The following post is courtesy of Diane Harrison who is principal and owner of Panegyric Marketing, a strategic marketing communications firm founded in 2002 specializing in alternative assets.
It is popular now among parents with school age children to promote team participation over individual accomplishment in sporting activities and other social programs that children enjoy. The concept of being part of a larger effort supersedes the value placed on the individual who comes in first in something, or is clearly best at something.
Emphasizing the goal of being part of a community effort to achieve is commendable, but doesn’t have to replace the acknowledgement of superior performance for the sole recipient of the coveted position of #1. In my world, I believe you can strive to be a great team player while also trying to accomplish the valued goal of being #1. I know I’m not alone, as the adult world is awash in a universal desire to be the best at something, to come in first in a group measurement, and this transcends age, occupation, environment, etc. There’s obviously a value placed on ‘first,’ so why pretend that it doesn’t matter?
Let’s take a look at why trying to be first is an asset for business in general, and investment management in particular. I think these 5 reasons for trying to win acknowledgement of the first place position, as provided by Heather Ripley, Founder and CEO of her eponymous PR firm, Ripley PR, on the firm website, are worth exploring:
1.BENCHMARKING YOURSELF VERSUS YOUR INDUSTRY
We all want to believe the best about ourselves, and that holds true for the companies we work for as well. But oftentimes, we may not have an objective enough perspective to trust that reality matches our opinion. Being a part of an evaluative process such as an award or survey compilation allows us to gain valuable information about how others’ perceptions stack up against our own. In addition, the process itself is often useful to go through and allows for identifying action items to work on going forward.
2. INCREASE THE CREDIBILITY AND BRAND VALUE OF YOUR FIRM
Reputation always matters, but particularly so in the world of investment management. So much emphasis is placed on trust, integrity, and achievement of all kinds in finance, and the relative brand value of an investment manager of any size can mean the difference between staying afloat, growing, or going under. It’s common to see a raft of award commendations tagged to an investment firm’s marketing collateral for this very reason, and staying current with winning them is an important part of a firm’s sales practice.
3. FREE EXPOSURE FOR YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS
When a firm wins an award, not only does it get a chance to toot its own horn in the form of an announcement, a press release, an update to the firm website, etc., but the news is generally carried by the award sponsor’s own communication channels, to the great benefit of the #1 winner. It may also translate into interview opportunities for the firm’s senior principals as well as actual sales increases in additional investor monies. It can lead to a valuable outcome, for sure.
4. EMPLOYEE RETENTION AND MORALE
Employees want to feel a sense of pride and ownership in the place where they spend a great deal of their time and energy, so helping that process is a desired outcome for firms who require and desire the best and the brightest industry workers. One of the interesting features of holding the number #1 spot in terms of boosting morale and employee retention is that the feeling transcends monetary boundaries; the entry-level employee can feel just as strongly about the good news as the firm’s owners. It’s truly a team-building experience to share in the pride of reaching #1 status as a firm.
Related to the tangent values of the retention and morale issue above is the benefit a firm gets to its future employee attractiveness positioning from reaching the #1 position in its industry. If a firm is growing and needs to add great people at all levels to keep its momentum going forward, then being able to brag a bit about its leadership position is a definite plus. Additionally, recruiting away top players from rival firms doesn’t hurt either.
WINNING MEANS MORE THAN NOT LOSING
However you slice it, working up to the #1 spot is an effort worth striving for in most cases. A great part of achieving that is in knowing what it takes to get there and the steps needed to accomplish it. So an offset value of reaching for the brass ring is the definitional process a firm goes through in identifying what makes it better than the rest, how it can achieve that goal, and what is needed to make it happen. All valuable activities any firm can use to their long-term advantage.