INTERVIEW: M&G Investments Global Marketing Director talks ‘Intelligence Connected’

Alex Sword


The Financial Services Forum

M&G is doubling down on its global expertise and the breadth of its capabilities in its latest brand campaign, says Global Marketing Director Laura Brown.

Laura has spent most of her career at M&G, and had been working in strategy in the asset management arm for some time before taking on the Global Marketing Director role in February last year.

Bringing this background in the strategy of the business, Laura’s goal was to align what marketing was doing with the business’s commercial priorities.

She made the case for reinvesting in the Investments brand following several years of deterioration. The company had undergone major changes including the demerger from Prudential in 2019, some high profile fund managers leaving and cost-cutting programmes within the asset management business.

At the same time, the business wanted to showcase products beyond its well-known fixed income capabilities, such as its private markets expertise.

It also wanted to drive significant growth in its business in Asia.

“What we wanted to do is have something that really captured that breadth and also gave us a creative platform that we could run with for a material amount of time, not something that we would keep changing,” explains Laura.

The end result: the Intelligence Connected platform, created by an agency based on extensive interviews with the business, including the investment teams.

This uses the tagline of Connecting the Dots Globally to Identify Investment Opportunities’, aiming to emphasise the idea of M&G as a global network of experts.

M&G’s focus on highlighting its expertise exemplifies a recent trend in the investment management space. While a few years ago, many campaigns focused on green credentials and readiness for the future, the most common approach is talking about in-house expertise and how it can help navigate uncertain times. For example, T. Rowe Price’s ‘The Power of Curiosity’ campaign, Royal London’s ‘Performance powered by people’ campaign and St. James’s Place’s ‘Invaluable Advice’ positioning.

For M&G, Laura says, the differentiator is the global reach and breadth of the firm’s capabilities.

“I think what we’ve tried to do is something that shows our global view on the world. We are a proud UK company but one that has global ambitions and capabilities and wants to demonstrate that.”

The launch of the brand coincided with M&G’s Annual Investment Forum. There was targeted out-of-home advertising around the venue, including a billboard in Leicester Square and in various tube stations, as well as taxis. There were also some out-of-home activities in Italy, France and Germany.

“What we really liked about this is the fact that we can bring it to life from events execution across digital but also in out-of-home and use it in a much more extensive way than we might have done.”

The focus on a brand campaign is notable in a market where budget pressures and the need for ROI have pushed more companies towards performance marketing. Laura plans to launch performance and product-focused initiatives off the back of the brand platform throughout this year.

This includes a big private markets campaign that will be rolling out across Q2 and Q3 this year in both institutional and wholesale markets.

“Clients probably haven’t thought of us for private markets. So it feels like a bit of a gem they can discover.”

The campaign will also be supported through content initiatives, including the established Bond Vigilantes blog and Ampersand, the client magazine that M&G launched in September. This is design and content-led, aiming to stand out as different from what peers produce.

Ampersand uses creative launches, such as trailers inspired by director Wes Anderson, while in terms of form, it draws inspiration from ‘slow journalism’.

“We’ve made a decision to do a print version as well as an online version because we want people to be able to step away from the noise and think about the issues with the time and space to do that.”

“[The activations are] a good demonstration of us finding ways we can stand out a bit and make things a bit more visible without necessarily having the kind of scale of reach we might have from a paid perspective.”

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