2014 is the Chinese ‘Year of the Horse,’ which highlights your-ethos and making efforts to improve yourself.  People born in the “Year of the Horse” are said to be ingenious communicators and seek the limelight. These two elements are also important to asset managers who want to enter the lucrative Asian markets, teeming with UHNW/HNW investors.  Typically, Asian UHNW/HNW individuals are young, mobile, “riskier than US counterparts,” and are seeking a greater number and variety of investment products than are currently available.  Ahead of the game, how can you “grease the skids” for visibility among potential investors and also referral sources?  The best way is to leverage your existing brand reputation and strength by creating a digital/social branding strategy to elevate your firm’s visibility in the virtual world ahead of your actual launch.

To enter the Asian market, your online brand must be strong.  Asian UHNW/HNW investors are many times more wired and tuned into social media channels than their global counterparts.  For example, Hong Kong brags of 1 in 7 being millionaires and the average age is 48.  Hong Kong and many other parts of Asia have over 100% adoption rate of mobile devices-meaning most users have more than once device, e.g. smart phone, tablet, etc.  The public buses in Hong Kong are wired for WiFi.  As a result, a detailed digital branding strategy is essential (not optional) for success in Asian markets.  It doesn’t hurt that digital/social media is also an effective, low-cost, and highly efficient marketing tool.

Brand messaging and strength can be amplified, measured, refined, and re-purposed via social/digital platforms.  The internet provides the amplification of messages cross-border and in a targeted way which was never possible via non-digital platforms.  I recommend beginning with revamping your firm’s website (s) to increase brand strength and recognition, and then using social media platforms and compelling messages to drive more traffic to your site via distribution of compelling and consistent content. The opportunity has never been better to leverage all of these factors.

The key to an effective digital/social strategy lies in the planning.  Brand building requires consistent messaging regardless of the platform.  Asset managers who want to target end investors or referral sources ahead of launch can employ these strategies easily via digital platforms.  Digital is a highly amplified way to become visible virtually without an “on the ground” presence.  While firms’ brand recognition and reputation can be leveraged in advance, digital and social media allow key executives to build their own personal brand as well.  Key executives should also establish an online presence through blogging, PR, posting and more.  This can also bolster the firm’s brand as well as attract and engage a community ahead of an Asian launch. 

Consistent brand building using social media platforms is the most effective, way to reach the lucrative, Asian UHNW market.  Here are some suggestions for firms who wish to “jump-start” their entry:

  • Website upgrading does your website run via mobile platforms? Should it be multi-lingual?
  • Establish a blogging platform for your firm’s thought leadership, value props, investment strategies, etc., to reside. Repurpose the blog via email newsletter, posting on LinkedIn and Tweeting
  • LinkedIn – Seek out potential referral sources or even potential business partners who may be already established in Asia.  Join LinkedIn groups and begin to comment, ask questions, etc.,  to strengthen your brand.  Create uniformly branded LinkedIn profiles for your firm and a LinkedIn company page as well.  Post relevant content onto LinkedIn every day as you do your reading. 
  • Twitter—Use hashtags like #Asia #etfs and search keywords to find tweets that support your investment strategies.
  • Facebook—Locate existing communities and begin commenting to get noticed and then creating your own brand page.

By following these suggestions and touting your brand, reputation and experience, you will find market entry a bit ‘warmer’ when prospects and referrers and others have been exposed to your brand.