Cameron Chell here again.

Let’s discuss a key question every angel investor should be asking themselves: what is my investor brand?

Your investor brand is what you are known for as an investor. It is your calling card. It is every aspect of your personality or philosophy that defines how you invest.

These could include the type of investments that you do, the stages and sizes of the investments that you do, or the demeanor of the investor that you are.

You may be wondering, why is my investor brand so important? Well, the short answer is that it will increase your ROI.

Regardless of the industry, developing and understanding your investor brand will provide you clarity on the type of investments you are looking at, and it will attract the type of investments you are looking at.

It will attract premium product to you as well as premium deal flow, because people understand both your profile and the value you bring to the company beyond just writing a check.

When I work with companies, I insist we go through a brand promise exercise, which is essentially an exercise to define what the customers, the vendors, the investors and the employees experience every time they interact with the company’s brand.

Why not have the same thing as an angel investor? Ask yourself: What is it that I want other investors, companies, deal flow, and people within the community to experience when they interact with me? Defining this brand and establishing this consistency will build your profile within communities to get you the best deal flow.

You may be thinking, “I don’t profile within any community, I just want to look at deals, make an assessment and decide whether or not I’m going to put any money in.”

That’s fine.

But consider the value of a brand promise. It not only helps you define and understand the type of investor that you are, but also provides you with the ability to determine whether the organization you are investing in has a clear picture of what they are promising their customers, employees, vendors, and investors.

Let’s dive deeper into what a brand promise is. There are three aspects to a brand promise: the emotional promise, the functional promise, and the financial promise.

The emotional promise is: What do you want somebody to feel when they interact with you as an investor? Excitement? Hope? Serenity? Caution?

When you deal with a potential investment, what do you want them to experience when they are giving you the pitch? Or if you already invested, what do you want them to feel when they are interacting with you?

The functional promise is: What do you bring to the table when you make an investment? Or when a company approaches you, what is the function you bring to the table?

This could simply be money, but it could also be endorsement, additional contacts, some sort of expertise within an industry like an engineering background or a quantitative finance background, or an incredible network.

Understanding your functional promise gives you leverage to get in on a hot deal and negotiate better terms, which may take the form of additional advisory positions, discount on products, or deeper access to the company so that you can both have look at things and get a better sense of what is happening.

Lastly, the financial promise is things like willingness to pay top dollar, or that you are always going after a better deal, or that when you come in there is additional capital that comes in as well.

I usually draw a triangle and write out the three aspects of a brand promise on it. “Emotional” at the top, “Functional” and “Financial” in the bottom corners. Then I literally write down what the brand promise is for each aspect within the perspective of me (an angel investor), the CEO of a company, or just the product in a company.

Here is an example to illustrate the three aspects of a brand promise.

Volvo’s brand promise is: “safest vehicle in the world.”

Emotionally, when you buy a Volvo, you are meant to feel secure. Maybe you have a family or maybe you are the type of individual that prioritizes security. Whichever the case may be, Volvo’s marketing focuses on individuals like you, because security is Volvo’s emotional brand promise.

Functionally, the most important thing for Volvo’s brand promise to be consistent with its emotion is safety. Safety is different than security, because security is something you feel whereas safety is something you experience. From their subtle colors to their engineering to the materials they use to their employees, all of these elements are based around safety. That is Volvo’s functional brand promise.

Financially, Volvos come with a premium value. If you are somebody looking to feel secure and experience safety, you aren’t going to buy the least expensive product out there, nor the most expensive one. That would defeat the purpose. However, you are willing to pay a premium price for the guarantee of safety and security. And that is Volvo’s financial brand promise.

As an organization, Volvo understands their brand promise and the three key aspects that create said brand promise. They align everything from their hiring, to their product development, to their pricing strategy, to their marketing in order to ensure their customers can truly experience what is the “safest vehicle in the world.”

It is crucial to constantly circle back to what the brand promise is. Companies need to do this, and you as an angel investor need to do it as well. The market is changing, and you have to make sure that you get access to the best deals.

Remember to keep asking yourself: What is my investor brand? What is it that I want everybody to experience financially, functionally, and (most importantly) emotionally when they interact with me?

I hope this helps. It’s a little bit of a different approach, but once you are able to define and understand your investor brand you will increase your value, your deal flow and your ability to get better pricing on those deals.

Talk soon,

Cameron Chell