Overview

At a transformative time for Commonwealth Financial, under the leadership of Executive Creative Director Breanne Hasset, I took a crucial role in an ambitious rebranding mission aimed at rejuvenating our identity and deepening connections with every client interaction. As a leader in the financial planning industry, Commonwealth’s strategic shift towards a more integrated branding approach marked a departure from traditional marketing methods. My expertise was particularly leveraged in digital, web, and video marketing, which is critical to modernizing our engagement strategies and enhancing overall marketing efficiency.

Supporting over 3,000 advisors and revitalizing multiple lines of business, our efforts produced diverse marketing initiatives designed to retain current clients and attract new ones. My contributions were pivotal in introducing innovative social and digital solutions, significantly boosting user engagement, and streamlining operations. This narrative will outline how we transformed Commonwealth’s presence in the financial sector, maintaining fidelity to our enduring principles while navigating the challenges of a dynamic marketing landscape.

Challenge

Embarking on Commonwealth’s rebranding initiative was an ambitious endeavor. Our mission extended beyond aesthetic updates; it encompassed a holistic transformation of our brand identity and digital footprint. Addressing these challenges required a multifaceted approach, where creativity, user-centric design, and strategic foresight were paramount:

  • Ensuring Brand Consistency Across Channels: Maintaining a consistent brand voice across all platforms was critical, especially for a reputable brand like Commonwealth. This would involve a complete revamp of thousands of marketing communications across all channels, an extensive overhaul of our public website and intranet, and a thorough review of the current digital and social marketing initiatives to ensure that every piece of content resonated with our new brand identity.
  • Bridging the Digital Divide: The challenge was to refresh our visual identity across all platforms, particularly in the digital and social sphere, and enhance the customer and user experience. Our objective was to forge a digital presence that truly embodied our rebranding ethos, making every interaction with our content visually appealing but also informative and user-friendly.
  • Elevating User Engagement: At the core of our digital overhaul was the commitment to deepen user engagement. This required a meticulous approach to understanding our audience through analytics, creating detailed user personas, and mapping their interactions with our brand. The aim was to tailor our digital experiences, from UX/UI design to content, to genuinely engage and captivate our users.
  • Optimizing Production Efficiency: Another primary focus was enhancing the efficiency of our marketing material production and deployment. By implementing a sophisticated digital asset management system and a SaaS branding platform, we aimed to accelerate our marketing processes without compromising the quality of our output.

Facing these challenges head-on, my efforts were concentrated on leveraging digital innovation to exceed the ambitions of our rebranding project. The subsequent sections will delve into the strategic and creative approaches we adopted to navigate these challenges and the significant outcomes they yielded.

Industry

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Solution

My approach to overcoming these challenges was multi-pronged, focusing on a seamless blend of creativity, user-centric design, and strategic foresight. Underpinning each step was a commitment to Commonwealth’s new brand identity, ensuring each digital touchpoint resonated with our core values and strategic vision.

Digital Experience Design

To bridge the digital gap, I focused on the design and development of an updated library of display advertising, social assets, microsite templates, public-facing website modules, and an expanded intranet. The redesign of these assets focused on intuitive navigation, engaging content, and a cohesive aesthetic that aligned with our rebranding efforts. Utilizing user analytics and feedback, we crafted experiences that reflected our brand’s new direction and elevated user engagement and satisfaction.

Unified Brand Voice Across Channels

Achieving consistency across all digital and physical marketing materials required meticulous planning and coordination. Collaborating closely with stakeholders, project management, development, and external partners, we developed a comprehensive style guide and asset library that served as the blueprint for our brand’s visual and verbal language. This ensured that our brand spoke with one unified voice through interactive, social media, or inbound and outbound marketing campaigns.

Enhanced User Engagement Strategies

By diving deep into user analytics and personas, we could tailor our content and UX design to meet the needs of our audience. Interactive prototypes and testing became cornerstones of our design process, allowing us to refine user journeys and interfaces that captivated and converted.

Digital Ad Grid

Efficient Production and Deployment

Implementing a cross-functional digital asset management system and SaaS branding solution marked a turning point in our production workflows. This system streamlined creation, approval, and distribution of marketing materials, significantly reducing turnaround times and enhancing collaboration across departments.

CFN Design System

Experiential Marketing Initiatives

Elevating our signature events, particularly the National Convention, which attracts nearly 1,800 attendees annually, we meticulously crafted immersive graphics, compelling video content, and digital portals tailored from attendees’ insights. These portals offered comprehensive access to information on participants, speakers, schedules, and rich content while solidifying our brand essence within a dynamic and engaging environment.

These initiatives addressed the immediate challenges and laid the groundwork for a dynamic, adaptable digital marketing ecosystem poised to evolve with the brand. This ecosystem ensured Commonwealth remained at the forefront of digital innovation in the financial services sector.

CFN Conference Pages
National Conference Stage

Results

Our rebranding and digital marketing strategies truly delivered, marking a new era for Commonwealth. This success resulted from blending innovative creative strategy, a focus on user-centric design, and leveraging technological advancements, all of which exceeded our initial goals.

  • Successful Brand Relaunch: Our comprehensive rebranding initiative culminated in a successful company-wide launch. The enthusiastic acceptance of our new brand identity, both internally and among our broader community, marked a significant milestone, showcasing the collaborative spirit of our team. This wasn’t merely a visual update but a profound declaration of our evolved ethos.
  • Boosted Digital Engagement: Overhauling our public-facing website significantly elevated user interaction. Prioritizing intuitive design and incorporating valuable user feedback into our iterative process resulted in enhanced engagement metrics, including increased website visit duration and more interactive user sessions.
  • Improved Productivity and Efficiency: Updating our intranet with user experience best practices and a more structured information architecture significantly advanced our internal productivity and workflow efficiency. This led to easier access to resources and tools, promoting a smoother operational flow and encouraging a collaborative workplace culture.
  • Seamless Marketing Material Transition: Our advisors and partners seamlessly transitioned to updated marketing materials and enhanced digital tools. A well-defined branding guide and an efficient digital asset management system ensured quick adaptation, enabling stakeholders to utilize the new brand identity effectively in their engagements.
  • Increased Social Media Interaction: Our refreshed approach to social media, aligned with the new brand identity, generated higher engagement across all channels. We cultivated a more dynamic and interactive online community by producing content that resonated with our audience’s needs and preferences.
  • Faster Turnaround for Marketing Requests: Implementing a cross-functional digital asset management solution and a SaaS-based branding system markedly improved our marketing operations. This innovation facilitated rapid production and streamlined approvals, significantly reducing turnaround times and boosting our market responsiveness.

These achievements highlight the effectiveness of our rebranding and digital marketing endeavors and reflect our commitment to fostering innovation, enhancing user engagement, and optimizing operational efficiency. The journey has positively shifted Commonwealth’s brand perception, solidifying our status as a progressive leader in the financial services sector.

Conclusion

Reflecting on Commonwealth’s rebranding journey, it’s clear that the blend of strategic foresight, digital innovation, and collaborative spirit was crucial to our success. These experiences have laid a strong foundation for future growth, ensuring the brand remains relevant and vibrant in the digital age. The journey has taught me the value of adaptability, data-driven insights, the impact of unified branding, and the importance of engaging with an audience through every possible touchpoint.