Performance Is King But Brand Still Matters

Justin Mould

Managing Director

Fin International

Asset managers need to look deeper for messages which can transcend the ups and downs of volatile investment markets. Justin Mould looks at how this can be achieved.
Branding, schmanding, come on then let’s lock it up in Room 101 and throw away the key. Because that’s what the Fin 2007 marketing managers’ survey is showing. A paltry 7.8% of marketing spend is going into brand development and only 29% of asset managers hold brand awareness and brand building as their primary objective for 2007. The remaining 71% are focused on shorter-term objectives like customer acquisition and lead generation.
So why is it that we relegate one of our most potentially powerful and profit generating assets to something slightly more important than the office Christmas party, whereas other industries are doing the opposite?
Asset management companies are generally run by investment managers who eat sleep and breathe performance and this tends to drive the culture, vocab and behaviour – and probably rightly so. This ethos, however, results in a market that seems desperate for instant results and ends up commoditising itself to the investors in a sea of numbers, using all the tricks in the book to make sure they look nice and shiny. Performance, as we know, is a fickle friend and only 25% of funds outperform their relevant benchmarks, so are these constant universal claims of stellar performance really the panacea?
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