After 12 years, HighTower has announced a new branding campaign for its corporate entity as well as its network of 63 advisory businesses that share the brand. The firm has refreshed its logo, with a more modern color scheme, lines and a new tag line, “well-th. rebalanced.”
Elliot Weissbluth, who stepped down as CEO to become chairman of HighTower’s board, founded the Chicago-based firm in 2008 as a turnkey landing place for so-called wirehouse brokers. The firm’s branding has included the familiar chalk mark and the tag line “unobstructed view,” which speaks to the firm’s commitment to the fiduciary approach to managing assets, one without conflicts of interest.
“Since that time HighTower has transformed into a community of over 100 advisory businesses that are largely very independent in nature and backed by the depth of resources that we provide to them,” said Chief Marketing Officer Abby Salameh. “We're past the phase where we're the startup anymore.”
And while the firm is still committed to unconflicted advice, the business has evolved since the early days; the firm is now focused solely on providing capital and support services to registered investment advisors, has a new management team, including CEO Bob Oros, and has made a strategic shift to an ownership model.
The new branding better reflects where the organization is today, said Salameh, who has been spearheading the campaign since she came on board in May. To help with the rebrand exercise, she brought 40 HighTower stakeholders, which included employees and advisors, to Chicago two different times. It also included in-depth interviews with 20 additional Hightower advisors, as well as 20 RIA firms outside of the organization, to determine its differentiating factors.
The big idea that came out of those meetings was that HighTower is a collaboration between advisors, corporate headquarters and clients, with the firm supporting advisors to help their clients achieve their personal definition of “wealth.” It’s spelled “well-th” in the tag line to represent the firm’s and its advisors’ goal of addressing the holistic wellness of clients, beyond finances.
“Wealth means something different to everyone, and it's not always about the money,” Salameh says. “What we've done is changed the entire look of our material. We have a lot more images of clients and advisors in everyday situations, indications of who they are. And the brand messaging is really around the fact that everybody has their own story, and everybody's story is completely unique. And our advisors are here to help them write the next chapters of their stories, which will help them reach their final definition of ‘well-th. rebalanced.’”
The new brand will go into effect this week, including on HighTower’s website, in promotional materials and in client communications. Of the 107 advisory firms in HighTower's network, 63 use HighTower’s branding, and their brand standards will be updated this week—not an easy task.
“It’s everything from the signage on their walls to their websites, to all of their collateral material, their business cards, their stationery, their folders,” Salameh said. “It's replacing old videos that were on YouTube that really spoke to the wirehouse versus fiduciary model. Those all have to be swapped out.”
The firm also expects to launch a new advertising campaign with the new branding in February, which will be targeted toward advisors and potential acquisitions, not retail clients. The firm will also work with its advisors on a local level on automated digital marketing and social media campaigns.
“We thought that this was a unique way to talk about the fact that our advisors are not just focused on the financial portfolio, rebalancing of their client's accounts, but really on helping them find what having that balanced life means for them and then giving them the opportunity and finding the ways to help them achieve that through their finances,” Salameh said.
Since Oros took over the firm in January 2019, he has overseen the acquisition of several large RIAs, including Memphis-based Green Square Wealth Management, with $2.6 billion in assets, $4.8 billion LourdMurray, $1 billion Lexington Wealth Management and $1 billion Schultz Collins. Overall, HighTower has $57.4 billion in assets under management.