One of the top three digital transformation trends in the financial services industry that every lender, bank and financial institution should be watching – and doing something about – is the rise of the personal brand.
The personal brand is taking off whether your organization is prepared and leading the initiative or not. Individual producers and teams expect to be able to embed their likeness next to the company brand and use it to create visibility throughout their local community. This can be a slippery slope when mortgage loan officers, bankers, financial advisors and producers want personal logos, team logos, vanity domains and more.
The rise of the personal brand is forcing “mini brands” and a new type of marketing: business-to-business-to-consumer, or B2B2C. This second business in your marketing program – the loan officer, banker, financial advisor, etc. – is entrepreneurial, demanding and comes with high expectations of the corporate office. They want more brand customization, a fluid go-to-market experience and the ability to spread their name and face all over the community.
Empowering Personal Branding
Financial institutions are challenged to empower these mini brands while protecting the corporate brand, staying compliant and growing revenue. What kind of guardrails should your organization consider as you put together policies and procedures regarding personal branding?
Allowing personal branding is more and more important, but it should be in a controlled environment. It is not simply a matter of a loan officer saying, "I have a team," and taking and doing anything they want with your company’s branding. Your organization should have the final say on what this personal branding is going to look like and how it is going to look, feel and sound.
If you can, your corporate marketing organization should create and provide the personal branding for your producers with guidelines around how and where these items can be used. By doing this for your producers and not letting them create it themselves, you are able to have more control to protect the corporate brand and ensure compliance.
A Word About Teams
One word of caution that goes along with personal branding is the idea of teams. If you have producers who are acting as a team and marketing themselves as a team, then they are a DBA (“doing business as”) at that point and need to be registered as such in the states where they are doing business.
Personal branding will happen, it is just a matter of how much control and visibility the corporate office will have to it and over it.