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Providers must pass the personality test

When examining the impact of brand, advisers have a far higher propensity to do business with providers and platforms they regard as “warm and personable”.

There is no point in dismissing this as fluffy bunny nonsense; hard data from our Adviser Influence Guide has uncovered the influence of personality on adviser behaviour.

From a brand perspective, it is interesting to see chart one show that association with thought leadership or innovation has little influence on an adviser’s selection. This may cause pause for thought, given the millions
piled into PR endeavours from providers.

That is not to say comms are over-invested in. They are not. As I outlined last week, marketing really does matter, playing a big part in shifting brands into the consciousness.

But if a brand wants to directly influence how advisers feel about them (and they should, because behaviour is driven more by feeling than rational thought), then deploying resources to invest in the experience at every touch-point is a smart move. The returns are significant and direct.

Echoing the brand equity data, chart two shows our correlation analysis across 15 business supports we track makes one thing clear: supports that facilitate the creation of an experience have a profound impact on where advisers are disposed to place business. Furthermore, advisers will not admit this. And you would not expect them to. Of course, if you ask an adviser what they value, how nice they reckon their business development manager is will not – and does not – register (advisers ranked consultant likability 11th).

Equally, in the age of anti-inducements, events are something advisers claim are surfeit to require-ments, ranking them 12th. However, the correlation analysis reveals the single-biggest influence on adviser propensity to do business with providers and platforms is face-to-face consultant likability. The second most powerful influence? Events.

Despite what is printed in some incorrigible corners of the trade press, advisers are human beings, susceptible to the same sentient forces as the rest of us. Face-to-face consultants and events carry explosive potential to create an experience; a bond that is more powerful (and enduring) than a few basis points here and there. People and events shape feelings, and feelings (more than thoughts) shape choices – action or inaction.

Phil Wickenden is managing director at Cicero Research


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