What is a brand?
Well…..put it this way, a brand is more than simply a name, a term, design, symbol or logo. It goes way beyond that. It is the way a company, organisation or individual is perceived by those who experience it. It is a feeling!
Brands live in the mind. They live in the minds of everyone who experiences them, be they customers, clients, employers, employees and the media. The brand is not only the memorable impression it makes (and remember, that ‘memorable impression’ can be bad as well as good), but it allows people an interesting and often illuminating insight, a window into your world. It can give customers and clients the knowledge of what to expect from you.
Knowing that, embedded into the very fabric of Lifetime, there is a determined drive to use our brand and bespoke tone of voice to distinguish ourselves from competitors.
The late, great Steve Jobs once summed up the branding and thinking behind his company Apple in two words: “Think Different.”
Here at Lifetime we believe we think differently to other financial service companies.
Historically, financial organisations have fallen into the trap of using language only they and other like-minded professionals understand. This has often alienated the industry from the very people they should be trying to engage with, customers, clients, people who need help to understand their own financial picture. The other massive mistake financial service businesses too often make is the eagerness they display to sell products – making those products the centre of their proposition, rather than the people and the important stories they want to impart.
That is not us. That is not what the Lifetime brand stands for. It is not how we communicate. Complicated financial terms and jargon should be avoided where possible. Simple language with easy to understand explanations is part of the Lifetime brand.
“Our role is to listen to understand and make the complicated simple.”
It is all about our ‘why’.
As British-born American author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek expressed so succinctly in his bestselling book ‘Start with why’, a company’s ‘why’ explains the reason your brand exists.
A brand purpose embodies what you stand for above all else. It has been referred to as your ‘North Star, your ‘noble purpose’ or your ‘why’.
Your brand purpose represents how you create value for everyone that touches your brand; your customers and clients, employees, the community, partners, shareholders and the planet we all share, in order that we can all thrive together.
Exceptional brands have a powerful reason ‘why’. It is a rallying call. Yet to be the best you must also make sure you live up to your brand promises, so the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ needs to be just as good in order to support the ‘why’.
Lifetime’s ‘why’ is clear: It is to help our clients live the life they want without ever running out of money. It is to make a positive difference, through guidance and advice, to every client we come across. It is to listen to them, their hopes, fears and aspirations, and put them at the very centre of what we do.
Those are our core beliefs. It is why this business exists. Our brand and tone of voice will always reflect and reinforce those beliefs.
If Lifetime were a living, breathing person, then our tone of voice would be our personality. It is one of the key things we should be proud of. It makes us different from every other financial advisory business.
It makes us stand out in a sea of sameness.
Like a person, our tone of voice has evolved over the years but we believe it truly represents who we are right now.
As it is our personality, Lifetime’s tone of voice shines through in everything we do. That is not only on our website, our videos and webinars, our social media platforms, and in our marketing campaigns, but also comes through in the way we talk to colleagues, to our clients, other employers and their employees, whatever the area of communication (eg screen-to-screen, telephone, email, letter, marketing etc). This cannot just be seen as a ‘flowery statement’, it has to be fact!
The Lifetime brand and tone of voice covers all three key parts of our business, and the way we act and speak can on occasion overlap into all three:
- Lifetime Digital Service, including our financial guide flo. In this area we are friendly, helpful, conversational yet authoritative, direct and engaging.
- Lifetime financial planning (advice and ongoing support to a client). We show our expertise while remaining helpful, authoritative, professional and a good listener.
- Internal – an area where we can be open, engaging, courteous, even, when the occasion befits, a little humorous!
Our relationship with our clients is friendly but overall professional. Of course, we hope our clients will love the way we treat them, but our tone shouldn’t ever be ‘lovey-dovey’. Warm and chatty is great, but don’t cross the line. And don’t be afraid to be human. Everyone makes mistakes; as long as we offer a genuine apology and a solution, the client will be more inclined to appreciate us for it. Be friendly, yet courteous and professional at all times.
The Lifetime character/persona is:
- Personal and approachable
- Open and honest
- Ethical and responsible
- Passionate and innovative
The Lifetime ‘tone’ is:
The Lifetime ‘language’ is:
- No jargon
The Lifetime ‘purpose’ is to: