you start with the core reasons why you do what you do, Synek says that you will not only attract new clients but also inspire your employees and new prospects.

  • Why?

When you determine why you are in business you have the ability not only to guide your branding but to tie others into your company narrative. Your employees, your clients, and your prospects will all be inspired by what moves you.

  • How?

Focusing on the unique process of how you deliver on your ‘why’ will give you a very clear picture of your branding. Think about the technologies, processes, techniques, and proprietary ideas you use to meet your clients’ needs.

  • What?

Finally, it is important to think of your offering not just as a menu of items, but as a list of benefits that your clients are receiving from your service.

After an advisor establishes their brand it is important to make sure they live up to their brand promise. If they meet (or exceed) their UVP, clients and prospects will perceive them as an authentic company.

Brand Consistency

One of the most important aspects of branding is consistency, especially to younger generations. 60% of millennial consumers expect a consistent brand across all channels. 

Consistency is so important because it demonstrates dependability and keeps a business top-of-mind for prospects. Remember, it can take up to 13 interactions with a prospect before they engage an advisor’s services. 

When an advisor consistently delivers valuable content that is also centered around the brand values, they begin to build their relationships with clients and prospects brick by brick. Those clients who are attracted to the brand show that they are an ideal client, someone who is well matched to the services the advisor provides.

Steven pointed out how valuable this can be when determining what kind of clients you will work with:

“I have found that those who are drawn by the value system we hold, they are our best customers. We don’t have to convince them. They stay longest because the core beliefs we have in common are already in place. Now it’s just a matter of getting down and doing the business.”


Knowing your brand character won’t just help clients and prospects. It will help you! Steven put it this way:

“Knowing your brand gives you a vision. It’s the thing that motivates you on your toughest days and inspires you on your best days.”

Steven is passionate about helping businesses understand their brand better. As a bonus for listeners, Steve created a complimentary Brand Essentials toolkit for small business leaders, entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs. Download it here.