Brand Personality Matters

It’s about predicting LOYALTY.  Personality traits that are ascribed to a brand have predictive value in the users’ willingness to work with the supplier.  Marketers who are trying to develop loyal users need to build and deliver experiences for their users that support the development of a constructive brand personality profile.  A well-designed brand personality profile is a critical component of a well-designed strategic marketing plan.  And, as with anything that will be effectively managed, it must be effectively measured.

How We Measure BP

Every year, Credo asks a random sample of financial advisors:

  1. what companies they have on their product shelf; then,
  2. which are they working with more (i.e., which are acquiring their greater support) and which are being marginalized or removed from use (i.e., which are seeing defection.)  Of course, some are simply being used to the same degree as ever (i.e., retention of support); then,
  3. we ask them to consider the same companies relative to a specific set of 25 personality traits and we have them ascribe those traits to the companies if they feel the trait, for one reason or other, characterizes the company.

This trait ascription exercise produces a data set that enables us to explore (with logistic regression) the relationship between the ascription of personality traits and the loyalty of customers.  Our acquisition and defection modeling is a key part of the loyalty measurement research that we conduct.  It enables us to explain that companies that are experiencing greater than average defection might need to take specific action to mitigate perceptions of arrogance — a general driver of client defection.  It enables us to explain that many companies that are acquiring greater support are doing so because of their efforts to be innovative — a general driver of support acquisition.

With this as a backdrop to Credo’s Brand Personality research, consider an individual brand more deeply: Consider BMO ETFs.

 

BMO ETFs Analysis

Exhibit 1 below is a graphical representation of BMO ETF’s brand personality (BP) profile.  It represents the proportion of the brand’s users (financial advisors in this case) who ascribe each specific brand personality trait to the company.  Brand personality analysis is important because there is a strong relationship between a company’s brand personality and advisors’ loyalty to a company. Some BP traits are associated with improvements in loyalty and the acquisition of support. Other BP traits are precursors to defection.

Exhibit 1. BMO ETFs’ overall brand personality profile.

To the left-hand side of this graphic are the personality traits that are most ascribed to the brand by advisors.  Professional is ascribed by 53% of BMO ETFs’ advisor clients while Dependable and Trustworthy are both ascribed to the brand by 44% of those same advisors. To the right-hand side of the analysis are those that are least frequently ascribed to the brand.  Independent and Arrogant are traits ascribed to the brand by 10% and 7% of BMO ETFs’ clients, respectively.  So, in this analysis, for each trait, we show the proportion of advisors who use BMO ETFs that have attributed the specific personality attribute to the brand.

Below we provide more details with respect to each personality trait.  We include the specific trait’s ascription level to the brand over time along with a comparative industry average ascription level for the trait.  The ascription level over time helps us determine how the brand’s personality is evolving.  For the brand manager, this tells whether or not the customer experience model that they have been implementing is having the desired effect over time.  The industry comparison statistics enable us to determine whether or not the specific trait is a strength/weakness and an opportunity/threat within the competitive marketplace.

Detailed, Specific BP Trends

Trustworthy

In 2018, 44% of advisors ascribed Trustworthy to BMO ETFs.  The overall trend with respect to the ascription of this trait for BMO ETFs, between 2012 and 2018, was moderately positive/upwards. The proportion achieved this year is higher than the brand’s average ascription level achieved over the entire measured period; that comparative figure was 40%.  The ascription achieved this year is slightly higher than the level achieved last year (41%), too.

BMO ETFs’ ascription level for this trait remains significantly below the industry average.  The ascription level achieved this year by BMO ETFs (44%) is lower than the average ascription of this trait to other measured companies (49%).   The seven year average ascription level for BMO ETFs was 41% which was significantly lower than a comparable industry statistic of 47%.

Exhibit 2.  Ascription of the trait Trustworthy to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“I don’t really trust them because I don’t really know anyone from there… besides, they are a bank, they are trying to steal my business at every corner.”

 

“Do I trust them? About as far as I can throw them. But they’ve got ETFs that fit for my needs and my clients needs, so I’m ok using them.  Would I ditch them and use another ETF? … only if it made sense …only if a new ETF did something better than BMO’s because I’ve already made BMO’s ETFs part of what I’m doing.”

 

Supportive

34% of advisors attribute Supportive to BMO ETFs.  The proportion achieved this year is higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (30%). The overall trend for BMO ETFs is thus positive. The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (33%).

The proportion achieved this year (34%) is significantly lower than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (40%). The proportion achieved this year is lower than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (35%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (36%).

Exhibit 3.  Ascription of the trait Supportive to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“…it’s not like they are a Fidelity of Mackenzie, but if I need to speak with someone, they seem to be able to offer me reasonable support… certainly from a technical perspective.”

 

“I haven’t met anyone that offers me better support in the ETF space than the specialist from BMO… his command of the subject matter is exceptional.”

Leading

32% of advisors attribute Leading to BMO ETFs.The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (30%). The overall trend for BMO is down. The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (31%).

The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (30%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (25%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (26%).

Exhibit 4.  Ascription of the trait Leading to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“there’s no question… the people who are running BMO ETFs are leading the way with some of the ETFs they have introduced… a couple, in particular, are go-to ETFs for me.”

Strong

29% of advisors attribute Strong to BMO ETFs.The overall trend for BMO is down. The proportion achieved this year is lower than the proportion achieved in the previous year (33%). The proportion achieved this year is lower than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (30%).

The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (38%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (36%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (40%).

Exhibit 5  Ascription of the trait Strong to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“they’re a bank.  Really, how much stronger can you get!”

Dependable

44% of advisors attribute Dependable to BMO ETFs.The overall trend for BMO is up. The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (40%). The proportion achieved this year is higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (39%).

The proportion achieved this year is higher than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (43%). The proportion achieved this year is higher than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (43%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (40%).

Exhibit 6.  Ascription of the trait Dependable to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“The products they offer have done the things I was told they would do… so I can depend on them to deliver for my clients the way I expect them to.”

Consultative

25% of advisors attribute Consultative to BMO ETFs.The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (20%). The overall trend for BMO is up. The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (18%).

The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (21%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (20%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (22%).

Exhibit 7.  Ascription of the trait Consultative to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“You can’t find anybody to help you at [iShares] but with BMO, when I had a problem understanding one of their covered call offerings worked, they brought in a guy to show me… and that kind of consultation goes a long way.”

Knowledgeable

42% of advisors attribute Knowledgeable to BMO ETFs.The proportion achieved this year is higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (40%). The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (41%). The overall trend for BMO is up.

The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (45%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (45%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (40%).

Exhibit 8.  Ascription of the trait Knowledgeable to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“there’s a guy who has been there for ages… Alain Desbiens… and he always seems to know how to help me and my team with technical aspects of… and if he doesn’t know it off the top of his head, he’s got a guy in his pocket who does know.”

Sensible

27% of advisors attribute Sensible to BMO ETFs.The proportion achieved this year is higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (20%). The proportion achieved this year is higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (23%). The overall trend for BMO is up.

The proportion achieved this year is higher than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (25%). The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (30%). The proportion achieved this year is higher than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (25%).

Exhibit 9.  Ascription of the trait Sensible to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“I don’t know if they are sensible, but it’s sensible for mew to be using BMO’s ETFs.”

Intelligent

28% of advisors attribute Intelligent to BMO ETFs.The proportion achieved this year is lower than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (30%). The proportion achieved this year is slightly lower than the proportion achieved in the previous year (29%). The overall trend for BMO is down.

The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (30%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (32%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (34%).

Exhibit 10.  Ascription of the trait Intelligent to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“Kevin Prins knows his business really well… he always has something intelligent to bring to the table when ever I’ve met him or whenever I’ve seen him present.”

Consistent

38% of advisors attribute Consistent to BMO ETFs.The overall trend for BMO is up. The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (31%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (30%).

The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (36%). The proportion achieved this year is slightly lower than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (38%). The proportion achieved this year is higher than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (40%).

Exhibit 11.  Ascription of the trait Consistent to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“absolutely consistent with what I was expecting from it.  I thought it would do X, and it did X… not Y.  and that’s just such a relief.”

Stable

36% of advisors attribute Stable to BMO ETFs.The overall trend for BMO is up. The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the proportion achieved in the previous year (48%). The proportion achieved this year is slightly lower than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (40%).

The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (45%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (40%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (45%).

Exhibit 12.  Ascription of the trait Stable to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“you know, if the Bank of Montreal is going to have problems, if they aren’t as stable a player as they come, you’re really going to question[the industry.]”

Innovative

37% of advisors attribute Innovative to BMO ETFs.The proportion achieved this year is slightly lower than the proportion achieved in the previous year (38%). The overall trend for BMO is down. The proportion achieved this year is lower than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (40%).

The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (25%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (30%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (24%).

Exhibit 13.  Ascription of the trait Innovative to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“when they brought that thing out… it was exactly what I was looking for.  It was innovative… hell I didn’t even know I needed it”

Aggressive

13% of advisors attribute Aggressive to BMO ETFs.The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (12%). The overall trend for BMO is up. The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (10%).

The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (10%). The proportion achieved this year is slightly lower than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (13%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (14%).

Exhibit 14.  Ascription of the trait Aggressive to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“they brought this one guy in and he starts talking and it was like a machine gun.  He was so aggressive in how he came across… I’d never let him back in the door.”

Conservative

19% of advisors attribute Conservative to BMO ETFs.The proportion achieved this year is higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (17%). The overall trend for BMO is up. The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (20%).

The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (20%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (23%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (21%).

Exhibit 15.  Ascription of the trait Conservative to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“well, the bank is by its very nature conservative.  They won’t let anything get outside their comfort zone.  That’s fine, you know what you’re getting.”

Visionary

24% of advisors attribute Visionary to BMO ETFs.The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (20%). The proportion achieved this year is higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (20%). The overall trend for BMO is down.

The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (20%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (21%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (21%).

Exhibit 16.  Ascription of the trait Visionary to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“…no question in my mind, BMO had a vision of being the one to own ETFs when they came out… and as far as I’m concerned, they’ve gone out and done it. You’ve gotta hand it to them, they went out and beat iShares at their own game.”

Arrogant

7% of advisors attribute Arrogant to BMO ETFs.The overall trend for BMO is up. The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (0%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (3%).

The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (10%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (7%). The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (7%).

Exhibit 17.  Ascription of the trait Arrogant to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“I don’t see them as arrogant at all… anything but arrogant, actually…”

 

“that prick is never getting into this branch again, the arrogant sonovabitch… he shows up late and laughs it off… he was totally unprepared.”

Professional

53% of advisors attribute Professional to BMO ETFs.The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (50%). The overall trend for BMO is up. The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (52%).

The proportion achieved this year is slightly lower than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (54%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (56%). The proportion achieved this year is lower than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (50%).

Exhibit 18.  Ascription of the trait Professional to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“…Webster is is a picture of professionalism whenever he comes into the office.  I’ve had other wholesalers… I’ll take Mark any day… he is so together…”

Responsive

29% of advisors attribute Responsive to BMO ETFs.The overall trend for BMO is up. The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (30%). The proportion achieved this year is lower than the proportion achieved in the previous year (33%).

The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (30%). The proportion achieved this year is lower than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (30%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (31%).

Exhibit 19.  Ascription of the trait Responsive to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“I haven’t met him before, but whenever I have sent him a note asking for something, he responds so quickly.  That’s important, because if I don’t have the answer myself, it’s usually for a good reason.”

Confident

36% of advisors attribute Confident to BMO ETFs.The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (30%). The overall trend for BMO is up. The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (27%).

The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (36%). The proportion achieved this year is slightly lower than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (36%). The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (40%).

Exhibit 20.  Ascription of the trait Confident to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“Mark is absolutely unflappable.  He knows the answers and he answers without hesitation.  He’s just so confident in what he does and that gives me confidence.”

Accessible

38% of advisors attribute Accessible to BMO ETFs.The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (32%). The proportion achieved this year is higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (30%). The overall trend for BMO is up.

The proportion achieved this year is lower than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (40%). The proportion achieved this year is lower than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (39%). The proportion achieved this year is slightly lower than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (39%).

Exhibit 21.  Ascription of the trait Accessible to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“…maybe it’s that I know the guy that does ETFs for BMO, but as far as I’m concerned, if I pick up the phone and call, he’s always there at the other end of the line.  Yes, he’s really accessible.”

Timely

29% of advisors attribute Timely to BMO ETFs.The overall trend for BMO is down. The proportion achieved this year is higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (25%). The proportion achieved this year is higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (30%).

The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (23%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (23%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (20%).

Exhibit 22.  Ascription of the trait Timely to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“BMO launched it long before anyone else even thought of it. That was really timely.  the result is that I’ve got a lot in my clients accounts… my own, too, actually.  Too bad they haven’t been as leading with their mutual funds… I don’t waste my time there any longer…”

Focused

34% of advisors attribute Focused to BMO ETFs.The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the proportion achieved in the previous year (32%). The overall trend for BMO is up. The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (30%).

The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (28%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (30%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (30%).

Exhibit 23.  Ascription of the trait Focused to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“I have used their ETFs to gain focused exposure to a number of areas where my company just doesn’t have the expertise.”

Niche

19% of advisors attribute Niche to BMO ETFs.The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (20%). The proportion achieved this year is lower than the proportion achieved in the previous year (21%). The overall trend for BMO is down.

The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (17%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (16%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (20%).

Exhibit 24.  Ascription of the trait Niche to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“the bank isn’t a niche player, but their ETFs… any ETFs, really, are kinda niche.”

 

“they fill a niche need that I have in some of my portfolios… something I can’t really do myself.”

Independent

10% of advisors attribute Independent to BMO ETFs.The overall trend for BMO is down. The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the proportion achieved in the previous year (14%). The proportion achieved this year is lower than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (10%).

The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (30%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (26%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly lower than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (26%).

Exhibit 25.  Ascription of the trait Independent to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“they are a bank.  They define not independent.”

 

“The guidance I get from Mark is remarkably independent, at least it feels that way.  I mean, I don’t think he gets paid any more or any less for whether or not I’m using BMO’s ETFs… at least I don’t think he does… so I value his input.”

None

None is a unique trait in our Brand Personality System.  It is “checked” by respondents when they feel none of the personality traits that are presented to them fit for the brand they are asked to consider.

12% of advisors attribute None to BMO ETFs.The overall trend for BMO is up. The proportion achieved this year is slightly lower than the proportion achieved in the previous year (13%). The proportion achieved this year is slightly higher than the average proportion achieved over the measured period (10%).

The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the same year average of all other companies (10%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the rank achieved in the previous year average of all other companies (10%). The proportion achieved this year is significantly higher than the average proportion of all other companies achieved over the measured period (10%).

Exhibit 26.  The Proportion of respondents who ascribed no personality to BMO ETFs by its supporters between 2012 and 2018

“I just lost touch with them … I’m working with Vanguard, now, so they don’t really matter to me anymore.  I can only deal with so many companies.”

What is a Constructive BP Profile?

The simple answer is this: a constructive BP profile is a profile that promotes customer acquisition and that mitigates customer defection.  A company’s BP profile generally emerges from the experiences it delivers to its customers and prospective customers.  Well managed companies take time to explore and understand the relationship between the customer experience they deliver and the brand personality profile that results.  Moreover, they take an active role in engineering the customer experience based on their ongoing objective measurement of their BP profile.

It is important to note that no single BP profile is necessarily ideal.  To be sure, certain traits are more desirable than others.  Credo can state, definitively, that arrogance as a trait drives defection and that professionalism is “table-stakes” for any firm.  But a BP profile is much like a fingerprint — it is unique for a firm. That said, it differs from a fingerprint in the sense that it evolves over time as a company changes the nature of the customer experiences it delivers.

BP profiling is an important part of measurement in sales and marketing management.  Companies that are interested in managing aspects of customer loyalty (acquisition, defection and retention) must appreciate the importance of brand personality.