Communications Through The Lens Of Next Gen And Technology

IMAGE 10 Firm Founder Rudin Discusses Inspiration, Entrepreneurship, Technology, Next Gen And The Excitement Of The Marketing And Communications Space

Michael Madden, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst, Wealth Solutions Report

Technology and Next Gen themes often occupy headlines in wealth management because these key forces will shape the industry for decades to come. In 2008, April Rudin possessed the foresight to understand how thoroughly these factors would renovate the wealth management industry and launched a marketing and communications firm when most businesses waited anxiously as the Global Financial Crisis unfolded.

Rudin’s firm, The Rudin Group, is among the honorees WSR recognizes this week in the IMAGE 10: Top 10 Wealth Management Marketing & Communications Agencies. It serves asset managers, banks, fintech companies, wealthtech firms and wealth management firms with a perspective that embraces the rising generations and methods that leverage technological advances. The firm offers integrated marketing support across messaging, content creation and strategy, and placement of owned and earned media.

Rudin also has gained experience at multiple companies – including Forbes, The Huffington Post and Lefteris Acquisition Corp. – since becoming Founder and CEO of The Rudin Group. She is a recognized thought leader in wealth management, named to the 2022 Women in Fintech Power List in the Marketers and Communicators category.

April Rudin, Founder & CEO, The Rudin Group

We asked Rudin about the importance of marketing and communications with the younger generation and technology in mind, her inspiration for starting the firm and the satisfying components of her work.

WSR: What inspired you to enter marketing and communications as a career, and to be an entrepreneur?

Rudin: I began in marketing communications many years ago but I did not aspire to be an entrepreneur until I started working in financial services.

I could not believe how unsophisticated the industry’s marketing was while simultaneously being at the epicenter of extreme change and wealth. Because I have Gen Z kids, I knew they would never buy from a brand that used iconography like lighthouses and compasses or photos of gray-haired couples strolling a beach. That did not resonate with the Next Gen or with me. I saw a great opportunity for wealth management brands to modernize.

I asked a friend who was running a large trust company for advice, and he had four tips for me:

  1. You’re too old to be an entrepreneur.
  2. Banks will never hire outside marketing firms.
  3. Ultra-high and high net worth will never be “on the internet.”
  4. Social media is a fad.

Those views didn’t discourage me. Instead, they confirmed for me I was onto something. When I searched for financial services marketing firms online, I couldn’t find any. So, I designed the first Rudin Group website myself. Soon, we will be rebranding The Rudin Group once again, and I cannot wait to launch!

WSR: Your firm emphasizes Next Gen, affluence and technology. How does that emphasis affect the way your firm serves clients?

Rudin: For many financial services brands, some of these concepts are still new and they’re often not addressed in ways that reflect clients’ changing preferences. Next Gen investors have differentiated themselves, especially with their interest in environmental and social causes. They are also active in creating businesses. An unprecedented number of people have now acquired significant wealth at young ages. They are also digital natives and expect their financial advisors to provide a digital client experience that is as intuitive as a meal-delivery app.

The digital generation

In fact, investors of all ages have higher service expectations today, and wealth managers must raise their game. The importance of technology in all this has created opportunities for fintech entrepreneurs, and major financial services firms are taking advantage of their scale to upgrade their capabilities. The need to get the word out about these enhancements has heightened the importance of social media, digital media and marketing automation platforms.

The convergence of wealth management, Next Gen preferences and technology are at the heart of what we do at The Rudin Group. It is essential to consider all three when you develop branding and messaging to connect with an eager market of involved investors at all ages.

WSR: What are the most satisfying and exciting components of your work?

Rudin: There are so many satisfying and exciting components to the work we do. When a client comes to us hoping for a solution to a challenge, you often must create something entirely new. Then you get to see the fruits and impact of your labor. The thrill of that still excites me, and it carried me through in the early days when an entrepreneur has no guarantee that their new venture will succeed.

Marketing for wealth management also carries a degree of social responsibility, and it is important for us to consider that in the strategic advice we give to clients. Thinking about all the global financial services firms we served, I know that we have touched the lives of millions of investors and provided them with clear messaging that helps them select the best advisors and investments for their needs.

It still means a great deal to me when people tell me they follow me on social media, have read articles I’ve published or heard positive things about The Rudin Group! I feel validated in pursuing what many thought were “far out” ideas for such a conservative industry when we launched 15 years ago.

Michael Madden, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at mmadden@wealthsolutionsreport.com.

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