We have extensive experience working across the financial sector and we are always on high alert, staying vigilant so that we notice any issues that might affect our current or potential clients. There was a blip on our radar highlighting branding activity in the Private Equity (PE) sector – so we decided to investigate further.
Growing competition in the financial investment sector has made earning a fair share of the market more challenging for all capital providers. PE firms face stiff competition from venture capitalists, angel investors, bank loans, alternative lenders (e.g. crowd funding) as well as other existing and new PE players as they compete to be recognised as the firm of choice for the best deals, funds and staff.
We have scored and ranked the brand strength of a broad cross-section of UK based mid-market PE firms typically investing anywhere up to £50M within Europe. Using our brand expertise, we have analysed the data – making reasonable assumptions – to draw insights about brand strength across the PE sector as a whole. To read our report please click here.
Based on our findings, here are eight tips on how PE firms can improve their brand strength with minimal resource investment:
Be personal as well as professional
Communicating key business information such as sector specialisms and investment criteria is important. So too however is allowing audiences to get to know your firm and staff. Try sharing more of your personal side such as staff photos and hobbies, celebrating the achievements of your investees and promoting how the firm supports the local community (e.g. fundraising).
Voices of trust
According to research by Nielsen, 92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer. Statements from past and current investees stand out as truthful accounts of working with you and allow audiences to connect emotionally with your brand. Add testimonials to your portfolio pages or even use investee comments to stimulate conversations on social media.
Inspire actions at point of inspiration
Being clear what action you want audiences to take will not only deliver a seamless experience, it should generate more leads for you. Position your calls to action on your website where audiences are inspired to take action, not always at the bottom of the page – they may not get that far!
An image is worth a thousand words
37% of private equity firms that we looked at had a city scene or boardroom image on their website homepage. These images help to demonstrate existence in the sector, however with so many firms opting for the same type of image, firms run the risk of being easily forgotten. Choose your imagery wisely, it should complement your brand and content as well as helping you to differentiate from your competition.
Meet modern day expectations
Over 50% of web traffic worldwide is generated through mobile phones and with Google now blacklisting non secure sites, having a website that is both mobile and Google friendly is vital. Firms should at least ensure their website possesses a SSL certificate to meet Google requirements. To meet audience expectations, firms need to ensure their website is both visually and functionally suited to a smart phone screen (e.g. legible copy, easy navigation).
Information should be where it’s expected
An intuitive page naming and menu system can improve the online experience as audiences can easily find the information they are seeking. Consider naming pages based on what the audience is looking for rather than about yourself; for example consider changing What we do to How we help. This will help audiences have a more meaningful journey.
Don’t lead audiences to a dead end
When people reach the bottom of a web page they shouldn’t have to scroll back up to the primary navigation to explore further. This is especially important on your mobile site; no one wants to scroll back to the menu at the top after a long page on a mobile screen. Provide some relevant and appropriate navigation options at the bottom of each page to encourage visitors to engage with your brand for longer.
Variety is the spice of life
People are motivated in different ways and how they engage with you is no different. To increase the range of people who interact with your brand, broaden the range of content and vary how you share it. Try adding variety by using videos, webinars or even podcasts.
Don’t get left behind
Private equity firms are already recognising the importance of a strong brand, and 12% of firms that we looked at have or are undergoing a rebrand or website relaunch. Firms that do not take any actions to improve their brand, even if it’s just a few improvements, are at risk of being left behind by their competitors and losing out on valuable deals, funds and staff.
If you want to talk about your brand strength and how you can improve it, drop us a line and we’d be happy to share our thoughts and explain how we can work with you to define your brand strategy to create a strong and resilient brand.