How brand boosts the bottom line

How Brand Boosts the Bottom Line

How you show up matters. Your brand tells your story, and it’s important to understand what story you are telling the marketplace.

You know you’re an expert in what you do. You assume your clients know, too. And while they may recognize that you have a great suite of products, or your customer service is impeccable, do they really understand the depth of your expertise, the passion and innovation your team brings to finding creative solutions for today’s retirement challenges, and the positive changes you’re making in the industry?

A lofty question, and one many retirement technology providers may not be thinking about. Most providers are focused on integration challenges, staying on top of the latest data trends, and advancing security solutions, among other priorities—not on brand evolution. Such was the case with a leading provider of retirement technology solutions when it engaged Oculus to help expand their current clients’ understanding of the firm’s value proposition and reintroduce it to potential clients in such a way that demonstrated its new and expanded offerings. This provider wanted to show the industry that it was no longer beholden to its legacy value proposition, and that its current approach and capabilities were viable challengers to other top providers.

The Oculus team, with its diverse bench of professionals, has a proven track record of expertise on go-to-market approaches as well as an eye for connecting current and emerging offerings to industry needs. Once the team assessed the objectives, current market position, the competitive landscape, and the firm’s desire to more fully articulate its value proposition to gain broader appeal, it became clear that a complete brand revitalization was necessary. A corresponding content strategy, new sales and marketing materials and a website redesign would be integral parts of the revitalization project.

Brand Framework and Positioning

The work began by assessing the firm’s current industry reputation. This firm certainly had some positive presence in the industry and with its current clients that was critical to leverage. With that information, we created a brand revitalization strategy demonstrating that, while staying true to its roots, the firm continues to positively evolve to fit the current landscape. Our team conducted extensive market, competitive and brand research and tested our findings with stakeholders and clients to verify those findings. From there, we developed the brand architecture framework and new positioning that would elevate the new brand voice in the marketplace.

Creating the Brand Story

Once the new brand foundation was in place, the team then turned to the content strategy—a must for every brand that wants to have a clear value proposition within their industry. As we reviewed the existing content, we found it was inconsistent with the strategic positioning, it lacked empathy around the specific issues facing clients and potential clients, there was insufficient data backing up claims, there were inconsistent product naming conventions, and there was a lack of clarity about solutions and benefits.

To address all this, we created a story to tell the industry who this firm is: positioning its solutions within a broader “Why,” setting the stage for competitive differentiation by structuring solutions within four experiences, and providing clarity on benefits and results. We were then able to showcase the solutions within a comprehensive digital platform that supplied a range of experiences to initiate, deepen and expand engagement.

Communicating the Brand Promise

We then worked with the firm to revitalize its sales and marketing materials, train the team to tell the firm’s story in a new way, and modernize its online presence. New marketing materials and presentations do not move the needle if the team delivering them is not aligned on the story, the value proposition, and the strategic positioning. Aligned sales teams are critical to the success of any organization, and by elevating the positioning of this firm through conversations to show its evolution were greatly expanded.

Similarly, in today’s fast-moving, digital age, organizations have only a small window of time to make a good impression on prospective clients. How you show up in the world is key. Often, your website is that first impression. If it’s easy to navigate, clearly articulates who you are and what you stand for, and demonstrates the desired level of expertise, you’ll grab that prospect’s interest. Without those attributes, the prospect is likely to move on.

The Oculus team created a comprehensive digital strategy that enables a website redesign with the reinvigorated brand and positioning while ensuring ease of use and clarity of offerings for all users to supply fast answers to the basic questions of Why, How, and What. This included a new logo, tagline, and all visual renderings to support the refreshed brand.

Outcome

With all these new components working together, the firm began attracting a broader audience—including renewed interest and attention from current clients who now saw new and expanded opportunities within the current relationship, broadened conversations with prospects, and a platform from which to engage new prospects who previously may not have seen the firm’s value.

This project speaks to the Oculus approach—a holistic assessment of the deeper why behind a need. What began as a repositioning of product collateral and investment materials became a brand evolution resulting in a clearer sense of not only who this retirement technology provider is, but why they are, and why clients and internal stakeholders can have confidence in its offerings. It also secured a stronger foothold in the marketplace for the firm as both an innovative business partner who helps clients reach their goals, as well as a clear choice for investors looking for companies demonstrating strong growth opportunities.

Never underestimate the power of your brand on your bottom line.

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About Jamie McInnes

Jamie McInnes

President

Jamie is a recognized leader with over thirty years of experience working in several firms across asset management, banking and insurance. Her leadership roles have focused on a variety of business models and markets covering retirement, wealth management and protection. In 2018, she joined Oculus Partners as a Senior Consultant and, in January 2021, Jamie acquired the firm.

Prior to joining Oculus, Jamie spent 10 years at Prudential Financial. Initially, she worked within Prudential Retirement ultimately leading its full-service business which delivered defined contribution, defined benefit, deferred compensation, IRA and advisory services to 4,000 institutional clients and 2.5 million individual participants. Her final three years at Prudential were spent in Prudential International Insurance developing and leading its market entry to Indonesia’s life insurance market. As the CEO she developed the local senior leadership team while expanding distribution inclusive of bank assurance, tele-marketing and a direct-to-consumer digital channel.

Jamie joined Prudential from Merrill Lynch where she led its Retirement Group’s institutional offerings covering DC, DB, NQDC and trust and custody. This followed her return from Japan where Jamie had initially been leading the platform development for CIGNA’S joint venture pension business as their CIO and subsequently as the firm’s Executive Director advising multi-national firms around pension risk issues and the benefits of transferring benefit programs to a DC framework.

Jamie began her career in management consulting focused on banking and insurance company back-office operations and entered the retirement business initially with Putnam Investments and then joining a VC backed on-line 401(k) company prior to relocating to Japan.

Jamie earned her undergraduate degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard College, has a MPhil degree in International Relations from the University of St Andrews, an MSc in Finance from the Sawyer School of Business at Suffolk University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Passion/Area of Focus

Helping leaders align and enable their teams to accomplish goals they felt were unachievable.