Does Creative Matter in Asset Management Marketing?

Niels Footman

Managing Director - UK and Europe


On a recent Wednesday morning, several dozen spectators joined six speakers from the world of financial marketing to answer the question: does creative matter in asset management? Niels Footman, Managing Director or UK and Europe at Copylab, was there to capture the key findings.

The answer was not only a resounding yes, but a certainty that it’s only going to become more crucial in the years to come.

SPEAKER 1: Lucian Camp, author and marketing consultant
– Once upon a time, asset managers only had to market to hobbyists, IFAs and institutions.
– In this environment, ads had a single message and a set pattern: image, slogan and reference to past performance.
– But with the growing assertiveness of regulators, and changes giving consumers much more control over their own pensions, asset managers now have to address a market of IFAs, hobbyists, 10 million consumers and a small but crucially important group of fund selectors.
– Against this backdrop, AMs have to offer highly personalised content programmes that reflect, eg, a fund selector’s selection process.
– Opportunities abound: despite their eagerness to differentiate, no one AM yet “owns” investment areas such as ESG, investing for women, and low-risk investing.

SPEAKER 2: Ian Henderson, Chief Executive Officer, AML Group
– Continuing on Camp’s theme, Henderson said that a key challenge is how to change or disrupt the market when audiences and products are becoming increasingly polarised.
– Audience polarisation stretches from consumer to professional, while product polarisation spans from niche to volume.
– In addition, though consumers generally trust big financial institutions on a transactional level, their relational trust of such companies is extremely low.
– Against this backdrop, can FS firms strike an emotional connection, even to a professional market?
– Pictet’s Mega platform achieved exactly this, talking about big, forward-looking ideas rather than the minutiae of investment.
– Sberbank did it successfully with consumers, with its Neighbourhoods campaign, which used data and polling to identify which businesses consumer would like to see entering their communities.
– Most successfully, State Street created a viral phenomenon with the Fearless Girl statue.
– Imagine if asset managers could connect with the “10 million new investors” in the UK…

SPEAKER 3: Hannah Springett, Lead Creative Strategist at CEROS
– Around three main points of Be Visual, Be Smart with Stats and Make It Memorable, Springett shared a string of stats to demonstrate what works in financial content campaigns.
– 80% of what we see is retained, compared with 20% of what we read.
– 62% of people are more likely to click on something if it’s moving.
– 88% of people return to sites that deliver a good experience.
– Citing campaigns for companies including JP Morgan, CityWire and Jupiter, Springett emphasised the importance of elements such as gamification and mobile graphics to create experiences that reel consumers in and keep them coming back.

SPEAKER 4: Grant Warnock, Brand and Customer Marketing Director at Nutmeg
– Nutmeg has had a consistent vision: “To democratise wealth management and to empower generations of investors.” 50% of its users are first-time investors.
– Despite this, the company has undergone several marked changes in its marketing and positioning – as demonstrated in the changing face of its Tube ads. This reflects an ongoing debate between the more creative/emotional, and more conventional/rational views of how the company should market itself.
– First off, the company targeted younger investors with fairly conventional “ISA just got nicer” ads.
– Next, it took a leap with the Nutmeg Bears campaign, which Warnock called “Marmite”: half of respondents loved it, half hated it.
– 2018 saw a return to more straightforward ads, with a sporty picture, a tagline such as “experts helped me up my game”, and the “same for my investments” slogan.
– Having seen middling results for that campaign, Nutmeg rethought its positioning and decided to “act like a challenger”: find an enemy, build some momentum, make it matter, play with tone.
– The result was successful Tube ads with bright green branding, big abstract pictures and slightly enigmatic taglines – “Ouch!”, “It’ll need an x-ray” – which lead to a message about investment.
– The campaign achieved the highest “cut through” rate, with 43 respondents citing Nutmeg as the first brand they could recall from Tube ads. (The second, Monzo, gained 10 citations.)
– Warnock stressed that for Nutmeg, budgetary constraints acted as a spur to creativity. He also said that in the face of mediocre marketing results, don’t be afraid to go for a complete rethink.

SPEAKERS 5 & 6: Vincent Hooplot, COO of Fundamental Media, and Richard Sherwell, Client Partner at Publicis Sapient
– From the agency side, Hooplot and Sherwell offered their insights on how to get the most from your creative agency.
– Buying in to deadlines and timescales is key.
– It’s crucial to understand who you’re working with: many young creatives won’t consider working with asset managers to be creatively fulfilling or good for their careers.
– More broadly, asset managers frequently don’t understand their agency’s business. They should ask themselves, where do I sit in the hierarchy of my agency’s clients?
– It’s crucial that AMs define the type of relationship they want to have with their agency.
– Above all, AMs should aim for more impact, not more agency.

SPEAKER 7: Jet Cooke, Head of Marketing, End Investor, at Fidelity
– From the client side, Jet Cooke offered her thoughts on how to get the best from agencies.
– Key to working together is getting a clear understanding of how your respective business models work.
– Good briefs are everything: if the brief doesn’t inspire you, it almost certainly won’t interest the agency. But also be ready to refine the brief together.
– Some ideas take time to come to full fruition, so be patient.
– Fidelity had a series of ideas for a more creative campaign, including Russian dolls and pugs. Though the dolls appealed to the fund managers’ sense of logic and analysis, initial results indicated a clear “cut through” with the pugs campaign.
– The campaign culminated in the successful “The Big Day” ad, featuring a pug, which connected on a very emotional level.
– It’s crucial to measure everything you do, even at an early stage. The initial results you generate can reveal crucial insights.

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