Contributed by Andrew Sabatier of Andrew Sabatier Limited.
Born of Forex, Asterisk is a premium investment fund catering for high net-worth private investors. The fund offers a highly specialised investment service where investors benefit from detailed personal attention from traders who require a minumium of 100 000 Euros investment from each investor. Utilising a highly specialised trading method, restricted to those schooled in a proprietary, copyrighted 16-point system Asterisk offers an investment experience with a distinctive advantage. Asterisk deals mainly in Futures but has the flexibility to trade in other markets such as Forex (Foreign Exchange).
The original strategy for Asterisk was as an online Forex hedge fund for a mass market with no minimum investment. I conceived of the brand name as a Forex hedge fund and also created a brand identity for the previous positioning, which is also available to view on my website. Although the strategy had changed dramatically the client wanted to retain the name for the Futures investment firm and commissioned me to ‘premium-ise’ Asterisk for a more up-market investor.
Asterisk is derived from the Greek word ‘asterikos’ which means little star. It’s also a symbol for multiplication, represents the exponential and marks special top grade A (A*, A-star) as distinguished from grade A. A* is also a potential abbreviation for the fund in financial listings. Asterisks are also generally used to mark out notable exceptions.
Asterisk is particularly relevant to Forex as it’s used to denote foreign goods. Our interpretation of this is that foreign currencies can also be considered as foreign goods. The ‘foreign-ness’ of the goods is not so important but the fact that the fund trades on the difference in the exchange value of foreign currencies. Asterisk also includes the word ‘risk’ which we thought was a strength because risk is an inherent part of making investments.
My client and I believe that the Asterisk brand, both for the previous Forex strategy as well as the current mainly Futures-oriented strategy, has been treated in a manner that suggests it’s a remarkable fund that manages risk exceptionally well. Asterisk as a business (and a brand) intends to be a notable exception.
The symbol and brandmark
I created a symbol that is a sophisticated interpretation of an asterisk, whereas the symbol for the previous strategy was unambiguously an asterisk and more suited to a mass market. The new symbol requires a dynamic presentation of a simple line-drawn asterisk revealed as circles side-on to grasp the fact that the symbol is an Asterisk. The static symbol of the brandmark is at a stage somewhere before the circles in perspective open to form a complete circle, and the resulting sequence creates a sophisticated visual pattern for use as a premium brand identity element. The dynamic presentation of the symbol is required to grasp the insight that the new symbol is, in fact, an asterisk.
The 16-point trading method enables traders to take a highly disciplined but relaxed and informed approach to trading. Notably, this technique utilises sophisticated computer software to visualise trading in a way that identifies investment opportunities that would otherwise remain obscured. This enables traders to apply insights by literally trading ‘in sight’. On offer is an investment experience suited to investors who expect the best-of-the-best in all facets of life, investors who can expect to receive personalised investment advice from insightful and highly focused traders. Asterisk is an investment firm with an ambition to create an unprecedented wealth generation experience that goes above and beyond market-related and financial performance.
The 16-point trading method gives Asterisk’s traders a real advantage over competing investment funds and so as an expression of the ‘Trading Insight’ brand-idea the public-facing brandline is ‘The insight advantage’.
The ‘premium-ised’ version of the Asterisk brand was launched to private investors in September last year. For the launch I also oversaw the production of a high-production values brochure. I wrote the bulk of the content, all the bold headline messages and worked with an editor who edits for the Financial Times to sharpen-up and enhance the body-text.
The idea was to not only briefly describe the firm at a top level for time-poor investors at face-to-face meetings but to present ideas in a conceptual and poetic way, much like The Economist uses short phrases to communicate complex financial ideas in their advertisements. For example, ‘actively calm’ appears paradoxical but makes sense in the manner in which Asterisk delivers value ie. calm but active as well as actively seeking a calm approach to avoid becoming the stereotypical view of traders as frenetic and stressed-out; Asterisk is fit to work for investors (ie. capable) but also custom fits individual investor requirements and, my personal favourite, Asterisk is mindful of security, which is presented as ‘mind-fully secure’ and this communicates that the minds working in service of Asterisk’s investors are fully secure. Asterisk are confident that no other investment firms are able to offer such a high level of confidence when it comes to making returns on investments.
About my client’s business, my business and the visuals shown above (disclaimer)
Asterisk is a start-up company run by relatively young traders based in Paris. The fund is regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission, Chater House, Hong Kong (www.sfc.hk). Although anticipated investments are large amounts of capital, the initial budget for the brand identity was limited, particularly in view of the fact that developments in the brand strategy have proved so changeable. I offer a standard package for a set fee that includes naming, brand consulting and creative brand design that delivers all the core visual and language-based brand-marks determined by a distinct strategic insight.
As brand consulting is about the business of uncovering business and brand-related insights the thinking is generally what matters most; brand-thinking is what clients buy from me. Design is, by and large, just a tool to deliver creative thinking in a pragmatic and accessible form. In order to demonstrate my creative thoughts for brands I use images and visuals – unadulterated as well as manipulated – from various uncredited sources. The presentations I put together for my clients are not intended for commercial public-facing consumption. However, should my clients use any copyright protected images or typefaces for public-facing commercial purposes I always ensure, as much as possible, that they are aware of copyright issues. In the unlikely event that any objections be raised (and validated) by my use of uncredited images on this blog or on my website I’ll be happy to work with the respective legal owners of the works to find mutually acceptable outcomes.