World’s Largest Brokerage OKs Social Networking by Financial Advisors

Memo heralds new media breakthrough

New York-based financial services powerhouse, Morgan Stanley, the world’s largest brokerage firm, announced, not in a tweet or a blog, but in an old-fashioned, internal memo, plans to “begin a staged, roll-out for Advisors to use Social Media.”

Mincing no words about the implications of the announcement, the memo’s author, Andy Saperstein, who heads the brokerage’s U.S. operations, observed: 

“This will be a significant competitive advantage.”

Morgan Stanley’s decision to invest in social media by allowing, initially, a select group of about 600 of its financial advisors to use social media, will undoubtedly leave others in the highly-regulated financial services sector scrambling to follow the leader.

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Legacy issues

What does your organization do with legacy products and services? Things you started that never really caught on, or died out slowly over time?

That’s a very easy way to judge the posture and speed of a brand. If there’s a one-way track–stuff gets added, but it never gets taken away–then the ship is going to get slower and heavier and become much harder to handle until it eventually sinks.

How long did it take Detroit to take the ashtrays out of cars? The single-sex admission policy at the club? How many people who use your website need to speak up on behalf of a button or a policy for you to persist in keeping it there? How long before you cancel the Sisterhood meetings that are now attended by just three people?

Either you’re focused on maintaining the legacy features or you’re focused on figuring out how to replace them. Driving with your eyes on the rearview mirror is difficult indeed.

In a world of little competition, legacy features are something worth keeping. No sense alienating loyal customers.

But we don’t live in a world of little competition. The faster your industry moves, the more likely others are willing to live without the legacy stuff and create a solution that’s going to eclipse what you’ve got, legacies and all.

Seth Godin

Quick Tips on How to Get Your Startup Noticed

I had the chance to sit down with Adarsh Pallian, the CEO and Co-Founder of Geotoko, a Vancouver-based startup that measures location based deals, to ask him how startups should begin marketing their new products.  Pallin did not hold back, and left me with some fantastic tips to kick start the marketing engine.

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The Importance of Brand Humility

Even if you are absolutely certain that your product/service is one of the best on the market, what you think of your brand is not nearly as important as what your consumers think of it and say about it.  They are, after all, the market!

“Brand humility is the only response to a fast-changing and competitive marketplace. The humble brand understands that it needs to re-earn attention, re-earn loyalty and reconnect with its audience as if every day is the first day.” – Seth Godin (in a recent blog post)

In my opinion, Seth’s message is right on target.  Brands simply cannot compete in this marketplace if they don’t make an ongoing effort to put aside ego-driven campaigns in order to genuinely engage with their consumers and potential consumers.  Relationships require humility, whether it’s personal relationships, business relationships, or brand/consumer relationships.

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