Private Equity Branding

Branding for Private Equity Firms

by Sharp | July 15, 2015

Sharp Partner and Creative Director, Bob Ireland was recently featured in the Financial Times’ Fund Fire for his positioning on brand messaging in the Private Equity space. Here’s what he had to say:


Private equity firms have been looking to raise capital from retail investors for years via feeder funds at brokerage firms, public offerings and, most recently, customized funds. Traditionally, going after these investors has been the sport of the private equity giants that have the infrastructure and personnel to fundraise and administer to such a fragmented audience.

However, this has all changed with the introduction of new online distribution platforms that enable qualified investors or their registered investment advisors (RIAs) to discover and directly connect with private equity funds. Plus, these platforms enable private equity funds to market directly to these investors without incurring serious overhead costs, such as the cost of building a retail sales force.

What this means is that at least $1 trillion is in play from qualified investors and their RIAs looking to diversify into an alternative asset class like private equity. More than 2,000 small- to mid-sized private equity funds are now able to showcase their goods to the qualified investors and RIAs they covet. This sounds like a match made in heaven, but for the private equity firms, there lies a challenge – why would someone choose one firm or fund versus the thousands of others that are accessible on these online platforms?

To stand out amongst the clutter, think about what makes your firm and fund different versus your core competitors. Sure past performance seems like a reasonable place to focus, but as we all well know, “it does not guarantee future results (nor can those results always be published).” Also, for many RIAs and qualified investors, there are still some barriers to entry, like the typical private equity fund’s long-term lock-up periods and fund administrative challenges.

A good starting point is to examine and refine your investment philosophy and move on from there, identifying unique core values that support your philosophy and enable you to deliver returns to this audience. The key is to not simply identify easy point of entry values and attributes that investors expect – i.e., transparency, excellence, independence – but more unique qualities that really position you as a different and better alternative to your competitors, such as having unique “partner DNA” that yields access to the most interesting and exceptional deal flow.

Like any successful brand, private equity funds must make a promise to existing key constituencies, including limited partners, portfolio companies and personnel, every day. To reach potential retail investors, firms must fine-tune and harness a promise that implies superiority and a competitive edge, such as “We’ll deliver market-beating performance.” Have that promise be omnipresent in all outward and internal communications such as your logo, website, pitchbooks, brochures, presentations, speeches, press releases, and lobby signage. And if you have not already, draft a firm-wide elevator speech, so that every single player on your team – from the front desk to back office – can clearly and consistently communicate your points of difference and personality.

With all of today’s potential fund choices, private equity firms need to get their message down, in order to make the right first impression with potential investors.

*Featured image by Johrling, Flickr

Search The Blog

Architecture & Design
Brand Strategy
Creative Services
Inside Sharp
Out and About
Public Relations
Sharp News
Social Media
Special Events

All Sharp Posts >


Related Posts

© 2017 Sharp Communications, Inc. | All Rights Reserved