Gold Chains, Unbuttoned Shirts, and Institutional Capital

We recently put together a video:

It features our team talking about what we believe in, what we do; our general value proposition.  In it I happen to have my shirt unbuttoned. I am not wearing a suit jacket, and you can see a chain I wear with the letter B on it.   The letter “B” is the initial of my daughter’s first name.

Shortly after we received an anonymous comment that read:

“Gold chains and unbuttoned shirts don’t raise institutional capital either, they actually prohibit it.”

Classic. It is a silver chain, and the “B” was a silver plated piece of unknown steel that now looks like bronze – not gold.

There is obviously a lot of truth to the comment, and I did pause to consider how my image may be hurting or assisting our brand. It then occurred to me that it was the best possible thing I could do for our company. Why? Because it is authentic. And authenticity is the most powerful attribute of any brand.

Are some people going to criticize me for not being in a suit and tie? Obviously so, especially in this arena. However, Meyler is about passion, belief, the value of being different, and new thinking.

Yes, I do understand that you need to be respectful of your audience and dress the part, especially when meeting an institutional investor; however, if that investor is going to judge you on the fact that you are wearing a blue oxford, with the top button undone, and a chain showing with your daughter’s initial on it, you aren’t doing a very good articulating the attributes of your investment strategy.

In the business we are in I walk into room after room and listen to managers speak confidently and charismatically about who they are and what they do, with their jackets off, only to hear ten seconds later, “I couldn’t possibly say that to an institutional investor.”

Yes… you can.  The fabled “institutional investor” is a woman named Sally or a guy named Jeff.  Sally drives a Volvo.  If you look closely enough Jeff has a coffee stain on his shirt.  These are human beings that are bored out of the their minds listening to the same pitch everyday.  They are trained to look beyond the superficial and to focus on substance.

Raising institutional capital takes tenacity, a good track record (and I said good not great), operating experience, and enough personality to carry you through the doldrums of the diligence process.

By Kyle Dunn

MarketingKyle Dunn