There are three actions businesses should consider when deciding to rebrand a firm: understand your core stakeholders, study brand perception in the market, and get your executive team's buy-in.
As many of us have witnessed, the state of the alternative investing industry has changed significantly since 2009, when CAIS was founded by Matt Brown. The demand for alternatives from the independent wealth community has grown, and the desire from experienced alternative asset managers to access that channel has intensified.1
Since CAIS launched, not only has the industry shifted but the CAIS Platform has also evolved as a marketplace for alternative investments for the independent advisor community. CAIS has matured into a platform that has multiple modern technology components serving the needs of each audience that uses our technology platform, including the independent financial advisor, the home office of large independent broker-dealers and RIAs, and the alternative asset manager. We are one connected ecosystem for the alternative investment lifecycle.
And yet, our brand had not evolved to properly articulate or represent this broad expansion and evolution.
The time was right to refresh our brand to align with our service delivery.
There are many reasons a business may rebrand:
Evolution of a company’s structure
Shift in ownership or a merger/acquisition
Geographic expansion into new territories or countries
A general refresh to keep the brand new and relevant
Regardless of the reasons, there are some important steps to take to seek to ensure the brand is successful. Here are three of the top actions any business should consider when deciding to rebrand a firm:
Do the work. Understanding the voice of the core stakeholders can be critical in sharpening the message around the rebrand. Interview your internal audience, along with your clients and prospects. Grasping this data and research will prove valuable in validating the messaging hierarchy and core attributes when presented to your executive team.
Understand current brand perception. Doing a quick brand perception study in the market will let you know quickly what your core audience thinks of your existing brand. The results will help tell you whether you are articulating your mission properly, if your current brand resonates with your audience. They can also help determine metrics from which you can measure success going forward.
Get buy-in. Ensuring your executive team is on board with the project, and the process can be critical to the success of your new brand. If you do not get buy-in early on, you may not win at gaining alignment and support for the outcome.
Successfully launching: What to consider
While the steps above may sound simple, there are many other considerations that a senior marketing executive should explore going into a rebranding exercise. These include:
A rebranding won’t solve business shortcomings. Ensuring the business can deliver what your brand advertises can be key to the success of the brand. If you make empty promises and cannot deliver on them, you may tarnish the brand and ultimately hurt the reputation of the firm. For example, if your main product is financial services—supported by high ethics and functional stability—your ability to communicate clearly and often can be key to a successful rebrand.
The rollout plan is key. Having a well-planned brand rollout campaign that targets external and internal audiences can maximize the new brand. Ensuring your internal employees understand WHY you are rebranding—through clear, new messaging—can unify the company. Creating brand videos, campaigns, and testimonials backed by research will be important to define the purpose behind the rebrand to all audiences.
I have been involved in rebranding multiple firms in my long-tenured career, including Hightower Advisors, Private Advisor Group, and the merger between TD Waterhouse and Ameritrade. Following the mentioned blueprint has proven to be a reliable model for me. While each company has its own personality—from the composition of the firm, the structure of the organization (public or private), and the number of employees (oh, and the budget)—this framework has proven to consistently yield results.
As we embark on CAIS’ brand launch, I am reminded of the tremendous amount of work that must be completed to make it a success.