You can think of a brand story as a brand biography. It’s a comprehensive document that outlines your brand archetype, personality and origin. Why do you exist? Why do you do what you do? Why should people buy your products or hire you, for anything?
The brand story serves as the foundation of all content moving forward, ensuring you stay true to who you are. It also provides a guide to emotionally connect with your target audience, those that are specifically seeking what you provide.
This Brand Story + Personality was written for a financial advisor who does not fit the typical advisor profile, which is one of his great differentiators that can help him attract the perfect clients.
Dan is a magician with the power to help others transform.
That transformation may involve going from:
- Insecurity to security
- Uneducated to educated
- Hopeless to hopeful
- Financial “failure” to success
- A combination of any or all of the above
Unlike your typical magician who may delve into hocus-pocus or mystical means of achieving a transformation, Dan’s magic ingredient is much more down to earth. It’s the personal touch. His transformation process begins with building meaningful relationships, not something you’re always wont to find in the financial industry.
But then again, Dan isn’t your average financial advisor. He’s not a stiff shirt stuffed in a suit and tie behind a huge mahogany desk. He’s more like the helpful neighbor, trusted confident, compassionate mentor or guide.
His first question is never: “How much money do you have?”
It’s more like: “What matters most to you, and why?”
While Dan’s personality type is known as the magician, he doesn’t see himself as performing anything all that magical. Financial planning has long been a way of life for him, and his “magic” is not performed under an air of mystery. Quite the opposite is true. In fact, one of his most magnificent “tricks” is de-mystifying the world of financial planning, making it understandable and accessible to all.
Not only does Dan help others transform, but he has gone through his own transformation. The former high-adrenaline thrill-seeker now sits at a desk in a cozy office and guides others toward security. Something magical was working in his own life indeed.
Work hard and you can accomplish what you want.
To use the personalized approach to help others attain and maintain financial security and success.
Transformation, knowledge, vision, belief, discovery
Stagnation, ignorance, doubt, uncertainty, failure – not achieving what you set out to do
Personable, reliable, trustworthy, inspiring
Heard. Educated and confident. Not only confident that they have a trusted guide, but confident they will reach their goals and succeed.
Live Your Brand
Always learning, always growing, always striving for the next level of success.
Create your vision of success and live by it.
Things to Avoid
Striving to go to the next level can be an incredible way to grow – as long as you don’t fall back into the old trap of reaching for the next level of stress and risk. Transformation and growth needs to be done in a balanced, focused way that results in a healthy, positive outcome.
Things to Watch out For
The trap within this type of personality can be to transform into a trickster, or someone who manipulates others by withholding information or not telling them everything they need to know for their well-being. This can be a particularly big danger in the financial realm where manipulation and half-truths may already be in play by less scrupulous advisors.
This may be a fear and point of resistance you may want to address head-on if tasked with overcoming objections from potential clients. Your continued good reputation and trustworthy behaviors can likewise work to dispel this myth.
Other Brands with a Similar Personality Type
TEDx – Intelligent and transformational, two top qualities of the magician. The brand creates informative conferences on a variety of topics.
Dyson – Transformed the way people think about and use vacuum cleaners.
Disney – Most “magical” place on earth “where dreams come true.”
Purpose (Why You Exist)
Help people achieve financial security, success and peace of mind.
Mission (How You Accomplish Purpose)
Use the personalized approach to transform financial vision into reality.
Vision (Where You Aspire to Be)
Pioneer in the financial industry, transforming the stereotype of the financial advisor from an uptight, impersonal suit to a friendly, welcoming person who truly cares.
Brand Positioning (Distinctive space you occupy in the mind)
The financial advisor you’d love to invite to dinner.
Compassion, commitment, reliability, honesty, education
Smart, friendly, welcoming
Tone of Voice
Authentic, personable, insightful
BRAND ORIGIN STORY
YOUR ‘BRAND ORIGIN STORY’ IS THE REASON FOR YOUR MISSION AND YOUR VISION, IT’S THE THING THAT WILL CONNECT YOU TO YOUR AUDIENCE.
1. Backstory/ Status Quo
I was born and raised in the Southwest, with my parents living in a trailer park when I was born. Soon after, they bought a house in a lower-middle-class neighborhood.
We weren’t a wealthy family, but my parents were educated about finances. Mom was an accountant. Dad was a union contractor who started his own business as a general contractor. My parents talked about money. They still do. This helped me have that comfort discussing finances. In some families, it’s a taboo topic.
I remember being around 14 and my parents talking about retirement accounts. I knew what they were. I knew how much money my parents made, that they had investments, and that it was something I needed to do at a certain point.
I was a pretty good kid. Pretty smart, but I didn’t really apply myself in school. It was more like I just drifted along, thankfully not veering down the troubled path of gangs and drugs that seduced some of my friends.
I was able to steer myself out of trouble – and out of studying. I never did homework and never studied, yet still got through school easily. That continued through my senior year of high school when I had an epiphany of sorts. My then-girlfriend asked a question that changed my entire attitude:
“What are you going to do when you graduate?”
I had no idea. But I knew I needed to do something.
2. Call to Adventure
I buckled down, hard, in my senior year. While most teens were planning parties and coasting through the last year of school, I was taking physics, calculus, business and free enterprise classes.
Upon graduation, I decided to join the army. I had no money for college, so the army seemed like a good choice. That’s when I learned I’m actually partially colorblind; I see a muted version of what everybody else sees.
This was 1992, after the first Gulf War, when the military was downsizing. Partial colorblindness was enough to keep me out.
I got into construction for a couple of years, going to college at night. My days were spent as an ironworker, climbing steel, hanging steel – it was a really, really hard job. You had to scurry around on this iron in the searing heat of the desert.
Ironworkers may be the first to tell you they’re a little crazy. And they’re proud of it. I worked with guys doing it so long that they would just get up and walk across a quarter-inch beam. I never saw one fall, thank God. But I was still the one climbing down and climbing back up when I had to move across the beam.
I thought I would get into engineering, as I seemed to have some skill in math and science. Then I was talking to a friend who was taking an EMT class.
“You should check this out,” he said. It sounded amazing. Emergency medical technicians get to work on an ambulance and help people. I took my EMT class. Not even three months later, I got a job at the fire department.
3. The Desire and/or Problem
I fell into my job at the fire department, and I absolutely loved it. While I was training as an EMT, I heard the fire department was testing. You get extra points during your EMT courses if you train to be a firefighter. So I did.
The firefighting job fit my personality. I had been an athlete in school, and I loved the teamwork and camaraderie. The job also had the excitement element of helping people.
I fell into it deep. Too deep. It began to consume me. I became this firefighter guy who would do anything – and actually did anything – just to get to the next level. The next level of stress, the next level of risk.
I did things in the fire department that most people never even imagine doing: going into tunnels, confined spaces, hazardous material responses in big bubble suits.
I was living on the edge, always pushing for that next adrenaline rush. I can look back and see how my craving for excitement progressed in my life. I was always needing more risk, more thrill, more whatever – until I broke along the way.
4. Conflict – External Conflict
Mental health issues were hitting hard. I was having panic attacks at work. Not functioning. Not doing well at all.
My wife Samantha saw the change in me. She kept saying I wasn’t the same and encouraged me to do something about it. Her encouragement came in the form of an ultimatum:
“You need to get some help or I’m gone!”
I was chief of operations at the time, overseeing 200-plus guys and multiple firehouses. A firefighter friend I worked with was the chief of health and safety. We worked in the same building, and Samantha kept telling me to go talk to him.
I thought about it for about a month.
I finally went up to him and asked if he had a moment to talk.
“What’s going on?” he asked as we went in his office. I told him.
He handed me a business card.
“This is how this is going to work,” he said. “This is someone you’re going to talk to.”
I took the card, thanked him, and told him I’ll do that as I got up to leave.
“No,” he said, “You’re going to call right now. You’re not getting out of this office until you call and make an appointment.” So I did.
5. Conflict – Internal Conflict
That call started me on my way through the healing process. I got asked all those questions you get in those types of situations. “Do you have any suicidal thoughts?”
It was an extremely tough road at the beginning. I tried to keep working as a firefighter, even though my therapist was begging me to quit.
My firefighting job was my identity. It was my social circle, my income, the way I supported myself.
I went on this way for about six months – on medications. The medications messed with my blood pressure, made me unable to function. It was just terrible.
6. The Failed Plan and Discovery
If I could hang on for another five months at the fire department, it would take me to 25 years of service. It would make a big difference in my pension.
But I just couldn’t. I needed my sanity back.
I had a defining moment of clarity. This has to happen. I have to move on. I knew if I didn’t, I would end up divorced – and possibly dead.
7. Guide (The birth of your brand)
Throughout all this, I had been looking at my retirement funds every day. A lady named Terry handled one of my retirement accounts.
One day we were talking and she mentioned how she had been a cop in Mesa for 20 years before working in the financial industry.
“I was tired of seeing the tragedy life throws at you in that line of work,” she said. So she retired from the force and became a financial advisor.
A light came on. I could do this!
Yes, I could go back to school and get licensed to do this sort of thing.
Within two weeks of that conversation with Terry, I cut my ties with the fire department.
“OK,” I said. “I’m done.”
8. The New Plan
My decision freaked out my wife at first – but it was absolutely the right thing to do. We became so much healthier and happier, both as a couple and as a family with our three kids.
Once I was away from the fire department, I made so much progress. I also made sure there was no way for me to go back – even if I later wanted to.
“I’m pulling the Cortez,” I told people. I was burning the boat, letting all my certifications expire, and making sure all return avenues were closed.
Some thought I was just taking time off and then going back to work. They would continue to send me job opportunities. I told them I appreciated what they’re trying to do, but that I wasn’t going back. I was doing something different.
After leaving the department, I took a few months off for a break and to finish up some of the work I needed to do. I also got the licensing required to start my new career in the financial industry.
9. The Stakes (The ultimate test)
I was hired by a financial agency, which was great. But at that point I also learned what the percentages of success in this business are. That wasn’t so great.
Sure, I had heard that it’s hard to get into, and highly competitive once you get in. But it wasn’t until I got my licenses and was starting my business that I heard the statistics. While in a training class with a bunch of other new financial advisors from all over the country, we were told that we could only expect 10% of us to still be around in a year.
What?! Whoa. Kind of scary. That was a little unnerving.
I had left my career that I had been good at during my heyday – and all this could be over in a year?
We were told we have to build our businesses somehow. But how?
I got a solicitor license and literally went door to door through neighborhoods, introducing myself as a longtime local resident and financial advisor. I was trying to start conversations, to get out and meet new people.
I would ask how long they’ve been in the neighborhood, what kind of work they did, and if they’ve ever met with anyone to build a retirement plan.
I absolutely got clients out of it, but I didn’t enjoy it. And I also got plenty of less welcoming reactions. Because I was so comfortable entering people’s gates and homes from my past life as a firefighter, it didn’t always occur to me how risky that could be.
I was bitten by dogs twice. I had doors slammed in my face more times than I can count.
I was even chased out of a neighborhood by an old guy one day. He just started yelling at me.
“This is a no soliciting neighborhood! There’s an ordinance in the city against doing this! Blah blah blah.”
As I had my soliciting license with me, I knew that wasn’t true. But I also realized he wouldn’t listen to reason – or let me continue my course down his block. He watched me circle around, and then came out of his house screaming.
“I told you to get out of here!”
I thought I was going to be assaulted – or the old guy was going to have a stroke. I walked across the street and started to approach him then thought, no. I decided it was time to go. The old man went in his house and I left the neighborhood.
But not for long. He happens to live right down the street from my current office.
10. The Resolution
During my soliciting days, I’d been invited into more people’s houses than you could imagine. Some people would bid me to “come in here, we were just talking about financial planning.” They would open an account right there.
I began building relationships with people. I knocked on the door of one couple and started a conversation with the guy. I got his phone number. He said they’d come into my office to see me.
The wife had been a teacher in Colorado. She had a pension in Colorado and didn’t realize I could help her move it. I still work with her.
The husband, Joe, was 60 years old. He was working in the oil business and never really planned for retirement. He had a million dollars in his 401K, but nearly all of it was company stock with no diversification.
After several conversations, he finally said, “Dan, let’s do it. Let’s move $750K into an IRA.”
So we moved it. Diversified it. He took the bulk of his funds out of the oil stocks.
Six months later, oil stock tanked.
His portfolio was up $100K with the plan I created for him. If he had stayed in oil stocks, he would have lost $500K.
“I can’t thank you enough for having those conversations,” he told me. He was overjoyed.
11. The Transformation (Moral responsibility)
The connection with Joe man had a divine intervention kind of feel. An incredible outcome for someone I met out on a doorstep. A confirmation that I was on the path I was meant to follow.
I built my business further from there. Joined several business networking groups. Started getting referrals from contacts, from talking to clients.
I no longer have to go door to door to gain business, but I’m still all about starting conversations. I want to get to know people, who they are, what makes them tick. My clients aren’t random last names on file folders. They’re real people with real hopes, dreams and goals.
A lot of advisors talk to you once and immediately categorize you. They then give you the preset portfolio they give to all people in that category. That’s not what we do at all. Every portfolio is different, every one is personalized.
My upbringing has made me comfortable with money conversations. My background and continued education has made me knowledgeable about investing and finances. I intend to continue to learn, grow and gain additional certifications.
One of my goals is to help others achieve that same level of comfort and as much knowledge as they desire about their own situation.
One of my other goals is to introduce transformation around finances. I help people go from insecurity to security, uneducated to educated, hopeless to hopeful, failure to success – or a combination of any or all of the above.
My first question is about how much money someone has, but what’s important to them. Why is it important? What do they want to achieve? What does success look like?
My final question is the perhaps the most important of all: How can we form a strong, lifelong partnership with the goal of working together to get them there.