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by Roman Balzan

Chief Marketing Officer at Alpian

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Alpian has set out to create a premium bank sitting in between retail and private banking and which has a fundamentally different mindset than most of the fintech companies or banks out there. We aim to make banking & investing easy, transparent, familiar, and always meaningful through an intuitive and world-class digital client experience. On top of that, we promise to demystify the world of investment and democratize wealth management. It’s almost a heroic promise – but there is more to it, as you can read below.

How many superheroes can you name? Spiderman, Thor, Iron Man, Wonder Woman. All fairly well known. But, the last couple of years have seen ‘superhero brands’ emerging all over… Supposedly. When we scroll through our social media feeds, we are bombarded with ads and sponsored posts by brands who are vigorously shouting at us about how they are saving the planet and how they want us to live healthier and more sustainably. And all by merely selling us semi-witty slogans printed on organic T-shirts.

Don’t get me wrong; it is great to see that brands have woken up to their impact on society and our environment. But is it the consumer’s job to applaud them for it? I think we know the answer to that. The superhero brand approach worked for a while. As do a lot of new things. However, society shifted from being dependent on companies to being aware that the consumer was far more vital to the brand than the other way around. And brands had to adapt to start making profits again. As the consumer became aware, so did the brand. Finally.

Just as the shift from “what” a brand sells to “why” it matters was led by consumer consciousness, so is the new way of building successful companies.

Affluent millennials (and other generations) are waking up to a life dictated by consumerism. Buy this, buy that. It will make you happy. A slog that seems to bury our society alive. Not quite. These well-off generations are resilient and striving for more. A “more” that is beyond the saviour complex most brands seem to be selling us.

In a market where consumers are swamped with solutions and evolving past the reach of brands once again, how do brands offer them what they want? In fact, what do they want?

It’s not “What”, it’s “Who”

And I’m not talking about Captain America. It’s themselves. People need to be the hero in their own lives. To feel in charge of their choices and become the person they have envisioned in their dreams. It is no longer the brand’s job to simply offer a solution, but offer a way for the consumer to be the solution. The “who” is the “beyond” we are now seeking. As a society, money alone doesn’t satisfy us anymore. We are looking for “wealth beyond money”.

A wealth intrinsic to what gives us as an individual the feeling of purpose, freedom, and belonging. I was fortunate to find my “wealth beyond money”, and it is all to do with the brand I was hired to represent and build – Alpian. And so, this all came together, a fintech start-up idea with the insight that true wealth does not only sit in the bank account but lies in values that go “beyond”. My personal bliss, my “beyond” has currently a lot to do with the “who” we as Alpian want to be and the opportunity to work with an incredible team of visionaries aiming to disrupt the entire investment and finance world. My work has real meaning and impact – and the empowerment and trust in my skill set literally “go beyond” anything I have experienced to date.

The Transformation Chasm

In today’s uncertain world, companies need to crack what I call “the transformation chasm”, allowing customers to become ‘who’ they want to be through their products and services. To be more, they must do more, see more, experience more. So, in everything we do at Alpian, we focus on the role we can play in people’s lives by guiding them to unlock their personal vision of «wealth beyond money», enabling their beliefs and dreams with our product and services.

When I joined Alpian, I knew that a few points were vital to the brand’s success. Being authentic in our mission, true to our statements, and always going the extra mile in everything we do. We needed to be a brand that doesn’t talk about how great we are but proves it by bringing its customers closer to their goals. A brand that works with customers for customers – and is there for them through thick and thin.

Be Vested in Your Life

Our essential premise, though, is the insight that «wealth beyond money» is very personal. It’s about ‘me’ and about gaining my very own personal wisdom on how ‘i’ can unlock it. I, as an individual. So, we created a new expression that incorporates and symbolizes Alpian’s approach: i-vest – a mix of “to invest” and “being vested”.

To be vested literally means that you’ve earned a right to a present or future payment, asset, or benefit. A vested thing is strongly-held and difficult to take away.

To unlock «wealth beyond money» you need to be vested in yourself but also invest in the right things. Invest as in ‘putting energy, time, and resources into something to gain a benefit over time.’

To borrow Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle framework,

“Wealth beyond money” is our “why”

Helping investors unlock purpose, freedom and belonging is our “how”

i-vest is our “what”

Purpose, freedom, belonging is the path to “who” you can become.

That is also the reason why we named our media and brand experience blog “i-vest by Alpian“. Its sole purpose is to help people on their i-vest journey by demystifying the world of investment through articles, podcasts, and inspirational insights from thought leaders and other i-vestors.

As a successful, purposeful brand, the transition from “why” to “who” needs to be seamless. The consumer still wants a good product and for the brand to act responsibly, but the core focus has shifted from the brand to the audience.

To shift the focus, a few things should be kept in mind.

Who do we see you as?

How are we currently viewing those we serve, and how far are they from their goals?

Who can we enable you to become?

We understand that our clients are running a marathon, not a sprint. What are their long-term goals? Who can they become with the investments they make?

Who is the person you envision yourself to be?

What is the long-term image our client has of themselves? Who are they dreaming of being? Does it line up with what we can enable them to become?

We are strong in “why” our brand matters, giving us the stamina to get the client to their “who”. If we can start enabling our customers to reach their “who”, if we can offer them the identity they have been longing for, we can build a fundamental basis of trust and, with that create a purposeful and transformational brand minus the saviour complex.

When we embrace the shift, it might just be the right time for Alpian to enter the world. To lead the transformation game and be the Doctor Strange of the brand universe. Here to mentor you and help you invest in your potential.

So, when will you start to unlock your “Wealth Beyond Money”?


Content of this publication is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About the author

Roman holds a Master’s degree in economics from the University of St. Gallen HSG. He is an experienced brand- & marketing strategist and defines himself as a “crazy-creative-thinker”. He started his career at the ‘IFJ Institute for Young Entrepreneurs / Venturelab.ch‘ as Senior Project Manager before co-founding Suxedoo.ch. He later joined Google as Programs Lead for the Employer Brand Marketing in EMEA. In 2018 he was recruited by Lime, the US-based scooter giant, supporting the launch of the company’s first European market, Switzerland, after which he led Lime’s EMEA Marketing & Brand efforts before joining Alpian.

Roman loves hiking so much that in 2009 he walked 2300km on the Camino de Santiago with his dog Nelson. He walked all the way from St. Gallen to Santiago de Compostela in Western Spain.

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