MERGING INVESTING FIRMS BY LEADING WITH BRAND EXPERIENCE

 

The Problem

In 2014, BlueCreek and Keel Point, two investment advisory firms, combined strengths and merged to offer a comprehensive portfolio of financial services for their clients. BlueCreek, based out of Alabama, traditionally focused on the mass affluent client segment characterized by those looking to put their kids through school, retire well, give back, and pass on what they can to the next generation. Keel Point, out of northern Virginia, primarily served ultra high net worth families in need of additional expertise and specialty services to help with the management of multi-generational wealth and its accompanying complexities.

With the best of backgrounds and reputations in place, the integration of the two brands came with many questions. What unique set of values do they really share? Which ones will be the brand anchors going forward? How do they create a strong master brand that consistently exhibits their shared values while providing uniquely branded offerings and experiences to different customer groups? How can they tell their evolving story—internally and externally—in a clear, simple way? How can the new brand be leveraged to ignite growth and cement employee engagement? What should be the name of the combined firm?

 
 

Solution

Before tackling any of these tactics, the Joe Smith team set off to uncover the new brand story—their unique promise of value to customers and employees and the kindle for igniting consensus and commitment among the leaders around the newly integrated business strategy. We started by immersing in the industry, competitors, as well as inside the firm to mine for insights that would shape the brand. 

By examining the marketplace and competitors we quickly learned the industry was full of white noise—a myriad of firms espousing the same promises and using the same language. However, in interviews with clients and employees, the team began to uncover a new and unique story. One anchored in humanity, relationships, the desire to do right, and the aspiration to realize the true value of wealth. 

 
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The Results

Subsequently, a brand story took shape along with the experience principles, tone of voice, brand archetype, and visual identity system for the new brand. The master brand (and firm name) emerged as Keel Point and included the sub-brand offer, Horizon, in service of ultra high net worth families. 

With the new brand platform and story in place, employees are beginning to rally behind its higher level purpose and call to action to come alongside their clients. As for clients, old and new, they are left with clarity regarding the overall brand promises as well as the value offer for their specific needs.