Transitioning to a CLIC economy
Our current branding campaign journey started in 2016. In that year, we launched a campaign to articulate our central philosophy of “rethink everything,” or constantly re-evaluating the world around us, to provide fresh perspectives for our clients. In 2018, there was no more relevant rethinking area than sustainability, and we made a public, unequivocal commitment to sustainable investing, heralding the Sustainability Revolution. In 2019, we described this Revolution’s investment implications– the need to identify ‘Eagle’ companies with far-sighted vision, embracing sustainability, and avoid the head-in-the-sand Ostriches. These campaigns have been hugely successful, bringing booming levels of traffic and engagement on our digital channels and visibility in the world’s major financial and lifestyle publications.
Then in 2020, Covid-19 arrived like a storm, bringing fear and uncertainty worldwide. It threatened to reverse the trajectory of sustainable investing, in favour of short-term thinking. To counter this threat, we needed to provide leadership, clarity and reassurance on the true path ahead. We used our campaign to articulate the fundamental lessons from the pandemic and how they emphasised the need, and the opportunity, to transition to a sustainable economic model. In the true sense of the word ‘crisis’s’ etymology: “a turning point in a disease”, the pandemic was a unique moment for us, and society to act. Because Covid-19 foreshadowed a greater climate crisis on the horizon. Powerful market forces: consumer and investor demand, government and regulatory pressure were pushing for change. Our campaign articulated the need to move to a circular, lean, inclusive and clean (we called it “CLICTM”) economic model. Our conviction was that the CLIC transition was reshaping risk and return dynamics across all sectors and asset classes, creating a USD 5.5 trillion annual investment opportunity. As the fiduciary manager of our clients’ life-savings, it was our duty to act upon it.
The Creative Solution
Our guiding principle was that Covid-19 was context, not messaging. We needed to articulate how to move beyond the pandemic, to avoid natural behavioural reactions to crises: focusing on short-term questions of survival rather than long term concerns around sustainability. The campaign strategy was developed amidst a growing consciousness of the scale of the economic challenge ahead. China’s National Energy Administation announced in April that it was ready to relax rules on coal power investment to stimulate recovery. At the same time, policies like the EU Green Deal were in development. Our campaign took inspiration from forward-thinking sustainability leaders such as Bill Gates, politicians including Emmanuel Macron, COP26 advisers and content in thought leadership titles such as the Economist, sources familiar to our target audience.
The crisis had warned us that it was imperative to prepare and transition; it had revealed that we must adapt and evolve; and it had created a unique condition to reset and build forward better. Our campaigns juxtapose arresting visuals with striking, unexpected text, conveying the urgency of the message, intriguing the viewer, and inviting them to discover more on our website. This campaign caught the Zeitgeist by combining words like “vaccine.” Other visuals combined the words “renaissance, reset, adapt, evolve” with natural images (butterfly, eclipse, goat). They describe how the crisis had created a unique chance to grow into something better (butterfly – metamorphosis), evolve (goat – living on a sheer rockface), and rebuild our economic model (eclipse – a transition) through companies embracing the move to a CLIC economy. As always, this campaign expressed our central convictions as a bank. It aimed to articulate the way in which our investment analysis is anticipating and responding to a changing world, including via eight sustainability dynamics that outline the end-goals of the CLIC economy. It was backed up by leading research, including from our partnership with the Oxford Smith School, and by our proprietary investment analysis.
The accompanying content on our website and digital channels was attractive to a lay audience, but also included in-depth analysis and commentary by sustainability experts. It was designed to appeal to both institutional investors and non-specialist private clients. It included a new sustainability ‘hub’ full of interactive graphics and statistics on the scale of the current challenge in our take-make-waste economy, and articles by our Sustainable Investment, Research, Strategy and Stewardship team, including economists, environmental engineers, scientists, financial and geospatial analysts.
The Media/Content Amplification Solution
Our media strategy started with the insight that the selection of a private bank comes with a high perceived risk. The decision-making process is long, logical, considered but also driven by instinct and comfort. In practice, this means a long purchase cycle that is “closed” by a personal engagement with a banker. Relationships are at the core of Lombard Odier’s business. Rather than try to change that, we worked with it and built a campaign strategy that focused on augmenting the quality of that relationship through “pre-warming” a conversation. We needed to ensure that each banker could talk to new clients that were aware of Lombard Odier’s intentions and stature, and aligned with their way of thinking.
Therefore, the solution would focus on finding spaces our audience trusts and ensuring that we appear big, bold, and popular within them. We needed to think beyond hyper-targeting. To land the message of a premium brand, we needed to own the biggest canvases and behave like an authentic luxury brand with rich and powerful visuals that felt like an editorial story. Our thinking then led us into brand wraps and full-page ads (they are now our standard) to create brand value with our audience. Finally, we unlocked a unique opportunity in OOH, focusing on airports in Geneva, London and Zurich; we were able to talk to our global jet-set in locations with the highest concentration of ultra-high net worth individuals and BDMs.
Our final plans to build the brand came together as:
- Premium financial print and digital: conversation ownership, land the sustainability message where influence is created
- Wraps and takeovers: communicate scale and stature and standout
- OOH: be bold and show that Lombard Odier can and should be noticed
- A ‘Rethink’ content, built in collaboration with the Financial Times, focused on making the transition to a CLIC economy tangible, inspiring and credible.
The campaign was very successful. The enrichment of our digital ecosystem (paid search and social alongside organic; video rather than static banners) to drive traffic to LO.com differentiated this campaign from previous ones. In the three months following the October campaign launch, we registered 50mn digital ad impressions.
Our print ad circulation reached 6.6 million people. Our manifesto video was viewed 4.6 million times. Website visits rose 14% year-on year, with an average of over 5 minutes spent on the site.
Our LinkedIn posts registered 1.7mn impressions, those on Twitter 2.3mn, and on Instagram 1.9mn. In terms of followers, we are now ahead of key competitors on all three platforms. The click-through rate on our manifesto video was 0.41%, and those of our digital ads 0.27% on average, well above the publication benchmarks we used. Click-through rates on our paid search ads was 4.49%.
The top performing titles and formats included digital ads on the Economist, Bilan, NZZ and the FT. We used this data to inform our new campaign, launched in May 2021. Viewer feedback also suggested we needed to further explain our CLIC messaging, which we have done.
Our FT partnership created true value-added content. The activation exceeded view-through benchmarks, delivering 1,800hrsof additional time spent with Lombard Odier. Average time spent on the FT Rethink written articles continues to grow, with an average view duration of 04:33 showing the audience continues to engage with new content.
Praise for the 2020 campaign (FT Research November – December 2020):
“They all feature a vivid image that grabs ones attention, whether it be unusual (owl) or relevant today (vaccine)”
“Give an impression of a bank that wants to do business another way. I find them original.”
“The advert draws you in and makes you want to discover more about the bank”