Some 11 asset managers spent more than £100,000 on advertising during lockdown, according to figures from AC Nielsen. It is those bold firms that keep their head above the parapet that will benefit in time, says Mike Richards, director of Capital City Media.
It was Pliny the Younger who reported his uncle, Pliny theElder, as having said: “Fortune favours the brave” (they said it in Latin, obviously). With the UK recently going into recession, the same motto can be applied to any company. We’ve seen lots of research which shows that this is highly relevant to FS brands too.
At rate card values, during Q2 2020, 11 asset management companies spent over £100,000, according to AC Nielsen advertising expenditure figures. Five of these 11 were investment trust companies. Their spend would have been aimed directly at the consumer – the key target audience according to a recent FCA report on asset management.
Source: AC Nielsen, Q2 2020. N.B. chart has a cut-off point of spending £30,000+ in this last quarter.
With the FCA also keen for equity ownership to grow (at the right price according to their Value For Money directives), these are the companies who are being ‘brave’ during this time and who will be the companies who profit in the end (although hopefully not too much, to avoid going against VFM requirements!)
Normally out-of-home (OOH) would have a larger share of the budgets. However, with lockdown and fewer people travelling, OOH would not have been the correct medium. That being said, after TV, it is well-known that OOH is the second-best branding medium. As things ease and people travel more, a better case for OOH activity can be made.
Our OOH specialists, Open Outdoor, part of the Dentsu Aegis network, produce weekly figures on mobility. During the first week in August this was 76% of what it was pre-lockdown – 18 percentage points higher than the lowest point – so people are going out more.
Marketing during a recession or crisis has been proven time and again to have a beneficial long-term effect on market share and sales. The research firm Kantar, stated in its Covid-19 Barometer that ‘strong brands recover nine-times faster after a crisis compared to average brands.’
Media is also cheaper as fewer companies spend money on advertising and share of voice can increase dramatically as others cut back.
However, consumers are not interested in companies that seem to just be trying to profit from the pandemic. Customers want solid advice from firms they can trust with recognisable, visible brands.
Given that none of the companies in the above chart have high-street distribution of their products, they are reliant on media brands which potential customers already trust – media like the Telegraph, Mail and The Times publishers. This is the asset managers’ method of high street distribution.
Most national press media owners have had their print circulations stay static, some have slightly dipped, but this would be down to people staying home and not picking up a paper as usual. Websites of the national press, such as thisismoney.co.uk and telegraph.co.uk, have seen growth on top of early gains made in Q1 through Q2. The ‘Money’ channel ontelegraph.co.uk, for example, saw the third-highest gains of viewers and unique users within the overall site.
Indeed, the Mail/Metro media group (which includes the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday as well as thisismoney.co.uk) has released research undertaken during the current crisis showing that people are looking for company brands for leadership and many investors are looking longer term. The survey also found people don’t want to see their trusted brands ‘going dark’ and failing to communicate.
Without wishing to use the word unprecedented, there is no escaping that these are strange times. The questions asset managers should be asking are: what constructive message can I tell my existing and potential customers? Have I made sure I am not taking advantage of the current crisis?With more people thinking long term, which vehicles have we got to offer?
And am I wearing my “What Would Pliny the Elder do?” bracelet?