How Advisors Are Becoming Mission-Driven and Value Led in 2021
Last year, as social justice movements gained momentum and marches were underway, many businesses found themselves in an uncomfortable position. They were either afraid of what to say, worried that they might utter the wrong thing, or else recognized that it wasn’t their turn to share an opinion. Simultaneously, their eyes opened by current events, many customers decided to do business with brands whose values aligned with their own.
While many businesses, financial advisory firms included, had previously separated their personal beliefs from their businesses, this unique period of time has presented a shift in the way that consumers interact with businesses, and has encouraged business owners to become mission-driven and values-led perhaps for the first time ever.
Research staggeringly shows that consumers, especially millennial consumers, focus heavily on a company’s values when seeking out services or products to purchase. According to 5WPR’s 2020 Consumer Culture Report, 83% of millennials want companies to align with their values and 76% want CEOs to speak out on issues they care about. Additionally, 65% of millennials say they have gone so far as to boycott a brand that took the opposing stance on an issue, and 62% favor products that show off their social or political ideology or beliefs.
While women and minority owned practices were already burgeoning, we are now moving into more explicit values-based positioning, with focuses on the environment, the gender gap, social justice, and philanthropic efforts taking center stage. Here are some examples of firms and organizations that have successfully positioned themselves as mission-driven and values-led.
The Humphreys Group
The Humphreys Group is a comprehensive financial planning firm with a strong commitment to walking the walk, and not just talking the talk, when it comes to their values. They have earned the prestigious B Corp certification, which recognizes for-profit companies that use business as a force for good, and joined the ranks of other respected B Corps such as Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, and Allbirds.
This women-owned and -operated firm has always focused on serving women —their unique financial needs and priorities, their perspectives, their aspirations, and their strengths. The firm’s business model centers around putting people and the planet first, building a more inclusive and sustainable economy, and redefining what it means to be successful in business. When gauging success, they aim to look at the benefits of all the stakeholders — the clients, employees, communities, and the environment — rather than just financial metrics.
The Humphreys Group actively cultivates a values-driven brand community by promoting gender equality on social media, hosting ESG themed webinars, and organizing conversation circles, where they create opportunities to tap into their community’s collective wisdom and have honest, open discussions.
Ellevate touts itself as the largest community of women at work. Their concept is simple — show up for each other, help each other achieve success, and mobilize the collective power to change the culture of business.
Another certified B Corp, Ellevate is working towards equality for all by tackling gender diversity issues and closing the gender gap. The group is intentional in taking action to create moments and connections that will change how people think and talk about equality, and they provide numerous resources and events to encourage members’ personal and professional growth.
Robasciotti & Philipson
Robasciotti & Philipson is an investment management firm with the well-being of its clients, women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community at its core. Since the firm first opened over 15 years ago, R&P has committed itself to investing with social justice values in mind, and in 2018, it launched Adasina Social Capital, an impact investing approach designed to build bridges that bring the investment industry into deep alignment with social justice movements. The firm is intent on educating clients and non-clients alike about the impact of race and racism in the financial services industry, and they recently wrapped up their 7 part educational series, “Race in Finance – Making Black Lives Matter in Financial Services.” Due to the firm’s leadership in investing for racial, gender, economic, and climate justice, they are frequently and prominently featured in the media.
The success of companies like those mentioned here proves just how much of a positive impact aligning your business with your values can have. At Beyond AUM, we understand the necessity of values-based marketing, as well as the importance of appealing to target customers whose values match up with those of your brand. If you’re looking to incorporate explicit values into your overall brand identity, but don’t know where to start, we can help. Reach out to our team to learn how.