C-SUITE THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
As one of the largest international commercial banking networks in the world, HSBC targets a vast range of industries, markets, and individuals. With local markets driving the acquisition agenda, delivering content and messaging built specifically to their local needs, the job of global communication is based largely around thought leadership. How is the bank perceived? Do people see HSBC Commercial Bank and Global Banking & Markets as a thought leader in key themes?
Mindshare, HSBC, and Grey have utilised a collaborative relationship that has, for a number of years, held HSBC as one of the world’s leading financial institutions. Recently the issue has emerged that, whilst HSBC remain present
within all their most vital areas of expertise, they do not hold the level of influence they would like to within their audience. Often competitors that have specialised in fewer divisions than HSBC are holding the lion’s share of the
attention. Mindshare were tasked with generating a strategy and implementation plan of how to identify the most valuable audience to reach on a global level and the most agile and current way of delivering messaging.
HSBC wanted to understand specifically who they should be talking to, exactly what those people were most interested in and how best to communicate to them HSBC’s position of authority across these interest areas.
Analysing HSBC’s past activity unveiled that its LinkedIn pages were achieving the greatest levels of engagement and consumer interaction. This activity has helped distribute both short form snackable video and long form content to a
wide range of financial audiences, consistently maintaining a healthy flow of traffic to HSBC domains as well as strong engagement within the social platform itself. Social media allows the bank to be reactive around moments
and topics that matter in the eyes of its audience, it offers detailed targeting capabilities and captures the user in an environment where information and learning are paramount.
In analysing data provided by LinkedIn, Mindshare discovered that, compared with the competitor set, HSBC was not generating high enough level of engagement or frequency to lift the bank’s influence and resonance within its
audiences. The agency team was challenged with focussing the bank’s targeting to improve engagement and in turn increase frequency by generating a more efficient target group.
These metrics have the greatest bearing on a brand’s Content Marketing Score within LinkedIn, this indicates the overall brand influence held across the platform and is the best way to build reputation and affinity around topic
areas. Lifting HSBC’s CMS, within the correct audience, was defined as the key way to measure an uplift in HSBC’s CMB and GBM brand influence on LinkedIn.
Historically, CMB/GBM activity worked towards a high engagement rate/click-through rate across as many as 10 topic areas, targeting anyone that listed themselves as a manager or higher. To tackle the 2017 challenge, where the
long term goal is to become a thought leader, it was decided that messaging needed to be delivered across fewer topics and to a more focussed audience.
In partnership with LinkedIn, Mindshare and HSBC evaluated the C-Suite audience was the most valuable segment for them within this platform. This is due to this target being the most engaged with financially focussed content, as
well as the potential for earned media reaching across their highly influential connection networks, ultimately shifting the needle of HSBC’s thought leader reputation.
HSBC’s own data, combined with media owner data around content consumption within the C-Suite audience, helped distil the thematic content areas to China, Sustainable Finance, Trade, and Innovation. Topic affinity is also a key metric in determining a brand’s CMS; reducing the overall number of topics engaged with could increase HSBC’s presence in a smaller number of concentrated environments, allowing for heightened association with each one in the eyes of the determined audience.
By resonating with the C-Suite audience, across topics we could prove they had a genuine interest in, we increased the likelihood that HSBC content permeated into their wider network. “Digital crowds now serve as very effective and prolific innovators of culture”*,. By playing a contextually relevant role in that culture we were able to influence HSBC’s reputation as a leader within each defined field.
Leveraging the native ad unit – Sponsored Content was delivered in LinkedIn feeds across desktop and mobile; building the HSBC Thought Leadership proposition. Content played the most important role – working with LinkedIn
to create a content calendar for HSBC, ensuring sufficient volumes of content and to increase the overall share of voice and affinity.
In collaboration with the HSBC flagship Belt and Road Initiative campaign, weekly content was delivered under the China topic pillar. For the remaining 3 topic pillars content was delivered with agility in mind, delivering around
events, occasions, or moments that may have been triggered by known fixtures or important updates in current affairs.
Given China was the core topic area for HSBC in 2017, this pillar was prioritised with increased exposure – 40% of total budget; for the remaining 3 topic pillars, the budget was evenly distributed.
LinkedIn targeting capabilities were leveraged to reach the C-suite audience. On top of the C-suite as seniority, and the geo targeting, we segmented the audiences by interests. LinkedIn conducted an analysis to surface the most
engaged industries with the highest index on the topics of China, Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Finance, in order to apply these learnings within the targeting setting.
*Douglas.Holt, HBR, March 2016
The results from the activity showed how Mindshare and HSBC have created momentum, better engaging the C-Suite audience at a much improved frequency. By improving the overall content marketing score (LinkedIn brand
● HSBC’s brand influence among the C-suite audience increased by 200% for CMB and 280% for GB&M, as measured by the LinkedIn Content Marketing Score.
• HSBC GB&M shifted its competitor set brand position from 6th to 5th, continuation of this strategy will help to push this further as results only continue to rise.
● HSBC’s topic pillar, “China”, increased its SOV from 20% to 38% and affinity increased 48% to 60%. At the end of 2017, HSBC has managed to become a topic specialist under the category of China. Further inflation of topic affinity
will drive this towards Thought Leadership status.
● HSBC’s CMB LinkedIn campaign received 309,787 unique C-suite reach, with 0.93% engagement rate which is 98% higher than the industry benchmark.
● HSBC GB&M LinkedIn campaign received 248,962 unique C-suite reach, with 1.01% engagement rate, which is 115% higher than industry benchmark
● The LinkedIn partnership brought 43% additional earned value to HSBC CMB, and 47% additional earned value to HSBC GB&M
● Followers base of CMB and GB&M LinkedIn combined increased by 22% and now has 2 times the amount of Csuite followers than HSBC’s competitors.