Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

David Booth on How to Choose an Advisor

The One Minute Audio Clip You Need to Hear

Tag: Hill Investment Group

St. Louis Office Construction Update

Team consists of CBRE, Chouteau Building Group, and Amie Corley Interiors

As we mentioned in a prior post, Hill Investment Group (in St. Louis, not Houston) is under construction. In both cities, we have chosen suites in centrally located, older office towers. The St. Louis tower was completed in 1964, so updates require talented people who understand the quirks of an older office space. We snapped the photo above during our weekly meeting so you can see the key members of our construction and design team in action. Well, maybe not in action, as much as in deep conversation about how to ensure our redesigned space is even more welcoming and functional than before.

Our building managers were kind enough to give us a suite in the neighboring building during construction, so we can closely monitor progress until our move-in day, April 13th.

We’re excited, and literally counting down the days with a construction paper “chain,” tearing off a link for every passing day until we return to our updated Suite 350. We’ve already been there for 14 years, and look forward to at least eight more, having renewed our lease through then.

Who Built HIG’s Hill?

When Rick Hill and I founded Hill Investment Group in 2005, we knew we wanted to do something very different from anything you’d find in the traditional financial services landscape. As we set about converting our ideals into reality, we referred to our culture as an island of idealism, rising above the status quo.

Knowing little about branding, we surveyed several St. Louis influencers to help us find a firm to create our logo and tagline. Rick also had one request: He was hoping the firm could include his name.

In the winter of 2005, we selected TOKY Branding + Design to help us with this challenge; we are still their clients to this day.

In hindsight, the rest may seem like a no-brainer. Because they all work so well together, it’s easy to assume that our firm name Hill Investment Group; our hill-shaped logo, our Take the Long View® tagline; and the professional, polished line drawings that now characterize our graphic presentations came together practically overnight.

You’d be mistaken. And we’d be doing a disservice to the visionary souls who have put in countless hours and creative capital helping us shape and refine our now “obvious” brand.

Usually these marketing types labor on unsung behind the scenes, so we thought you might enjoy meeting one of the incredibly talented teams behind our branding: TOKY Branding + Design.

Eric Thoelke of TOKY + Design
Eric Thoelke of TOKY Branding + Design

We love how Eric Thoelke and his TOKY team took Rick’s name and helped us connect it with our greater ideals, guiding us on how to meld our identity with our desire to coach people on how to take a higher perspective with their wealth. In his own words, here are Eric’s thoughts about our collaboration (and, yes, Eric’s last name is pronounced the same as his firm’s simpler spelling of the same: toe-kee):

“Back in 2005, I got to spend a couple of leisurely lunches with Rick and Matt, talking about their nascent business, and how their investment philosophy and deeply personal service would set them apart. It was immediately obvious these were true differences, not just distinctions in style. Our goal was finding a way to articulate those differences by integrating the firm’s name, logo and positioning.

The best brands encircle a target audience with messages that are meaningful and distinctive. It’s like pointing all the engines on a rocket in the same direction; alignment creates the greatest thrust. In working with Hill Investment Group, I never get tired of the rush that fires up all their branding engines and targets them in the same direction.”

Cold Calls, Golf Balls and Ongoing Gratitude

Even though Thanksgiving is over (except for a few leftovers) I hope to keep being thankful for life’s many ongoing twists and turns. That’s why I keep a golf ball in my overcoat throughout the year. It may look like just an ordinary object, but it’s special to me, because it reminds me of how grateful I am to be part of Hill Investment Group.

Similar to the experiences Matt Hall shared in Odds On, I too started my financial career in a sales-oriented culture. We’ll call my first gig “Big Broker,” where we were taught how to sell financial wares via cold-calls and door-to-door canvassing. The bulk of our so-called education was on how to overcome any objections, instead of on what it takes to be a worthy advisor.

In other words, just about everything I learned at Big Broker was exactly the opposite of the Hill Investment Group culture, where we strive to center everything we do around our clients’ highest financial interests.

So, what’s that golf ball got to do with it? Back in my Big Broker days, we were shown how to use it to save our knuckles during our sales outings. If you’ve ever knocked on a lot of doors in all kinds of weather, you learn quickly how much that can hurt. On the good days, I’d end up knocking a couple hundred times, delivering my canned speech dozens of times, and generating one or two good leads. On some of my worse days, I was bitten by dogs, pooped on by birds and stung by bees.

Maybe I deserved it for pestering people in their homes, whether or not they wanted an uninvited guest.

As you might imagine, whenever I stopped to think about it (which started happening with increasing frequency!), I thought, “There’s got to be a better way to help people invest their hard-earned assets.”

Thankfully, I discovered that better way when I came across HIG in 2012. Reading through the materials they shared with me, I was immediately hooked … to the point where I was late for a dinner outing because I had to finish reading about this amazing “new” perspective. It was new to me, anyway. Then I was up early the following Saturday to read some more. I call this my “Light Bulb Moment,” which we shared in this 2015 video:

John Reagan: His Light Bulb Moment from Hill Investment Group.

Unfortunately, the Michael Lewis piece I reference in this video is out of print and no longer available. But there are plenty of other great resources published since then to take its place. Let us know if you could use some assistance in generating your own light bulb moment. I’d be happy to help, and grateful to share what else I’ve learned after I got to tuck my cold-call golf ball away for good.

Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

David Booth on How to Choose an Advisor

The One Minute Audio Clip You Need to Hear

Hill Investment Group