Mergers and acquisitions have been a prominent feature of the asset management landscape the past few years, with more likely to come in 2023 as weaker firms are left exposed by the receding economic tide.

Consolidation around sustainability as a core brand attribute has also accelerated over the past couple of years, with many brands now looking and sounding very similar.  

In an increasingly homogenous and consolidated market, firms are realising the need to look hard at how to differentiate from their peers.  

From our perspective, this requires a fulsome understanding of two things: 

  1. What peers are doing and saying i.e., where are potential gaps/white space 
  1. What clients are looking for and expecting of them. 

An understanding of the first can readily be achieved given a bit of time and effort in trawling through competitor websites and collateral. The second can be a harder nut to crack, especially in an industry that has historically been poor at engaging with and understanding end clients.  

Additionally, in a post-Covid world, where the majority of interactions are still online, the traditional arbiters of client sentiment - sales teams - are generally still hampered in their capacity to monitor and relay Intelligence back. 

To more accurately tell the temperature, then, many brands are turning back to market research. This has been made cheaper and more efficient by the same technology keeping sales teams at an arm’s length from their clients – video conferencing.  

Focus groups, with attendees ranging from end investors to consultants, give businesses a rare chance to sit down with clients and prospects for a dedicated period, to ask exactly what they want, need, are worried about and expect from them.  

While this sounds relatively simple on paper, executing a successful and meaningful market research project is harder than you might expect. Traditional providers of market research are often not industry specific, and, especially when dealing with institutional audiences, recruiting participants can be a challenge.  

Likewise, an in-depth knowledge of the target audience and the firm’s current market position are essential to designing screeners used to recruit participants, and question guides for focus groups to extract meaningful and useful insight. Finally, all the data and insight in the world is of little practical use without the understanding to translate this into practical, actionable outcomes and the means to implement it.  

Internal and external research and communication is key to establishing an authentic brand. No brand promise can ring true or deliver over the long term if it is not lived and breathed by the people in the business. Carrying out interviews, surveys and focus group research across a wide range of employees in a business helps to identify shared values, visions, language and culture that support and inform the external brand promise.  

At White Marble Consulting we bring together decades of experience in investment marketing with the means and know-how to facilitate company, peer, client and prospect research. Our output is unbiased firm- and industry-relevant insight, translated into actionable recommendations to help brands focus in on what differentiates them.  

Learn more about our research capabilities here: