On brand

3 best practices for creating a business that resonates with clients

Creating a company strategy might not be as easy as it looks. Here are three things to think about before you dive in. Rawpixel.com from Pexels

In theory, creating a company from scratch should be easy, right? Your startup identifies a gap in the marketplace and develops a product or service that directly addresses the need. The target audience immediately sees how your company fulfills their specific concerns, and you start to turn a profit. Voilà!

If only the real world was so simple. No matter how world-changing your product or service might be, if your customers have never heard of it or you, they won't be buying any time soon.

Below are three important things to consider when building a company to stand apart to investors, customers, and the media.

1. Have a great name

Don't get cutesy — get clever. You want your company name to be memorable and easy to spell. This is important for both your audience and the Internet, because if people can't find you, they also can't refer you. We like it when your name actually means something — as an example, "Integrate" is indicative to the way we work with our clients and also essential to our company culture. Everything is integrated.

Once you have a few ideas, narrow your list down to your top three and start the research to make sure no one else uses them. Additionally, you want to check different domain names to see what's available and to ensure you have no immediate competition. The key exception is a company using a similar name, but in a different field and in a different region; e.g. your Houston marketing agency can have the same name as a London law firm.

Once you choose your company name, secure a unique domain for your website, including all related variations of your name to discourage people from finding the wrong company. You should also be sure to stay away from hyphens and special characters — Google doesn't like punctuation marks.

2. Stay true to your values

A crucial aspect of determining what your product or service does, lies in hashing out exactly how and why your company exists. How will you meet the needs of your core audience better than the existing market players? At the start, you need to be clear about who you are — and who you are not. Your company's brand values should be lived out daily by leadership and employees, and company culture should directly reflect company values.

3. Create and deliver value

Hopefully, the product or service you created will be valued by the targeted audience, but you also need to develop unique messaging about the product and your brand to connect with that audience. You must always craft relevant content that addresses exactly how it will make a difference in their lives.

This process begins and ends with telling a relatable story. Just like any good author, you have to show and not tell — people don't want to hear about your product, they want to hear about themselves and how their lives will be changed by your company and product.

As an example, Integrate has a client who provides financial services exclusively to restaurants. The company places high value on personal interactions, strong internal processes, and big data insights. But instead of trumpeting what they do compared to a generic big-box competitor, they showed establishments exactly how the company could assist with their liquor licensing concerns and exactly how various restaurants changes their businesses with this service. Case studies, infographics and video testimonials put the content in relatable terms that changes the narrative from a "push" to a "pull" type of message.

At Integrate, we believe in a completely integrated marketing approach, sharing our clients' stories wherever their target audiences may be, whether it's online, in the real world, or a specific combination of the two. The most important thing: connect with consumers in ways that are meaningful to them, and don't waste money on ineffective channels just because "everyone else is doing it."

For your startup to find success, you must take the time to create a worthwhile story. When you secure a recognizable name, surround it with tangible values, and connect your customers to meaningful content, you can quickly grow your business and drive meaningful results to your bottom line.

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Allie Danziger is the founder and president of Houston-based Integrate Agency, which focuses on digital marketing and public relations.

From artificial intelligence to analytics advances, fintech is changing the wealth management industry. Pexels

Today's technologies have changed the wealth management industry by providing innovative tools to help empower clients and may allow a more productive and beneficial working relationship between financial advisers and their clients. Whether someone is saving for retirement, college, a new business, or travel, I have found that with new technologies, I am better able to communicate with my clients and help them meet their holistic investment goals.

It is an exciting time for wealth management. The industry is on the cutting edge of creating and adopting new technologies and innovations to empower financial advisers to engage and manage our clients' assets. Technologies such as artificial intelligence and risk analytics can provide financial advisers with a more complete picture of their clients' financial lives, which in turn helps us monitor progress and adjust course as needed.

Clients want a trusted adviser to guide them in meeting their financial goals, and now I am able to implement new technologies that help me provide a higher level of service. Using new platforms, I am able to provide real-time information and advice to my clients. I can use this technology to tailor information to their specific investments, how the market is affecting them, and determine what moves to recommend to help them get them closer to their financial goals.

With recent volatility in the market, having immediate, real-time information helps me to change direction within a client's portfolio if needed, and has been a true blessing. The risk analytics platform enables me to identify financial risks that my clients may be exposed to and allows us to quickly change course if necessary. It's a powerful way to engage. Communicating expeditiously and efficiently is important with all clients including those that have large, diversified portfolios.

Lastly, as some clients mature in age, I have begun working with them and their adult children. Together, we use technology applications to monitor the portfolio's progress to meeting the client's goals. The technological tools available within the wealth management industry have become a beneficial way to conduct business with these younger generations, especially Millennials.

As the world continues to incorporate additional technologies into all facets of life, the new tools available to wealth managers can be impactful. We can improve our relationships with clients, provide dependable information, and help guide their decisions so they may achieve their goals in life.

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Margo Geddie is senior vice president and financial adviser with the wealth management division of Morgan Stanley in Houston.