If you were at the Jolt! marketing conference, on social media, or in any way plugged into the wider wealth tech industry in the past two weeks, you’d have been hard-pressed to escape the word “rebrand.”

It’s been a hot topic of discussion (debate), and for good reason. When is this a good idea? When is it not? After all, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”

I have a unique perspective on this, as prior to my time at Potomac I spent over a decade working with startups and breakaways on branding (and rebranding) with a focus on storytelling. So, let’s use the recent headlines to break this down.

Nitrogen (Riskalyze)

Given the setup above, and my near 15-year connection to Aaron Klein, it would be disingenuous to say this wasn’t near and dear to my heart.

Let me first address what I said before the rebrand was unveiled, that this, “wasn’t a decision I would have made.” I stand by that, as I so fervently believe in the power of brand capital (especially one as beloved as Riskalyze). This wasn’t exactly a Washington Football Team scenario. IMHO, they had a storytelling problem, not a brand problem.

But, to play my own devil’s advocate, quoting Mad Men, “if you don’t like what people are saying, change the conversation.”

By rebranding to Nitrogen, this is exactly what Aaron and Co. have done. In one swift move, they have answered the question “what is Riskalyze?” Everything I have seen, from the anticipation of the launch to the rollout, videos, and website, have focused on precise storytelling–which is exactly what they needed.

While I may be on record for having been against this, I’m also on record saying that ultimately, your name doesn’t matter. It can be anything you want, if you tell the story the right way.

Look at Potomac. We’re named after the Patawomeck Native American tribe, or the river, or the city or the Housewives show. Who knows? Most people don’t even realize that, and those that do… don’t care.

Nitrogen has used this moment to reframe their story. And if they execute the road ahead as well as the launch, it will serve them well.

Mobile Assistant

In the interest of full disclosure, I have also known Corey Westphal and the good folks at Mobile Assistant for over a decade. I even had the pleasure of doing some work for them once upon a time.

Unlike Nitrogen, I got a sneak peak of the Mobile Assistant “rebrand.”

I hesitate to use the word rebrand here, as it is more what I would consider a brand refresh. While you may not realize it, brands that have kept the same identity for decades have updated their logo on the regular.

While Mobile Assistant’s update may be a bit more dramatic than this, I see it is an intentional update of what they had. Not a restart.

So, let’s break it down:

  • They kept the elephant, which was the core of their identity.
  • They simplified the icon dramatically, giving them a one-color version that provides flexibility for modern applications.
  • They simplified their color palate, creating a modern look for their web and applications. (Important for a tech company).
  • They added context. Creating a speech bubble in the elephant’s ear was brilliant, bringing meaning to the icon beyond a reference to their tagline (the elephant in the room).

All in all, I think this was a smart, well-executed, brand update. In all my years working on these campaigns, I have watched people enter this process excited for the future, only to get caught up in their own emotional attachment to what they had before.

It can be hard to get out of your own way.

Just remember. Your identity is your visual representation of your firm, not your emotional support icon.

Mobile Assistant has clearly done this. Bravo.

As a creative, I’d nitpick that maybe the new icon is a bit over-designed. But guess what? Doesn’t matter.

Who Cares?

Should you care about any of this?

Maybe not. However, the importance of the visual representation of your firm and the way you tell your story cannot be stressed enough.

If your brand looks cheap, why would anyone want to hire you as a financial advisor? If your brand looks dated, or tired, or unremarkable, why would anyone stop and consider you? If you cannot clearly, simply, and quickly communicate your value proposition (storytelling) why do think anyone is going to listen? Or act?

If you qualify for any of what I listed above, it’s time for a brand update.

I’m on my soapbox here, but I’ve seen too many advisors not appreciate the importance of their brand. Your visual identity, and more importantly your story, matters.

If you don’t believe me, be prepared to lose prospects to someone who does.

Maybe it’s time for a rebrand at Potomac. I am thinking of a fox and the number zero…

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