Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Ever since I wrote my last article about naming an RIA firm I’ve been inundated with requests to review people’s firm names. I appreciate that! But I also want to clarify what you need to understand about your brand before you can come up with the words to capture it.

Many people ask me what names would be good for their firm without telling me anything about their firm’s mission or values, or the key ideas they want the brand to represent. Here are eight questions to ask yourself to find that information.

  1. If you were to hire an advisor, what are the three things you would seek? More often than not, how you answer reflects the main drivers of your own behavior. That is a big part of how clients experience you and hence becomes your brand identity.
  1. What nasty things do competitors say about you? You need to know your competitive weaknesses in the marketplace because your brand and firm name should correct for that. For example, if you’re constantly presented by competitors as having weak technology, then your brand should emphasize the human element more than speed and efficiency of service.
  1. What nice things do competitors say about you? On the other hand, when you hear about a competitor saying something nice about you behind your back, you know that it’s a dominant force in the marketplace. If your arch rival is willing to admit you are great at, for example, 401k rollovers, it’s a clear sign of a competitive advantage.