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How does design impact Financial Planners and CPAs?

Blog

How does design impact Financial Planners and CPAs?

Branding and design presents a massive opportunity for financial planners and CPAs, yet it’s often their lowest priority. What they don’t understand is that design plays a critical role in building trust with their customers, targeting a specific niche, and differentiating themselves in a crowded and often cookie-cutter marketplace.

In this article we’ll discuss the unique brand challenges faced by financial planners and CPAs and how thoughtful design can impact their results.


Building Trust and Credibility

Money is a significant stressor for most people. According to a 2024 MarketWatch poll, 88% of people face some level of financial stress with 65% of those people saying it’s their biggest source of stress.

It takes an enormous amount of trust for someone in financial distress to hand over their sensitive information and act on advice that has so much impact.

Financial planners and CPAs need to prioritize how they address their client’s fears through effective communication in order to earn that trust.

Professional Design

A clean, professional design immediately conveys credibility. High-quality logos, consistent color schemes, and typography convey the professionalism and trustworthiness so crucial to the trust-building process.

Results-Oriented Testimonials and Case Studies

A well-designed testimonial / case study section on your website not only provides real-world proof of your success, but it also helps develop your prospect’s expectations about what it’s like to work with you.

Results-oriented pages for each type of client the business serves can further clarify and personalize their value proposition.


Differentiation in a Crowded Market

The financial services industry is highly competitive, with many professionals offering similar services. Identifying and effectively targeting the right audience is where most financial service providers struggle.

Different types of clients will have different financial issues, and therefore different cues, imagery, and language that speak to their needs.

By speaking to a specific audience with a specific point of view financial service providers can define a unique space in the hearts and minds of their clients.

Unique Visual Identity

A distinctive visual identity helps a brand stand out. Custom graphics, unique color palettes, and memorable logos leverage the unique cues their audience looks for to differentiate themself from competitors.


Oscar Health Insurance, stood out in the crowded insurance marketplace by focusing on branding, becoming one of the largest brands in the industry.


Brand Storytelling

Use the design to tell a compelling brand story. Infographics, timelines, and interactive elements can highlight the unique aspects of the business and its history.


Regulatory Constraints

Financial planners and CPAs are subject to stringent regulatory requirements that can limit marketing tactics and the types of claims they can make.

This limitation is often the end of the line for them.

In reality it highlights just how important it is to create compliance-friendly design and maintain ongoing communication with their clients that are routinely ignored.

Compliance-Friendly Design

It’s important to work with designers that can adhere to industry regulations, using disclaimers and legal text in a way that is clear but not intrusive.

DIY solutions aren’t designed with these limitations in mind leaving the job of updating the design for compliance on the business owner.

Educational Content Hub

The financial planner audience is starving for information. The strategy of a content hub is to provide answers to different client problems and scenarios as their situation changes over time.


Morningstar uses their content hub to tailor their advice to unique trends in their industry.


Creating a well-designed, regulation-compliant content hub that houses blogs, whitepapers, videos, FAQs, and webinars is a perfect way to satiate information cravings, demonstrate authority, and keep them engaged with your brand.


Complex Subject Matter

The services provided by financial planners and CPAs can be complex and difficult for the average consumer to understand. All service providers need to educate their clients on how they accomplish the results of working together.

In a product-based business there are pre-existing expectations and understandings from similar products that service providers can’t make use of. It’s often their client’s first experience working with a financial planner or with their unique approach to the service, which makes clear communication even more significant.

Design for the Customer Journey

Websites with a simple, intuitive navigation structure that highlight the customer experience of working together and the benefits of the CPA’s unique service can remove the friction of getting a commitment from their clients.

Visual Aids

With complex financial topics infographics, explainer content, and diagrams help to break down confusing concepts into visuals that are easy to understand.

The greater the complexity of your service, the simpler and more user-focused your visuals will need to be.


Zuora Earnings Report from Focus Lab


Financial information also tends to be focused on objective measures like data and trends, but leave out the emotional, subjective impact that drive client decisions. It’s important to incorporate emotional cues and language in your design to personalize your findings to your specific clients.


Building Long-Term Relationships

Financial planning and accounting are relationship-driven fields that require long-term client engagement. Regular communication and providing ongoing value are important to building long-term, trusting relationships.

Design that is difficult to consume, overly complex, or generally unappealing can be what keeps a one-time customer from becoming a long-term customer.

User-Friendly Experience

In design, less is more. Working with a designer to make your content easy to read, responsive, and easy to find on your website all contribute so a delightful customer experience.

Regular Communication

Design email templates and newsletters that are consistent with the brand’s visual identity. Regular, well-designed communications can help maintain client relationships.

Propr, winner of Clutch’s 2023 Top Branding Company award, states, "it’s crucial to find what makes you unique and convey that clearly and meaningfully. The more unique your brand comes across to consumers, the more likely they’ll be to think of your company the next time they need to make a purchase."


Overall Impact

Effective branding and website design can significantly enhance the ability of financial planners and CPAs to address their unique challenges. Clarifying their value to a specific audience has a number of powerful benefits:

  • Enhancing Credibility: A professional and cohesive design fosters trust and confidence.

  • Establishing Authority: Content-rich designs build thought leadership.

  • Improving Differentiation: Unique and memorable design elements set the brand apart.

  • Targeting Effectively: Customized designs address the specific needs of different audience segments.

  • Facilitating Compliance: Thoughtful design helps meet regulatory requirements.

  • Simplifying Complex Information: Visual aids and intuitive layouts make complex topics more accessible.

  • Fostering Relationships: Personalized and consistent communication strengthens client bonds.

  • Demonstrating Value: Clear presentation of results and benefits underscores the ROI.

By addressing these challenges through strategic design, financial planners and CPAs can create a strong, trustworthy, and engaging brand presence that attracts and retains clients.

Attract your ideal clients with a brand that works for you.

Our clients deserve our full attention which is why we only take on 12 projects per year.

Book your free discovery call today to reserve your spot and receive specific, actionable advice to resonate with branding.

newsletter

Become a resonant brand in 4 minutes per week.

Every week I share insights, resources, and actionable advice designed to help you resonate with your ideal clients.

© 2012–2024 Jake Cooper Design

Attract your ideal clients with a brand that works for you.

Our clients deserve our full attention which is why we only take on 12 projects per year.

Book your free discovery call today to reserve your spot and receive specific, actionable advice to resonate with branding.

newsletter

Become a resonant brand in 4 minutes per week.

Every week I share insights, resources, and actionable advice designed to help you resonate with your ideal clients.

© 2012–2024 Jake Cooper Design