Yes, you need a brand. You really do.

Your personal brand should differentiate you in your firm or in the marketplace and position you as an expert.

Oct 31, 2014 @ 12:01 am

By Theresa Gralinski

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Every financial adviser—whether practicing at a wirehouse, bank, RIA or as a sole proprietor—needs a personal brand.

Your personal brand should differentiate you in your firm or in the marketplace and position you as an expert.

“Finding my inner specialist is how I switched from 'producing' to 'building' my business,” Michelle Smith, co-founder and CEO of Source Financial Advisors, told an audience at a recent conference. “People Google for specialists. People refer others to specialists.”

Developing an authentic value proposition is worth the effort. Knowing your personal brand will focus your attention on the clients and activities that will help you grow your practice.

4 Ways Branding Will Help You Build Your Business

Branding helps you prospect for clients.

Knowing your brand is the first step in creating your elevator pitch. Ms. Smith helps wealthy clients navigate divorce. Others may specialize in niches such as social security, college planning or alternative investments. Brand and demonstrate yourself as an expert, and the referrals will come.

Branding helps you stand out in your firm.

For advisers working at firms, ensemble practices or partnerships, personal branding is equally important. Understanding your goals and interests, your team will be able to better support you in growing your area of expertise. Having an expert on the team also adds intrinsic value to the firm.

Branding helps you recruit.

Time and again, advisers come to us at The Advisor Center frustrated at their inability to recruit right-fit advisers to their teams. Often it's because the firm doesn't have a strong value proposition and its individual advisers don't have personal brands. The value proposition gives the firm the visibility to attract a recruit's initial interest. Highlighting the brands and success of the firm's individual advisers will help you seal the deal.

Branding helps you find a new firm.

When we work with advisers considering a change of affiliation, more often than not, they are overwhelmed by the possibilities. Do I switch wirehouses? Do I go independent? Do I tuck in to an existing firm? Do I go RIA? What's an RIA hybrid?

Your personal brand will guide you toward firms aligned with your vision and steer you away from detours. As an expert with a defined specialty, you will be in a better position to negotiate your terms of affiliation at the firm of your choice.

Theresa Gralinski is marketing director at The Advisor Center.

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