Monday, June 20, 2011
Of Fragmentation, Indiana Jones and........Mice
I just got back from the House of Mouse down in Orlando. I was there speaking to Securities America about personal branding in a social media age. My point was that the only tool any of us really have to differentiate from the competition is ourselves – our personality, capabilities, and integrity and that we need to take advantage of the opportunities that the on line world gives us to tell our story. Disney World was a superb backdrop for the message because despite being imitated the world over and (according to my teenage son) never having the ‘biggest’ or ‘fastest’ anything, they continue outpace the competition. I think it’s because they deliver a complete experience – living up to the promise of their brand in every particular. There’s magic in how Disney takes the mundane details of amusement parks, hotels and restaurants and turns them into the Magic Kingdom - magic that we could all use.
We had a booth at the conference for the first time, introducing our video marketing platform – Comunicato – www.comunicatovideo.com to the SA community. I love convention tchotchkes and soon had a bag of them – I particularly liked the octopus yoyo. Being on the convention floor is a new experience for me but it gave me a great opportunity to do some market research and gauge the mood of the crowd. In general it was upbeat, advisors and fund managers are cautiously optimistic, seeing better times ahead. But this optimism was tempered by a fairly common “irritant”: I call it mission fragmentation – the sense that the industry in general and their practices in particular have been deconstructed into an unending stream of tactics, products, rules, and systems. That the vision that they started with: of growing a business by helping people live better, more secure lives was being obscured by all of the details, the ‘stuff’ that it takes just to run in place
And I think this is why Securities America made a brilliant choice to have Lou Holtz as a keynote speaker. A national champion football coach and media commentator, Lou talked about the choice we all have between growing and maintaining. And there is no doubt as to where he stands, as he said: “when you are maintaining, you’re really dying”. And he emphasized that this is what makes dreams so important – it is our goals and dreams that allow us all to look past the roar of details and focus on where we’re going.
Holtz’ home spun story telling really resonated with an advisor community that is ready to get past all of the controversy and contention of the past couple years and engage in meaningful conversations with their clients about the things that matter to them – securing their retirement, providing for their children’s educations, protecting against unforeseen crises. The things that successful advisors – and the SA advisors certainly are that - do so well.
We ended the session at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park – watching Indiana Jones navigate a forest of punji sticks and ancient Mayan axe-Gods while nearly being crushed by a giant boulder. Sounds a little like being in the wealth management business…..