You’re probably familiar with traditional investment assets. Stocks, mutual funds, ETFs and bonds are the most typical assets bought and sold day to day, and understood on a basic level, by most investors. But what about alternative assets? What exactly are those? These are assets like private equity funds, venture capital funds and other private investments not available publicly on a stock exchange. In fact, they are only available to accredited investors who must meet income and asset-level guidelines set by the SEC.
So how do you access liquidity from a portfolio of these high-value but “illiquid” investments? The Beneficient Company Group – or “Ben,” as it chose to be called – had a better way.
When Ben reached out to talk about rebranding, we knew we needed to translate a complex suite of offerings into a simpler story. In an industry that faces some of the greatest hurdles in changing consumer perceptions, we reinvented the company’s brand image with the inspiration of a natural symbol and a simple concept: Trust Ben.
Water – representing both liquidity, that inherent value of assets, and the financial journey of alternative asset owners – is a much easier story to tell.
The Journey from “Beneficient” to “Ben”
The Beneficient Company Group, LP (Ben) is a financial services firm that offers private trust, lending and liquidity products to alternative asset owners, allowing them to access new investment opportunities. The firm planned to make an aggressive entry into the liquidity market – and, as volatility emerged in the financial markets, it recognized the opportunity to seize a market leadership position. Investors whose portfolios were weighted more heavily in illiquid assets could rebalance their asset mix with Ben’s liquidity products, offering flexibility and a sense of security in uncertain times.
In order to differentiate the brand, we began by humanizing it, infusing it with a personality, a name and a story. We juxtaposed the innovation, performance and security offered by the firm’s complex blend of products with a warm, innovative and progressive tone, enticing savvy investors to make “your next smart decision.” This gave rise to the persona Ben: a brand that intelligent, high net-worth individuals could expect to rely on as they pursued the next step in their financial journey.
From Spreadsheets to Stories
To drive home this message, we needed to align the brand with not only what customers were looking for from a service perspective but also an understanding of the end goal that Ben helped them achieve: the freedom to enjoy life the way they wanted.
Drawing inspiration from the motif of water, a subtle symbol of both liquidity and independence, we chose aspirational imagery that embodied speed and freedom, including people engaged in more dynamic activities like kayaking, fishing or walking along a lake. Just as water supports a boat on its journey across water, Ben empowers its customers to move forward in their financial journeys with security, calm and support. Playing on this idea, we infused water into the visuals to signify the value proposition the liquidity options delivered: helping clients transition to the next stage of their financial journey.
We carried this look and feel into the website and sales materials, developing targeted messaging for different segments of individuals, organizations and internal stakeholders. A large part of the rebrand was in making the experience with Ben highly personal and relevant to each individual prospect or customer. We elevated that experience by making it specific to each investor and the assets they held, allowing the relationship with Ben to blossom in much the same way it would with a human financial advisor.
The rebrand shifted perceptions of Ben in the financial marketplace. Key stakeholders reported a more accurate understanding of the brand’s status as disruptor and innovator. In introducing the brand to potential investors, the sales team found the new branding and collateral more effective among partners, investors and financial institutions, leading to a $20 million pipeline. The new website saw over 200% YoY increase in traffic, with more visits overall, more returning users and longer sessions per user, indicating that visitors were compelled to spend more time exploring information on Ben’s products and services.
The Ben success story drives home the growing importance of brand personality in a digitized world. Conveying a complex expertise in a trendy, cool, conversational and relatable way can pose a challenge, and many brands have had to dramatically reinvent their interfaces to score a place in the hearts of a new generation of consumers.
Taking your brand from undifferentiated to unique and stylish requires a dedicated deep-dive into your brand essence, purpose, values and customers – but in the new world of finance, it makes all the difference.