S&P GLOBAL RATINGS
THE ECONOMIST GROUP
GLOBAL GREEN EVALUATIONS LAUNCH
Green issuance and investment has been growing rapidly, propelled by new sanctions introduced in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Long-term investors are beginning to recognize the threat from greenhouse gases and are
starting to diversify portfolios away from carbon-based investment.
As one of the leading credit rating agencies, S&P Global Ratings reacted quickly to the demand for greater transparency in this space and to restore supply/demand equilibrium in the fragmented green marketplace by
launching a brand new Green Evaluation assessment. The Green Evaluations assessment is designed to be a standalone, asset-level environmental credential which aims to provide investors with a comprehensive picture of the
green impact and climate risk elements of their portfolios and to drive the flow of capital to sustainable investments.
To launch the Green Evaluation service to the market S&P Global Ratings commissioned EI Advisory to provide research which would assess the capabilities, audience reach and thematic alignment of major broad business
media which would deliver a truly global audience and amplification. S&P Global Ratings had two aims as part of this campaign. Firstly, they wanted to raise the profile of the Green Evaluations offering globally and make S&P Global Ratings’ brand synonymous with this market amongst investors, issuers and intermediaries. Secondly and as a wider aim, S&P Global Ratings were keen to position their brand as synonymous with the green finance space, establishing S&P Global Ratings as a key global player in driving the sector forward.
To assess which broad business media provider would yield the best results for S&P Global, EI assessed and shortlisted proposed campaigns based on their credibility, reach, and editorial fit with green financing and S&P Global Ratings’ key messaging themes.
To source the most relevant media provider for the brief, EI Advisory focussed on suppliers’ capabilities in two distinct media spaces: green finance/ESG and project/infrastructure finance. Through the research process EI
Advisory confirmed that none of S&P Global’s competitors were engaging in a significant way with global media brands (around green finance or otherwise), presenting an exciting first mover advantage.
EI Advisory recommended The Economist as a premium partner for this brief due to its excellent access to not only an investor and intermediary audience, but also strong exposure to financial decision-makers from corporates, all
key segments for the campaign.
The purpose of the partnership was to create an impactful, short term campaign that would contribute to meaningful discussions on green finance. Under the theme of ‘Making the Financial Future Evergreen’, S&P Global
were positioned as a global thought leader in green finance by taking stock of the green finance market in a way that would move away from the traditional white paper route. S&P Global were recommend a more concise, accessible
way to distribute green finance insight. It was decided that an infographic about the size and scale of the green bonds market accompanied by a highly targeted social and digital advertising campaign would be the most effective.
The aim of the infographic was to create an asset that was highly visual, that communicated the ‘state of the green economy’ globally, specifically highlighting the demand and drivers for green issuance, in conjunction with S&P Global Ratings.
The campaign included a targeted approach for the amplification of this infographic to target issuers, investors and investment banks. The strategy outlined that this would be implemented through highly selective social media
campaigns on the most relevant platforms; Linkedin and Twitter and combined with a highly targeted online advertising campaign (approx. 450,000 impressions worldwide on economist.com).
In addition all three parties planned to work together quickly to fast track the creation and approval of the infographic so that it could be published at the same time as the world renowned global conference centring on
combating climate change, the 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23). This event presented the ideal window of opportunity when climate change would be a major discussion point on social media outlets. By creating a topical asset that could be highly targeted we were aiming to boost engagement with the most senior audience attending the event and beyond.
The infographic went live on the 14th November 2017 and the focus was on rapidly building awareness and engagement to capitalise on the focus on green finance during the second week of COP23. The infographic was hosted within its own section of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (the EIU) website, Perspectives. This meant that the campaign could be heavily promoted under the EIU brand across their social media handles.
S&P Global Ratings, EI Advisory and The Economist had worked closely to identify some of the most interesting findings within the infographic e.g record investments in green bonds, the countries and sectors leading the way in
green bond issuance – and built creative messaging around these key statistics. Having several messages enabled us to test and learn which message around green finance resonated most heavily with senior executives.
The campaign launched with advertising across economist.com targeting CEO, CFOs, investment banks, and those working in sustainable development or with an interest in green finance. The creative messages were rotated to
build interest in the content, thereby encouraging users to click through and read the infographic.
The infographic was heavily promoted on the EIU’s Weekly Digest newsletter which is sent to 100,000 subscribers per week (with 55% in director level positions and above) and contains the latest thinking in finance and business.
We decided upon a dual-pronged approach to the social media campaign – firstly, organic posts from the EIU to its existing audiences across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. This enabled a highly tactical in our approach as S&P
Global Ratings were able to share these posts within their own social network and the EIU was also able to cross-tag S&P Global Ratings
Secondly, we conducted a highly targeted paid social campaign to reach senior executives working within green finance as well as campaigners and NGOs with an interest in environmental issues.
The initial marketing outreach was followed up with a roadblock of the Business and Finance section of economist.com on the penultimate day of COP23 to capitalise on the final discussions and headlines that were
emerging from the conference.
The campaign exceeded expectations. During week one, 16,569 unique visitors (UV) visited the content viewing 21,936 pages. The average session duration was impressive – 5m 3s compared to Economist Group’s average of 2m
30s for engagement with infographics. Providing content in a visual format and launching it at a critical point during COP23 with a highly targeted social media campaign was working.
The high profile ‘Spotlight’ position on the EIU Perspectives website and increased impression numbers saw traffic rise further by 69% to 28,076 UV in week three. Even though COP23 had ended and the campaign was finishing, EI
Advisory decided to continue amplification as heavily as budget allowed; engagement increased again to 41,217 visits.
All parties then decided to trial different formats for organic social media promotion. A short video for the infographic content was quickly produced with video views increasing engagement through Twitter/Facebook.
On completion, a staggering 55,527 UV had visited the content spending an average of 6m 14s. 24% of those viewers returned (approx. 13,300), their dwell time increased to 10m 21s.
The content performed well in all target markets: 7,723 UV in EMEA, 17,875 in the Americas, 30,832 in APAC.
The advertising campaign on economist.com outperformed industry benchmarks with a clickthrough of 0.22% (300 x
250 unit) and 0.38% (970 x 250).
LinkedIn and Twitter were the best performing social platforms – 20,353 and 23,444 UV respectively – with 93% of traffic from mobile devices. This demonstrates that senior decision makers will engage with content promoted on social if compelling, timely and relevant.
Key influencers in the green finance debate also took notice, notably the Chief Economist, Department of International Trade, proving that the campaign had succeeded in raising the profile of Green Evaluations and S&P Global Ratings’ position at the forefront of this topical debate.