Cardinal Capital

A Leading Wealth Management Firm Looks to Update its Market Position

A History of Performance in a Changing Industry

Founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in August 1992, Cardinal Capital is a leading wealth management firm providing investment management services to clients across North America. Cardinal clients include high net worth private clients as well as pension funds, trusts, mutual funds, foundations, and other institutional investors. Cardinal currently has over.

1.6 billion

In assets under management.


Acknowledging that they had fallen behind in the digital space, Cardinal approached us looking to develop a new website that would better position their organization in the digital space. We worked together to refine their brand messaging and navigate a number of technical challenges that had previously restricted the development of a new corporate website.

Change in
Financial Services

Throughout the last 25 years, Cardinal has seen significant growth and has grown into one of the most respected wealth management firms. To accompany this growth and better position itself within a fast-paced financial services industry, Cardinal needed to redefine their market position and update their digital presence.

The financial services industry is evolving. This change is largely being driven by a demand for better experience and increased consumer expectations. If Cardinal wanted to avoid confusion around their value they needed to evolve their communication and customer experience in lock step with the rest of the industry.

Same Audience, New Expectations

The project commenced with research and discovery—mainly focusing on identifying Cardinal’s target audiences and understanding the current needs and expectations of those audiences.

High Net-Worth Individuals
Cardinal’s customer facing initiatives target high net worth individuals exclusively. Specifically, Cardinal has serviced niche markets including professional athletes, philanthropists and a broader base of professional clientele, all of which are looking towards retirement. The expectations of this group are being informed by some of the largest customer-facing organizations in the world, both within and outside of financial services. While successful themselves, these high-net worth individuals have a varying level of financial sophistication, they expect performance from their investments.

High Net-Worth Institutions
Institutions often leverage an investment consultant as their trusted source of information. Those same consultants look for investment metrics and other relevant information in order to compare options on behalf of their clients. Cardinal strives to provide actionable data and external analytics to meet the needs of those consultants throughout their decision making process. While high-net worth institutions are often attracted to larger wealth management firms, we were able to work with Cardinal to identify gaps in a consultants decision making process that larger firms were not actively addressing.

Internal Advisors
The use of external advisors had been a strategic emphasis for Cardinal historically. Due to changing industry trends, this focus shifted towards the attraction of advisors to joining the Cardinal team. When acquired, internal advisors often have an existing network of clients that can bring substantial value to Cardinal. It was important that the content and design of our website presented Cardinal as an appealing place for advisors to work and grow their client base.

Simplicity as
a Strategy

The financial services industry is an increasingly complex and complicated industry. Cardinal has built a very unique platform and client service structure, and offers clients a wide range of investment options and wealth management services.

Although they operate a robust and complex business with many moving parts, Cardinal needed to ensure their communication was as simple and straightforward as possible so potential clients and stakeholders were able to understand their value.

It was our recommendation to Cardinal that they use simplicity as a strategy when approaching the redefinition of their communication and digital presence. Simplicity brings clarity instead of confusion, decision instead of doubt. Simplicity inspires greater trust and would help potential customers better understand the value of partnering with Cardinal.

Cardinal has built a very unique

Platform and client service structure

Addressing
the Basics

At Brandish, we work with a lot of organizations that already have existing messaging in place, but can achieve greater clarity and effectiveness by working to organize and simplify that messaging —as was the case with Cardinal. Over the years, Cardinal has created a large amount of messaging and communication, but the problem was that the useful pieces were lost within an unorganized messaging structure and user experience. Making existing valuable information less impactful and meaningful to its audience.

Structuring Messaging
and Content

We audited existing communication and messaging to identify valuable pieces that could be reused or repurposed as a part of the redefinition. We focused on the conservative, dividend-oriented approach Cardinal takes to wealth management. We then expanded on that approach, and tailored communications for each audience including philanthropists, professional athletes, and large institutional funds.

Expanding for Future Content

In order to create depth around our new messaging structure, we expanded on existing Cardinal messaging. Whenever we create messaging, we work to ensure that messaging is actionable for implementation throughout marketing channels. Themes were created for each individual service value proposition. Those themes inform the creation of individual messages that can address the needs of a specific audience Cardinal may look to target.

Content Planning

“Content-first” is a philosophy that we use to guide our clients’ websites in a more efficient and user friendly direction. This approach emphasizes the importance of putting your website content before everything else as content is the reason users are there. It starts with developing a content strategy, but it also requires creating client-focused, compelling content that will provide your target audience the information they seek and the answers to their questions at each stage of the client journey. We strongly believe that the purpose of a website’s design is to present the content in a meaningful way, properly communicate the brand, and deliver a positive customer experience. On the modern web, where content is digested very quickly from a variety of devices, form follows function and design should follow content—not the other way around.

Taking from existing website content and other communication materials and following the messaging hierarchy, we developed new website content for the Cardinal website.

Website Design

Simplicity had a large strategic role to play in establishing a new design direction for Cardinals website. While our website had to maintain existing Cardinal Capital brand standards, we were given freedom to update the design direction for the brand through the development of the website. Because Cardinal is a heavily relationship-focused organization, the brand identity had been kept basic, and lived in very few places outside of the Cardinal Capital website. Cardinal Capital needed to present itself as a sophisticated and high value wealth management firm in order to attract both individuals and institutions looking to invest.

Simplicity had a large strategic role to play in establishing a new design direction for Cardinals website. While our website had to maintain existing Cardinal Capital brand standards, we were given freedom to update the design direction for the brand through the development of the website. Because Cardinal is a heavily relationship-focused organization, the brand identity had been kept basic, and lived in very few places outside of the Cardinal Capital website. Cardinal Capital needed to present itself as a sophisticated and high value wealth management firm in order to attract both individuals and institutions looking to invest.

We used imagery of modern architecture to communicate the nature of Cardinals approach to investment, as well as to invoke a sense of “institution”. While images portraying the client-facing relationship were leveraged, we maintained the same approach of using angles to focus the images. Our purpose here was to communicate the communicative nature of Cardinal, without playing into industry tropes or cliches.

Simple Iconography was designed to help communicate a digitally-forward design language, as well as to visually simplify complex financial discussions.

As well as to organize key concepts close to the Cardinal brand.

Interactions were kept simple on purpose, laying out complicated information in a way that was easy-to-digest remained our top priority.

A Firm Positioned for Growth

Cardinal Capital Management has a history of success on behalf of itself and it’s clients. While the organization has grown, marketing has never been its focus. Through this work, we were able to quickly position Cardinal Capital Management as a more forward leaning capital management firm. Through the development of of a new website, messaging structure, and search marketing strategy, Cardinal Capital is positioned well for future growth and the development of new marketing initiatives.