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Why does McDonald’s give away toys with Happy Meals? Because brand affinity is built over years by multiple touches and experiences. And the younger you start, the more likely you are to form a lifelong customer.

If you get a child to love a brand, every time they have an adult purchase decision to make, all things being equal, they’ll lean toward the beloved childhood brand. It renders a drop of magic into the experience. It’s because brand lives in the subconscious and familiarity is embedded into emotional connection. This lasts for decades or a lifetime.

This marketing strategy applies for a low cost item like a Big Mac and fries. But it’s 300x more important for a considered purchase (like hiring a financial advisor or buying a car or house).

Branding Takes Time, Especially for a Considered Purchase

The slow build of brand affinity is what differentiates companies that succeed long term and spend less on advertising. Case in point: how do you think Ritholtz Wealth Management (RWM) reached $1.8 billion in AUM in nine years with no advertising?

My past client RWM is hands-down the best example in financial services of longterm brand building based on content marketing and consistency over years.

With a purely content marketing based approach across social, blogs, voice / podcasting, and video, the firm grew faster than almost any RIA in history and now enjoys the luxury of handpicking who gets to be a client like The Prince List. (See the case study and video on my voice marketing / Alexa podcast with Josh Brown and his team.) By the way, if you’re interested in investing, follow everything the Ritholtz team does. Start with Animal Spirits or The Compound and Friends. Read their blogs – my friend Nick Magiulli’s blog Of Dollars and Data is fantastic.

You will see how they build a singular brand in finserv with prospects who’ve never met any of them but seen their videos, read their blogs, and heard their podcasts over time now on waitlists to become their wealth management clients. It’s a feat from a marketing perspective.

Big Blue Coupons

So many companies make the mistake of marketing as though customer acquisition still relies on advertising or direct response and traditional sales tactics. Today, that can work if you’re Bed, Bath, and Beyond (their famous big blue 20% off coupon mailers are highly successful).

But if you’re selling yourself and your professional services it’s about content, track record, testimonials, content, consistency, and more content. People spend 11 hours a day on screens, mostly on social media and listening to podcasts.

#Brand is everything more than it ever was because sentiment and recommendations are easy to share and usually public.

You build trust over time. You gain mind share through repeated exposures. Authentic content marketing provides value to an audience (in this case, younger investors new to the market). It works over years. That is the crux of content marketing – whether on social, blogs, or voice. This is not advertising.

online shopping mini boxes

Advertising Isn’t Enough Anymore

90% of people don’t trust ads. They trust people.

How are people hearing from you?


Under 5 minutes, about twice a week: