Reporting: Following Through in the Details

As you may know, we at Archer recently went through a rebranding. (see: “Market Street Advisors Rebrands as Archer”; a fervent nod to the folks at FVM for their great work!) A lesson learned in the process is that part of ensuring a successful brand is to maximize its use, consistently. Our effort in branding made me acutely aware of others’ brands, particularly within the asset management industry which I have served for over 25 years. The following are my observations:

The benefits of a clear brand are well known: differentiating from competitors, increasing customer recognition, and reinforcing a corporate identity (who and what a company is). A need for brand identity has begun to be recognized within the asset management industry. In its global wealth and asset management industry outlook 2014, EY noted that, in addition to a need for more customized investment solutions, asset managers seeking successful distribution will, “depend heavily on establishing better client relationships and defining a firm’s unique brand identity in the marketplace.” (Note: “EY” is itself the result of a rebrand from Ernst & Young in July 2013.)

In the asset management industry, I cannot think of a better example of where client relationship and brand intersect more than with client reporting.

Once a brand has been introduced, it only makes sense to maximize its impact as much as possible across all communication channels. The client statement is a direct representation of the product the consumer purchases, as well as an opportunity to reinforce who provides it. Custom reporting solutions provide asset managers of virtually any size the ability to see their brand through to their client statements. To illustrate, the image above shows two examples of the same data for a typical holdings and summary statement, one that is generically presented, and the other having been “branded.”

The effort of design is clearly evident in the branded version, helping to drive a positive sentiment. Applying the brand to a working document also provides consistency of use and reinforces the asset manager’s identity, promoting recognition among a crowd of competitors. For asset managers who have invested in a brand, it makes sense to maximize their efforts by investing in custom reporting too, effectively following through in the details.