Shortlisted 2020

Brand & Media Owner Partnership


Astana International Financial Centre

Entered by:

Astana International Financial Centre


Bloomberg Media, Bloomberg Media Studios

My Kazakhstan

The Challenge

What do you know about business in Kazakhstan? Our vast, enigmatic country has plenty of untold stories to tell. At the Astana International Finance Centre (AIFC) we represent all of our business communities as well as our financial centre. We are still in our infancy on the international stage, so needed a partner able to devise a content programme that addressed four key areas:

To Capture the Energy and Ambition of SMEs

We needed to capture the diversity of small and medium businesses (SMEs) within our fast-growing country.

SMEs are essential for Kazakhstan’s future economy, driving growth and innovation and developing local talent. In this entrepreneurial nation, SMEs represent the individuals driving progress and play an important role in helping the country to diversify away from oil, gas and mining.

To Promote a New Financial Hub

The AIFC wanted to promote Kazakhstan positioning as a new financial hub in Central Asia. It links China with Russia, the Caspian Sea and Europe. It is the “buckle” in,China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and institutions and development banks have already invested billions of dollars in funding the new East-West transport links.

To Reach New Audiences

Primary target audience – business decision makers in North America and Europe involved in international investment strategy, cross border business and trade. Secondary target audience – local decision makers and executives operating in Asia Pacific.

To Shift Specific Perceptions

As part of our national development plan to raise the country’s international profile and position iy as being open, outward and ambitious, we had four stated perceptions to shift among our target audience.

  • Kazakhstan is host to a diverse SME community.
  • Kazakhstan is a good country to do business with.
  • Kazakhstan is one of the core players in the ‘Belt & Road Initiative’.
  • Kazakhstan has a strong, strategic geographical position.

The Creative Solution

To Capture the Energy and Ambition of SMEs

We tasked Bloomberg Media to devise a content strategy that would capture the energy and ambition of SMEs in Kazakhstan .

We combined market data and trends from Bloomberg Intelligence (a robust resource of comparable data compiled by 300+ analysts) with graduate recruitment information from Nazarbayev University and employment trends from AIFC.

We identified three categories of SMEs outside of finance that collectively represent more than 50% of the market: Serial Business Owners, Technology-led Operations, and the Creative Industries.

Armed with this knowledge, Bloomberg Media used its network of brand journalists, videographers, producers and designers to create My Kazakhstan (a play on the national anthem of the same name), featuring inspiring stories from the Steppe.

We created short films aimed to personalise SMEs by providing engaging day in the life profiles in the relevant categories: The Artist, The Entrepreneur and The Tech!

View My Kazakhstan series here – https://sponsored  .bloomberg .com/news/sponsors/features/aifc/my-kazakhstan/?adv=19268&prx_t =9SoFAy587At_sQA

To Promote a New Financial Hub

A series of articles delved into the new financial district. Coverage included reports into investments in Fintech, Capital Markets and Islamic Finance, as well as the privatisation of thousands of state-owned assets and new opportunities for foreign direct investors.

Written by journalists in region, the timely articles ran alongside relevant market reports on Bloomberg .com and on its homepage.

An example article here – https ://  com/news/sponsors/aifc/kazakhstan-continues-privatization-strategy/?adv=19268&prx _t =Be8EAG TM5At_sQA

An infographic here –

Event Coverage

The partnership continued with event coverage of Astana Finance Days in the capital city in July. Bloomberg interviewed a range of business leaders, government officials, entrepreneurs and exhibitors to capture the pulse of the event through a series of articles and a bespoke video.

Event video here – htt ps:// .com/news/sponsors/aifc/watch-kazakhstan-afd-event/?adv=19268&prx _t =giUFAsa g6At_sQA

Much of the week’s discussions focused on harnessing technology across different sectors, and the importance of nurturing talent among Kazakhstan’s growing population of 18.5 million, which has a median age of just 30.

Education is held in high regard throughout this young country and the ongoing democratization of education was explored in depth at the event’s EdTech Forum. Coverage included interviews with international and local companies, government specialists, Silicon Valley developers and investors.

We also interviewed delegates on a range of issues, ranging from the evolution of finance jobs and the advantages of digitalization, to trends in QR payments and mobile banking.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

Media Strategy

Our strategy was to create a global campaign that contained emotional stories people can connect with as well as being informative for our business audience . We knew our target audience were frequent viewers of business videos, indexing heavily in exposure to Bloomberg’s how-to explainers QuickTakes and

Research from Neuro-lnsight, the market-research company that measures second-by-second brand data, tells us that content featuring human faces the audience can connect with is more likely to be effective and memorable, eliciting memory encoding responses 10% higher than those with low levels of human interaction.

We devised ‘My Kazakhstan’ as close-up profiles – with our protagonists talking directly to the viewer, sharing personal information and a glimpse into their lifestyles as well business insights . Their tone is conversational and authentic, producing business portraits rarely seen in our target markets.

Integral to the media strategy was leveraging the known audience reach of and Bloomberg TV around the world. Articles and event reports were produced and presented in standard, labelled editorial pages. Average dwell times helped to focus the word counts and video lengths.

Audience Targeting

Bloomberg Media’s bespoke automated tool, AIQ, was able to create audience profiles of users interested in foreign direct investments, new markets and Central Asia across its global media portfolio (including Bloomberg TV, Business Week, and Pursuits).

We used 1st and 3rd party data from AIFC and Bloomberg to hone in on our target audiences (business decision makers, investors). To complement this, we included semiotic content targeted themes around “emerging markets”, “foreign direct investment” and “Central Asia” to ensure the campaign had hyper-relevant contextual environments.

The series ran across Bloomberg TV during peak viewing periods (9am-5pm) between programming on Markets and Investments across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

The content programme was delivered  around relevant global events, including leadership  articles around WEF in  Davos, and a feature on the education  sector ahead of summer enrolment.

The Result

The film shorts, articles, event report and financial coverage created real momentum for the AIFC, internally and externally, during a pivotal period of transition. Results exceeded Bloomberg and MOAT benchmarks by at least 15% across social, desktop and mobile web.

To Reach New Audiences

Bloomberg TV
4.3m – Europe
3.3m- US
*lpsos Affluent Surveys 2019 Page Views : 142,809
Total Video Views : 241,267 (above average by 45.37%)
Total Completed Views: 41,524 (above average by 54.47%)
Top Facebook Referral Rate: 7.81%
Engagement Rate: 24.40% Video Views : 87,100

Top Twitter
Referral Rate: 1.85%
Engagement Rate: 3.23% Video Views: 34,747

To Shift Specific Perceptions

Using research company DVJ Insights, we interviewed business leaders with large investable assets to evaluate My Kazakhstan before and after the campaign . Perceptions changed significantly across North America and Europe.

Specific perceptions shifts 

  • Kazakhstan is host to a diverse SME community
    North America Before Content – 60% Europe Before Content 70%
    North America After Content – 81% Europe After Content 82%
    APAC Before Content – 68%
    APAC After Content – 78%
  • Kazakhstan is a good country to do business with.
    North America Before Content – 57% Europe Before Content 64%
    North America After Content – 71% Europe After Content 82%
    APAC Before Content – 64%
    APAC After Content – 80%
  • Kazakhstan is one of the core players in the ‘Belt & Road Initiative ‘.
    North America Before Content – 66% Europe Before Content 69%
    North America After Content – 82% Europe After Content 79%
    APAC Before Content – 78%
    APAC After Content – 78%
  • Kazakhstan has a strong, strategic geographical position.
    North America Before Content – 81% Europe Before Content 78%
    North America After  Content – 84 Europe After Content 80%
    APAC Before Content – 85%
    APAC After Content – 88%

N = 564 of Bloomberg target audience