Financial advisor videos: The good, the bad and the ugly.


Nick de Sherbinin

If you follow digital media consumption habits even slightly then you’re aware that the popularity of online video has exploded. Your wealth management firm can’t ignore the potential that it offers to engage site visitors and to help tell your story. So how do you decide about where video might fit into your firm’s marketing?

You may find the following helpful in focusing your thinking.

The primary types of advisor videos

I’ve divided wealth manager videos into three categories. Each has its own purpose and requirements.

1) Profile Video

Profile videos serve as an introduction to your firm and are typically shot within the firm’s offices. They often feature partners speaking about the firm and they may include b-roll – cut-away footage that either illustrates points being made or simply provides visual relief.

The Good: A well-executed profile video first and foremost communicates the personality of your firm that simply isn’t possible with static bios and “mugshot” photos. Further, video with focused messaging can communicate what makes your firm different and why someone should care. Good videos exhibit high production values and leverage a firm’s personality, knowledge and professionalism.

The Bad: Video can be challenging. Not everyone is comfortable in front of a camera, no matter how well-prepared they think they are for a video session. Compromises occur when on-camera individuals appear stiff, rehearsed or flat. Further, if the video’s subject matter is too generic, you’ve missed an opportunity to educate viewers about your firm’s unique qualities and areas of strength.

The Ugly: You know one when you view it. The video appears to be shot on a iPhone, the lighting is poor, the sound quality echo-y, and the story line a jumble of firm attributes. The result is unprofessional, incoherent and off-putting. Your firm deserves better.

2) Topical Video

There’s a lot going on in the world, and as an advisor you’re expected to stay on top of all of it so your clients don’t have to. Topical videos tackle what’s going on right now. They provide proof to clients, prospects and centers of influence that your firm is paying attention and reassurance that it isn’t likely to get whipsawed by current events.

The Good: The best topical videos are timely – they are produced as close to actual events as possible. Production values are less important than the conviction and intelligence conveyed by the on-camera spokesperson. As viewer engagement should be a top priority, an authoritative presenter is a real plus.

The Bad: Being late to the party is the biggest crime here. There are lots of reasons why this occurs in firms – personal time commitments, compliance review holdups and even a lack of internal consensus can conspire to derail your efforts. Old news gets little attention in today’s ‘right now’ environment.

The Ugly: You may have come across the lowest common denominator in user-created video: a guy reading a script off of his laptop screen while speaking into the laptop’s camera. An advisor friend of 360’s recently called these ‘hostage videos’. That kind of says it all.

3) Evergreen Video

If your firm has discrete stories to tell, there’s no better way to do it than in short-form videos. Subject matter is wide open – dealing with life events, specific firm differentiators, solutions for issues within vertical markets, firm expertise in specific areas. Finding messages that resonate with your prospect personas is of course the goal. Because these videos will be a staple on your site and can prove useful for content marketing, investing in creativity and quality production is worthwhile.

The Good: There is no better story-telling tool than video. Good evergreen videos address subjects that are important to your firm and your prospects and clients. Bringing a story to life is best done in narrative form. Ready to watch another video offered by a firm? Then they are producing good ones.

The Bad: The road to bad wealth manager videos is strewn with good intentions. “Let’s include the entire firm in a group shot”; “We’ll feature the partners because they’re most important”; “We spend a lot of time in meetings, so let’s show us all in meetings.” Focusing on the everyday routine of your firm produces routine videos.

The Ugly: Generic messaging. Table stakes claims. An incoherent storyline. Production values that are no better than a viral cat video. If they’ve lost you after 15 seconds, you’re watching a truly bad advisor video.

Other common advisor video types

Bio Video
Every advisor website has photos and bios of team members. What I’ve found more common of late is an accompanying personal video. The best of them convey a subject’s personality, expertise and point of view.

Explainer Video
Please, enough already with the hand-drawn whiteboarding and breathless narration. They were kind of fun when they first appeared 5 years ago. These belong on investing 101 websites, not on yours.

Do you believe that there’s a story to be told about your firm’s approach to wealth management? I’ll explore an effective approach to conceptualizing your videos that we’ve used here at 360 in a future post. The process is designed to tease out and bring to life the authentic stories that every firm has to tell.