Spark Foundry Worldwide
Illuminate, educate, reciprocate media strategy
In the run up to 2020, UBS was working with a shrinking media budget to win a growing High Net Worth audience, while being up against some highly vocal competition. In this demanding environment, a pure efficiency-focused media strategy had made sense from a cost and impressions-based perspective, but was under delivering against the primary objective of brand familiarity.
In 2018-2019 UBS was being outspent by competitors in Wealth Management, with differentiation also presenting a challenge, as all category messaging played in similar spaces. Over the same period, the market size of the High Net Worth segment – with investible assets of USD1M+ continued to grow, meaning that despite our high precision-targeting approach, we had the room to reach considerably more people with more impact. Our challenge was not the for the fainthearted; develop a strategy that would allow us to connect to a notoriously elusive audience with limited budgets, while creating impact that would give UBS the cut-through it deserved in a deeply cluttered environment.
Objectives: • Drive familiarity and awareness. • Refresh messaging focusing on key themes of Sustainable Investing and Unpredictability for cut-through. • Position UBS as Thought Leaders and drive quality visits UBS.com 3 of 5 To achieve objectives, the campaign had to measure: • Uplift in upper funnel brand metrics (familiarity, awareness, recall, consideration). • Quality visits / leads to UBS.com
The Creative Solution
So, what did we change for greater brand impact and visibility? We looked to those who were winning investment from our discerning audience every day – Luxury brands. Luxury is akin to a members’ club. It is exclusive and not many can access it. However, the real kudos of belonging to the luxury club arises when non-members see that you belong and understand what it means. After all, what is the point of spending £10K on a Rolex watch if no-one understands the value and scarcity of what you are wearing? When it came to our HNW audience, status was important. Our data told us they valued how a brand’s heritage, prestige and uniqueness enhanced their social status. We understood that the status and value of a luxury brand comes from everyone knowing the value of the item you own, while simultaneously not affording it themselves. We called this the VALUE OF BEING SEEN TO BE SEEN. This insight required a radical change in behaviour. By effectively inversing our existing strategy, we moved from discreet, precision marketing to building visibility and stature that punched above our weight and beyond our HNW audience. It changed how we showed up, what we said and where we focused, and was summarised in three strategic pillars: • ILLUMINATE – make the brand shine far beyond its core consumer and embrace the value of being seen to be seen, by prioritising high impact presentations of the brand that are visible beyond our HNW core audience. • EDUCATE on what makes UBS thinking and advice so unique with content that reinforces UBS’ unique thought leadership credentials. • RECIPROCATE – respond to consumer signals of intent with customised messaging to encourage conversion. This was a media strategy that also demanded creative carried the same impact as our stature building formats. Working as a cross discipline agency team with UBS, we drew insights from a wealth of research to identify the messaging that resonated most strongly. We used creative pre-testing to unlock the best combinations of headline, tone and imagery to deploy across our core markets (United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore and Global). We then translated the findings of our creative research into formats and content tailored to ‘fit’ the look and feel of each publisher partner’s ecosystem, ensuring that UBS’ advertising had both the opportunity to stand out whilst being highly relevant.
The Media/Content Amplification Solution
As we embarked on our planning process, the pandemic hit. We sense checked and validated our strategy within this new and unprecedented context: • 92% of consumers thought that brands should continue advertising. • Uncertainty pushed personal wealth front-of-mind for HNWs. • Readers and viewers turned to trusted sources in times of uncertainty with heightened demand for content. Our clear strategy meant we were able to define rigorous criteria for each strategic pillar: ILLUMINATE We created high impact presence for UBS in five publisher ecosystems, including Bloomberg, CNBC, The Economist, Financial Times and Wall Street Journal. These were selected based upon rigorous criteria: 4 of 5 • Brand fit, content and quality of formats guaranteeing UBS brand was positioned within premium environments to cut through, across print, digital display, sponsorship, podcast and TV. • Effective Reach and Audience affinity proving that publishers reached relevant audiences. This was further qualified with a bespoke panel from GWI to validate publishers’ reach amongst UBS’ target audience. • Cross-channel presence and overlap to reach audiences at key moments, mirroring their consumption habits across print, digital and TV. • Ability to run bespoke brand uplift studies measuring advertising impact on awareness, familiarity, consideration and advertising recall. EDUCATE We developed a Wall Street Journal ‘Serious About Sustainable Investing’ content partnership that was further amplified on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube. WSJ was selected upon the following considerations: • High production content capability that would establish UBS at Thought Leaders on Sustainable Investing. • Integration of audience consumption and behavioural data to enable UBS to educate and guide audiences through questions based on their experience, appetite for risk, asset class, ESG criteria and investment style. • Enhanced targeting and alignment of creative topics with relevant marketplace themes, driving deeper engagement via social media amplification. RECIPROCATE Search and programmatic were harnessed in response to consumer signals: • Search and social retargeting utilizing first party data from site visits and engagement with other UBS advertising as well as search behaviour to drive quality visits to UBS Wealth Management pages. • Customised contextual targeting based on UBS HNWI segments and values. • Programmatic Private Market Place amplification with premium publishers targeting HNWIs. Our media planning process culminated in a dramatic swing in budget allocation, from 80% invested in digital previously to 87% into stature driving formats including TV, print high impact display and content partnerships.
This strategy was a risk but ‘being seen to be seen’ paid off for UBS. The GWI validated, rigorous brand uplift studies negotiated as part of our publisher deals, demonstrated that impressive levels of cut-through, familiarity and consideration were achieved. ILLUMINATE: CNBC: +31pt and +38pt increases in Familiarity and Consideration respectively between exposed v control audiences with 42% of HNW audiences recalling UBS advertising. Financial Times: +14pt Familiarity and +10pt Consideration uplift achieved between exposed v control audiences with +44% total recall. WSJ: 80% Familiarity attained amongst those exposed to UBS advertising. 60% of HNWs enquired further after seeing UBS ads. Recall of +84% across print and 94% across digital. The Economist: 80% Familiarity score amongst HNWs globally with a third of those exposed enquiring further. EDUCATE: The Economist World In and Nobel Perspective sponsorship: 30 seconds video achieved 23% VCR (vs benchmark of 20% for 20 second video). Digital display units delivered CTRs of 0.22% (vs benchmark of 0.08%). The World In podcast sponsorship reached 812K unique users boosting awareness of UBS’ Nobel Perspectives, +69% increase in YoY downloads of the same programme.
Overall, custom and high impact digital display formats achieved overall unique reach of 13.3 million and CTRs of 1.13% (benchmark 0.13% CTR). WSJ and UBS Serious About Sustainable Investing content partnership led to +28%pt uplift in consideration post exposure to custom content. Average dwell time of 2.49x benchmark achieved with users spending an average of 3 minutes and 44 seconds on the hub. Significant ad recall uplift on Facebook in US (+5.7pt) and (+1.1pt) in UK and Singapore. LinkedIn video ads drove higher engagement rates by 5x overall. RECIPROCATE: Programmatic drove site QVR of 0.58% (v 0.05% benchmark). Brand searches delivered 55% increase in volumes of site quality visits, the highest rate across the entire year.