Betterment’s On-Brand Approach to Socially Responsible Investing

Most investors want to make a positive impact with their money, but don’t know where or how to start. Betterment simplifies socially responsible investing with three tailored portfolio offerings.

Betterment makes socially responsible investing easier.

Move over, Scrooge—a new generation of investors is in town, and they care as much about the causes they believe in as they do about profit. In recent years, socially responsible investing (SRI)—which aims to promote social change while generating financial returns—has surged in popularity. A growing number of investors, especially millennials and forward-thinking Gen Zers, are directing their money toward progressive causes.

Betterment, a leading micro-investing app, empowers customers to put their money where their values are. Investors can choose between three tailored SRI portfolios: Climate Impact, Social Impact, and Broad Impact. Among similar SRI offerings, Betterment stands out: its inspiring, authentic messaging strategy echoes and reinforces investors’ motivation to do good. By connecting with its audience on a personal level, the company makes that motivation actionable and practical. 

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Betterment makes it easy to invest from the heart

Most investors don’t have the time, resources, or expertise to hand-select the SRI funds they’re looking for. After all, their choices need to resonate with their values, diversify their portfolios, and keep fees to a minimum. 

That’s where Betterment comes in. The company’s website showcases three expert-developed portfolio options—pre-selected exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that target climate change, racial and gender equity, and general social impact—giving investors clarity and choice on which causes to support with their dollars.

Betterment harnesses accessible messaging that dives into the heart of why investors pursue socially responsible investing. With slogans like “a future you can feel good about” and “an ETF committed to change,” the company draws on investors’ deeper motivations while earning their trust. And by making it easy for investors to support the causes that matter to them, Betterment signals to the world that SRI matters to them, too.

Betterment’s “win-win” strategy offers a sustainable investment model

For Betterment, balance is key. While it champions socially responsible investing as a crucial part of our evolving world, the company is just as committed to upholding its core financial principles, emphasizing “balanced cost and proper global diversification” in its portfolio offerings.

Other SRI funds focus on social good above investment return, and many are actively managed mutual funds with high fees. While this might appeal to a particular segment of progressive, ultra-wealthy individuals, it doesn’t represent the majority of investors, who don’t have the resources to give without considering financial gain.

Betterment’s message is clear. You don’t have to sacrifice your financial well-being to support the causes that matter to you, and vice versa. “When you invest with us,” its website says, “you don’t have to compromise cost, your performance expectations, or your values.” This message—that socially responsible investing can be good for the world and the individual customer—resonates with a broad demographic of investors.

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Each investor’s story matters

Personalization is a key differentiator of the Betterment brand, which emphasizes individuality in its messaging and approach to socially responsible investing

“You’re the most important part of the equation,” its investment philosophy promises customers. With humanized copy that looks straight into the eyes of the investor, Betterment sets itself apart from robo-investing platforms that lack a personal touch. And because SRI is as much about living according to one’s values as it is about profit, investors want more than an automated platform that manages their money from behind a curtain. They want to know they’re investing with a company that prioritizes the human connection at the core of sustainable investing.

Our mission is to help people turn everyday investments, no matter how small, into their dreams, no matter how big.” Betterment understands that its message is inextricably linked to the story each SRI-minded investor, regardless of portfolio size, wants to tell. Though each story is unique, there’s one overarching narrative: the right investments can help build a more sustainable, equitable future—both for individuals and the world around them.

Want to craft a brand message that speaks to your customers’ values? Contact the MarketSmiths team today.

Erin McGuff-Pennington

Erin McGuff-Pennington

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