Global Branding in a Decentralized Financial Organization

We hope that you will find the following case to be helpful.  If, after reading, you would like to learn more about our experience, please contact Dan Plachta at dplachta@bedfordgroupconsulting.com.

We hope that you will find the following case to be helpful.  If, after reading, you would like to learn more about our experience, please contact Dan Plachta at dplachta@bedfordgroupconsulting.com.

Company Profile: An $8 billion corporate/investment-banking unit (“Client”) of a Top-2 U.S. Financial Services Company

Background (mid-1990s): Recent changes in regulations (Glass Steagal) now allowed Client and its competitors to earn a greater percentage of profits from investment banking activities. This opened up the possibility of competing with traditional investment banking firms such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. In order to compete, Client had to begin to shed is stodgy commercial banking image (deep pockets but not able to provide strategic business advice). Investment banking is more profitable and provides less risk of capital loss than traditional banking, but requires the organization to build a reputation for winning strategic business advice relative to such matters as M&A and equity underwriting.

Situation:

  • The Client had been accustomed to competing based purely on their market power.
  • Operating in 37 countries, Client had never developed a cohesive marketing program.
  • Individual units, including product areas, industry specialty teams and regional geographic offices all held marketing budgets and the license to create marketing programs and materials as they deemed appropriate.
  • There was little or no research to indicate the company’s current market position relative to existing or these new set of competitors.

Contribution: TBG partner lead the Client’s marketing efforts:

  • Integrated global marketing efforts into a single organization
  • Developed its global marketing strategy
  • Implemented Client research
    • Immediately gain a reading of the current marketing position and that of key competitors in the current and new set
    • Interviewed executive management extensively to gain insights on the business strategy over the next few years as well as their aspirations regarding market share gains and the global image of the bank
  • Developed potential positioning models based on interview and purchased syndicated data. Tested the models internally and with clients
  • Leveraged relationships with industry and geographic leaders
    • Speed the flow of information on watershed business accomplishments
    • Provide support to claims that the Client was capable of the more sophisticated investment banking services

(Great care was given to including the global product, industry and geographic leaders in each step of the process for buy-in.)

Parallel to the model-development process:

  • Transferred all global marketing budgets to the central marketing unit and built global branding programs.
  • Employed master advertising agency to create a compelling program to introduce the organization.
    • Approved campaign after creative pre-testing and refinement.
    • Created all new product literature and all new major internal and external communications materials to reinforce the program.

Actions:

  • Launched comprehensive internal program to inform all 10,000 employees of the new marketing positioning and the rationale.
    • Cascaded information through team managers to the rest of the organization
    • Gave the process more credibility in a “marketing skeptical” organization.
  • Launched campaign externally.

Client Impact: Campaign results after first 6 months:

  • Achieved leading awareness vs. its competitors
  • Was moving the needle in positioning Client as an advisory leader