Financial brand essence

How to Capture Your Financial Brand Essence in 4 Simple Steps

Struggling to define your financial brand essence? A brand ladder can help you define your brand in four simple steps.

A successful business is more than its products — it has a heart and soul

A successful business is more than products and numbers — it has a heart and soul. The first step is to define your value proposition, and then you can start thinking about how it manifests itself in all you do — including how you want people to feel when they work with you.

Your brand essence articulates how people feel about your business and their experience when working with you.

Steal This Starbucks Brand Essence Secret

To give you an idea of what I mean by this, let’s consider a brand we all know – Starbucks. Their product is coffee. But when you walk into one of their stores, you get more than a transaction. You get an experience. Starbucks prides itself on the following:

“Every day, we go to work hoping to do two things: share great coffee with our friends and help make the world a little better.” –

They want their customers to feel like friends, and they care just as much about improving the world around them as they do about selling coffee. So, what do you want your brand to feel like?

How to Use a Brand Ladder to Define Your Financial Brand in 4 Steps

Use the laddering process to help you uncover your own brand essence.

With the brand ladder process, you start with the bottom rung and work your way up. Once you define one element, it will naturally lead to the next.

There are four steps to reach your brand essence.

  1. Start with an attribute that describes what you offer
  2. Pinpoint the big benefit
  3. Find an emotional benefit
  4. Use that emotional benefit to define your brand

Famous Brand Essence Examples

Do you remember the Geico “hump day” commercial? It’s one of my all-time favorites. In case you missed it: “Camel on Hump Day

Based on this TV spot, apply the laddering method to uncover Geico’s brand essence:

  • Attribute – Low-cost car insurance
  • Functional Benefit – Save money
  • Emotional Benefit – Happiness and freedom from financial worry
  • Brand Essence – Providing the freedom to be happy

Why Does Brand Matter?

Defining your brand essence helps you truly understand the emotional impact your business has on your clients’ lives.

People make decisions based on emotion, and the better they feel about your business, the more likely they are to become enthusiastic advocates of your brand, which leads to more referrals.


Get more branding and marketing strategies when you grow your business with LPL.

If you’re already an LPL advisor, get exclusive marketing, branding, and social media tools and trainings on the Resource Center.

You should consult your compliance department for information about the rules and use of social media.




Sarah provides custom marketing and social media consultations for LPL Financial advisors and investment programs. In this role, she consults with and supports clients in effectively marketing their business in today's increasingly competitive environment. View full bio.