The Credo Study
Competition among fund companies in Canada continues to grow as Canada’s financial advisors “right-size” their product shelves and simplify their businesses by working with fewer suppliers.
How do fund companies position their brands for success with financial advisors? Does a company’s brand have the combination of qualities that financial advisors want in a manufacturer/supplier? It’s an increasingly tricky business as the industry landscape continues to evolve rapidly.
Identifying, measuring and managing aspects of your corporate brand… aspects that encourage financial advisors to keep your company on their product shelf is what the annual Credo Study is all about. It’s essential reading for Canada’s sales and marketing executives.
The scope of our ongoing study
The Credo Study is an annual study with between 1,000 and 1,500 randomy selected Canadian personal financial advisors from IIROC, MFDA and MGA firms. The study produces quantified benchmarks of advisors’ loyalty to the financial product suppliers they work with and it explores this loyalty.
For more than a decade, Credo has been using its well-established measurement frameworks to monitor KPIs (key performance indicators. With more than 1 million data points covering more than 35 of the competitors in the Canadian financial product manufacturing landscape, the underpinnings of advisors’ relationships with suppliers, The Credo Study involves a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research.
A. The Quantitative Program
The Quantitative components of The Credo Study include:
- Usage, Awareness and Loyalty Benchmarking
- Credibility Benchmarking
- Brand Personality Benchmarking
Each of these components of The Credo Study is profiled below.
1. Usage, Awareness and Loyalty Benchmarking
Credo surveys a random sample of Canada’s personal financial advisors. We ask them what financial product manufacturers they work with and we ask them if their use of each supplier is changing (increasing, decreasing or remaining the same.) This exercise enables Credo to establish benchmarks with respect to advisors’ loyalty to their suppliers. It also enables us to establish an understanding of advisors’ migration to and from suppliers. We model the data we collect to watch how advisors who are defecting from one company are throwing their support two or three others, concentrating their business with a more limited number of trusted, credible suppliers.
Exhibit 1. Elements of Credo’s Annual Usage, Awareness and Loyalty research
2. Credibility Benchmarking
Credo establishes a benchmark of how dependable and truthful financial advisors feel your company is. Just how trusted is your brand among advisors? Credo can tell you. Credo applies a highly consistent methodology year after year to measure advisors’ perceptions of very strategic dimensions of your brand.
Exhibit 2. Credo’s Brand Credibility Pyramid ( a framework for understanding customer support)
Each component of the credibility pyramid is measured by Credo. We ask advisors to react to a host of important statements that relate to each dimension of the pyramid. Exhibit 3 shows how more than 1,000 advisors react to the statement, “This company delivers what it promises.” Represented in blue in this graphical analysis are advisors who agree or strongly agree with this statement for each identifiable company. Green represents the proportion of advisors who neither agree nor disagree with the statement and in orange we have advisors who disagreed with the statement about corporate integrity. It is logical that the majority of advisors agreed with the statement. After all, these are the suppliers they have elected to have on their product shelves. Never-the-less, there is a broad range of levels of agreement and most brand managers would prefer to have their brand near the top of this map than the bottom.
Exhibit 3. One of Credo’s 26 key brand benchmarking statements
The relationship between advisors’ perceptions of their suppliers’ integrity… their commitment to deliver what they have promised… is very real. This is demonstrated clearly in the video Exhibit 4, below, where Credo demonstrates an analysis that shows the relationship where the correlation coefficient between these two dimensions exceeds 0.65.
Exhibit 4. VImeo of an analysis of advisors’ Willingness to Sell selected companies’ products and the companies’ commitment to delivering what they promise.
Measuring perceptions of corporate integrity by this means contributes to establishing Credo’s benchmark of overall corporate brand credibility.
3. Brand Personality Benchmarking
Brand Personality is the product of a company’s many interactions with its customers — the experiences it delivers. Credo uses a well-established brand personality measurement model to watch the evolution of personality among companies’ brands. Why? Because brand personality is strongly linked to loyalty. Every company has its own unique Brand Personality… much like a fingerprint. Unlike a fingerprint, however, a corporate brand personality evolves over time, changing with the different interactions a company delivers to its customers. Credo’s Brand Personality Spectrometer enables the profiling of financial product manufacturers.
Exhibit 5. Vimeo showing Credo’s Brand Personality Spectrometer in action.
Credo produces an assessment of each major brand based on advisors’ feedback about the company. Advisor assessments of their suppliers are an integral component of a SWOT analysis that covers the Strengths and Weaknesses of a company as well as a company’s Opportunities and Threats. On the basis of of advisors’ assessments, companies are identified by Credo as being Suppliers of Choice to the Canadian advisor community.
Credo’s quantitative research collects many characteristics of each advisor who responds to our research. This enables Credo to produce benchmark reporting based on almost any advisor segment.
Company Supporter Profiles
Credo produces a detailed profile of the advisors who indicate they are supporters of a company. This profile include detailed information such as:
- the average supporter’s age
- the average supporter’s book size
- the stage of business of the average supporter (start-up, growth, maturity, succession planning)
- the other companies found on the supporter’s product shelf
- the probability of the supporter recommending any given supplier
- the average supporter’s book structure
Customized advisor profiles can be produced, too, that include Credo’s proprietary advisor segmentation model… a model that expands on dimensions such as:
- supporters’propensity to opt for active vs passive money management
- supporters’propensity to opt for innovative rather than tried-and-tested instruments for their clients
- supporters’propensity to want to help their client develop holistic plans rather than manage money
- supporters’ propensity to feel connected to markets rather than connected to clients
- supporters’ propensity to rely on suppliers rather than do-it-themselves
These and other dimensions of Credo’s ongoing study make The Credo Study a valuable resource that enables Credo clients to better connect with Canada’s advice community.
B. The Qualitative Program
CredoConnect is the qualitative component of The Credo Study. It includes Credo’s one-on-one interviews with advisors who have indicated that they will be changing the volume of business they allocate to their various suppliers. Credo investigates the nuanced dynamics that affect advisors’ loyalty by maintaining an ongoing dialogue with the advisor community. It also includes workshop sessions with advisors where Credo explores the challenges and issues advisors face along with the experiences advisors have with their product suppliers.
As a part of our service to the advisor community, Credo facilitates CredoConnect workshops with advisors to enable them to understand how the broader advice community feels. CredoConnect helps advisors keep their fingers on the pulse of the advice community while it helps clients of The Credo Study appreciate the evolution of the advice community. Credo connects advisors who participate in CredoConnect sessions, and who specifically request connection, with the right resources at the investment companies we work with. This creates value for the advisors we speak with and for the companies that fund our ongoing work.
- Companies may subscribe to The Credo Study for $45k/year. They may access a premium version of the service for $60k/year. This provides access to dynamic tools. A limited version provides a company with access to their own company’s content for $35k/yr while full membership provides a company with access to any and all competitors’ quantitative reports and a limited set of competitors qualitative reports.
- Advisors may subscribe to the advisor version of The Credo Study (The Credo Study AV) for $24/month. Advisors who are participants in CredoConnect gain access to the Suppliers of Choice ratings as well as The Credo Study content without cost during CredoConnect workshops. Note: The advisor version of The Credo Study is limited in this respect: content for subscriber companies may be accessible only through the company’s sales and marketing team.
Contact Credo for more information
If advisors are your clients, The Credo Study helps you become more client-centric by focusing your attention on the voice of the customer.
What are your brand’s strengths and weaknesses in your clients’ minds…and what opportunities and threats exist as a result of the strengths and weaknesses of your many competitors? Look to the Credo Study for this information.
Interested in discussing the Credo Study? Call Credo at 905.919.1926