Most marketers of alternatives push hard to build a foundation that is both conservative and credible. They believe conservative materials are analogous to their perspective on risk. There is logic to the thinking. On the latter, no one is going to give $100m to anyone that doesn’t come across as credible or professional.
Often times, however, in their pursuit of conservatism and credibility, they direct their efforts straight into a massive hole that is extremely hard to escape. In their effort to present themselves as “institutional,” they end up coming across as flat, uninspired, and irrelevant.
There needs to be life, color, and activity. Most importantly, there needs to be the perception of forward motion. Nobody wants to align with a lifeless, unenergetic team. More often than not with all the blue and greys, industry rhetoric, suits and ties, talk about risk mitigation and operational experience, managers of alternatives end up looking like clones. There is nothing more off-putting to a prospective LP.
One of the most interesting things to observe is the moment when managers start to radiate again. When was the last time you were excited to send someone to your website, distribute your deck, or show someone your video? Don’t underestimate the importance of this. It is really obvious when a manager isn’t excited to tell their story. Prospective LPs can see this from a mile away, and they stay well clear.
The most powerful marketing tool will always be the confidence and energy of an individual. Ask yourself, are you bringing your best game into a meeting, or are you reciting an old story for the one thousandth time? If your story feels flat to you, it is going to feel dead to an LP. This is why the focus on brand is important. It allows you to radiate even if your performance isn’t where you want it to be.