HORAN Wealth

A brand strategy that laid the foundation for success.


Branding // Market Research // Strategy

HORAN is a financial management organization composed of four corporate entities. Two are focused on health insurance benefits and the other two are focused on financial management.

The two financial management entities wanted to share their resources and create a number of synergies that would help ensure sustained growth into the future. So they hired us to create a brand strategy and messaging that would help them seamlessly merge to become “HORAN Wealth.”

Developing a new brand strategy was extremely important. It would serve as the foundation for future campaigns for years to come. We needed to dig deep and work off of substantiated and predictive insights to create a brand that internal stakeholders and constituents could buy into.

Bringing in brand differentiation.

With this in mind, we knew authentic brand differentiation was extremely important for the long run—something many financial organizations struggle with. Most companies talk about their experience, expertise and ability to help clients achieve their unique goals by building a customized plan. However, we know you need to go further to communicate what really makes an organization different for employees, stakeholders, clients and prospects. We discovered HORAN is guided by 27 internal values called “The HORAN Way.” With this great differentiator identified we got to work.

Steps to the strategy.

We used qualitative and quantitative methods to gather the brand attributes that would be differentiated, believable and complementary to “The HORAN Way.” Here’s how we made it happen:


Scanned the positioning and marketing of five competitors to understand the landscape. To find ways to stand out, we evaluated HORAN and their competitors on degrees of messaging differentiation as well as rational and emotional appeal.

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Hosted a Brand as Friend® interactive workshop with the client to find their authentic values. Though usually portrayed as a logical and pragmatic brand, we discovered during this session that loyalty, honesty and caring rose to the top.


Interviewed current clients and prospects to get their perceptions of HORAN and its competitors.

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Developed emotional and rational messaging and tested it in a quantitative study to determine what resonated best.

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Used all of our inputs to create the full brand strategy including the brand promise, positioning, value proposition, value pillars and reasons to believe.


Built out messaging for internal and external audiences with an understanding of who each audience is, their current and desired mindset, what barriers they face and how we could prioritize our messaging to help them feel a specific way about HORAN Wealth.

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Created a rollout plan to activate the brand internally and externally.

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An investment that paid off.

The HORAN team then used these foundational brand strategy elements and our recommended rollout plan to launch the brand internally. Because a strong strategy was put in place from the get-go, the tactics were faster and easier to implement. After great results internally, HORAN decided to apply our workAfter great results, HORAN applied our work to their new website as well as sales and marketing materials to successfully bring the brand to life externally. But don’t take our word for it:

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We turn brands into friends.

By connecting with project stakeholders, employees, clients and communities of HORAN through in-depth research, internal exploration sessions and interviews, the financial company learned their people wanted a loyal, honest and caring brand over anything else. The brand was able to take these learnings and confidently roll out a new brand strategy that’s authentic to the company and engaging to target audiences.

Key Brand as Friend® drivers:

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