What do a world-class restaurateur, a Tony award winner and an NBA coach have in common with an investment product?

We’ve conducted a collection of case studies featuring award-winning native advertising examples. This blog post features The Best Use of AFP Broadcast.

Introduction 

  • Campaign: Defining Factors with BlackRock
  • Brand: BlackRock
  • Agency: Bloomberg Media, United States

BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager that guides individuals, financial professionals and institutions with its expertise. It aims to empower people to take charge of their financial health. It has a powerful and intuitive but not widely known approach to portfolio management called Factor Investing.

The problem for BlackRock was that Factor Investing is a complex strategy. It somehow needed to simplify and demystify it to make it more easily understood and used more in developing investment strategies. How could it do this?

The Content

Bloomberg Media set out to help BlackRock make Factor Investing simple and accessible to a broad audience. Bloomberg conducted its own financial advisory study and discovered that outside their day jobs, financial advisors have a great affinity with cultural activities such as fine dining, live theatre and sport - all requiring mastery of a craft. 

Bloomberg realised that it could step away from a dry numbers approach and use the lens of culture to create a common language between expertise and investing. Its campaign, Defining Factors, paired BlackRock’s head of Factor Investing with three celebrity influencers renowned for their fields of speciality: a world-class restaurateur; a Tony-award winning singer and actress; and an NBA coach.  

By leveraging these cultural influencers to break down the factors of their highly specialised crafts, Bloomberg could draw a parallel to the factors of investing. It could show that when expertise is broken down into its basic building blocks, or “factors”, understanding and utility follow and that Factor Investing is no different. 

The campaign consisted of three episodes - The Factors of Fine Dining, The Factors of a Great Performance and The Factors of Winning. Each pair channeled their backgrounds into an engaging exchange that connected the dots between the factors of hospitality, performance and competition and the factors of investing. The end result was a highly entertaining lens through which to look at a financial product.

Distribution 

Defining Factors was a multi-platform campaign, designed to be distributed in different formats. It ran across the full Bloomberg ecosystem - Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg apps, Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg’s social channels. It was also distributed on BlackRock-owned platforms.

But the campaign’s reach and impact went beyond its paid distribution plan. It was cited in trade media and posted on social media by the celebrity influencers. The participating restaurateur, Danny Meyer, even made a personal appearance at a BlackRock investor event. 

BlackRock showcased the Defining Factors videos in its office lobbies around the world as a further way to engage its employees and clients. It also delivered a downloadable eBook for BlackRock Sales to share directly with clients. BlackRock also used the campaign to help drive significant attendance to two of its webinars. 

Lastly, the campaign provided content to BlackRock.com/factors and financial advisors were directed to the site to learn about specific Factor Investing products and the investment opportunities that BlackRock offer.

The Results

The three videos were watched by a total of 5.1 millions viewers and the campaign succeeded in significantly increasing awareness and understanding about Factor Investing among financial advisors. The proof is in the numbers:

  • 86% of financial advisors were more interested in learning about Factor Investing solutions after seeing the campaign 
  • 69% of campaign recognizers were likely to invest in BlackRock’s Factor strategies
  • 28% of financial advisors discussed BlackRock investments with their clients as a direct result of the campaign

Defining Factors also succeeded in positively impacting the perceptions of both BlackRock and Investing Factors. Of those surveyed:

  • 75% said the campaign gave them a better understanding of Factor Investing
  • 76% said the campaign enhanced their perceptions of Factor Investing
  • 78% said the campaign communicated BlackRock as a leader in Factor Investing
  • 81% said the campaign made Factor Investing more relatable and intuitive
  • 86% said the campaign boosted their interest in learning more about Factor Investing solutions

Through Defining Factors, BlackRock came to be seen as the industry leader in Factor Investing.

Take Note

Bloomberg’s strategic and creative approach to Defining Factors was unlike anything BlackRock - or any other financial advertiser - had tried before. 

  • An AFP campaign can use data-led insights and apply them to a serious topic - through its own research, Bloomberg gained insights to the relevance of culture to its target audience and successfully applied it to serious investing.
  • AFP campaigns can increase awareness and understanding of complex products - BlackRock could make Factor Investing more relatable and intuitive, boosting viewer interest in learning more about the solution and achieving industry leadership.
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