Maxim Group: Building a Brand, From the Foundation Up

Enron. Arthur Anderson. WorldCom.

In 2002, these names were front-page news as the financial industry was knee deep in scandal, leaving investors rattled in a post 9/11 economic downturn. With investor confidence faltering and reputations tarnished, it was a challenging time to launch a new financial brand consumers could believe in.

At precisely this time, some of the industry’s most talented professionals assembled to create a full-service investment bank to serve middle market and emerging growth companies.

Maxim Group was formed as a spin-off of Investec Ernst & Company, the U.S. subsidiary of the global investment firm Investec. Their vision was to better serve clients through direct and frequent contact. The relationship between the firm and the investor faced challenges by adhering to corporate policies of the European model—operating as Maxim Group was the solution.

Integrity. Experience. Commitment. These were the pillars of the Maxim Group brand. These pillars, coupled with the brand promise of serving the middle market and emerging growth companies inspired me to create the tagline “Sound Investments. Solid Relationships.”

The logo I created used traditional iconography coupled with a classic serif typeface and corporate color to gain credibility for the startup firm.

The next step was to shoot original photography for the core brand images. The style incorporated dramatic lighting and angles as well as duotone imagery for an “editorial” feel, always highlighting the interaction of professionals. Full-color accent photos added visual interest to complement the striking brand imagery.

During a decade that was marred by historic financial crisis and corporate bailouts, Maxim Group flourished, relying on its brand pillars to deliver a true brand experience for its clients.