Highly Commended 2022

Financial Services



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Euromoney Institutional Investor

Treasury & Turbulence - Sanctions: The Makers & The Breakers

The Challenge

When Citi supported the first series of Treasury and Turbulence in 2018, a podcast produced by Euromoney aimed at the corporate treasury function, it was an innovative move for both bank and publisher. The challenge from Citi to Euromoney then was to bring ideas to the table that would bring the technical subject matter Citi needed to communicate to Treasurers to life in a way that promoted both awareness and deep engagement. Podcasts were already a popular format with audiences at this point but using audio to connect directly with the treasury was new, which the team at Euromoney felt would give Citi a way in that differentiated it from its competitive set.

The challenge for Citi and Euromoney by series three (the subject of this entry) was how to retain and engage the core global audience of treasurers we’d built, but widen the target audience to speak to CFOs, Chief Risk Officers, C-suites and a wider set of baking professionals across both financial institutions and wider corporates? It’s an over-used phrase, but these audiences are chronically time poor and the market is competitive and noisy, with banks and now fintechs vying for attention. At the same time, these executives are more in need of insight than ever, against a backdrop of global economic disruption and rapid digitisation. How could we build on success and keep the podcast relevant for such a wide, global audience?

The Content Solution

Treasury and Turbulence – Sanctions: The Makers & The Breakers is a series of three, 20-25 minute podcasts that share the human stories behind corporate risk (https://www.euromoney.com/podcasts/treasury-and-turbulence) . The episodes explore:

  • What happens when a company breaks an economic sanction and gets caught? Two CEOs reveal what it was like when US federal agents come knocking, why they got into trouble in the first place, and what others can learn from their experience.
  • What it is it like to work at OFAC? What do sanctions enforcers think about the companies who break their regulations? And how will sanctions work in the UK now that it is no longer in Europe?
  • How can a company recover if it breaks an economic sanction?

Euromoney worked with Citi to decide the overall theme of the series, based on what its editorial team were hearing from the market and from insight that showed that the challenges around compliance were front of mind for the C suite. According to the annual True Cost of Financial Crime Compliance Report by Lexis Nexis, for example, compliance cost firms a record amount of $180bn in 2020 and three quarters of CEOs surveyed cited it as a key worry.

Each episode follows the format of a piece of long form, audio journalism, with regular Euromoney contributor Nell McKenzie as the narrator and contributions from C-suite executives, bankers, lawyers and the regulators themselves. These first-person accounts brought home not just the business implications of breaking sanctions but also the emotional impact, immediately making these human stories that would appeal to a broader set of executives.

At the end of each podcast, a senior representative from Citi’s Trade and Treasury Solutions discusses the stories featured with Nell, providing a seamless way for Citi to demonstrate its own thought leadership with the target audience.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

Euromoney ran a targeted global amplification campaign promoting the series using bespoke creative across digital display, paid search, paid social and direct mail to reach the job titles required by Citi.

In order to achieve awareness, display ran across the Euromoney site, with particular emphasis given to the Treasury section of the title, complemented by paid search and targeted paid social.

In order to promote engagement with the podcasts, Euromoney drew on its proprietary database to distribute a bespoke newsletter promoting each episode to treasury and risk professionals of all levels, CFOs, and other C-suites at both financial institutions and global corporates.

The Result

The original challenge for Citi was to create awareness of its trade and treasury services, and to promote engagement with very senior level, corporate executives globally amid a very noisy and competitive market. Treasury and Turbulence – Sanctions: The Makers and The Breakers delivered on these objectives:

  • In terms of reach, Euromoney was able to leverage both its on domain audience and its own brand recognition with the target audience via paid search and social to deliver more than 7m impressions in total and over 94k clicks (a 1.3% click through rate) from display ads. The newsletters reached a total audience of over 30k professionals with an open rate of between 13% and 17%
  • In terms of engagement, episodes 1 and 2 achieved just under 2,000 listens each, with episode 3 rising to just under 3,000. By episode 3, roughly 70% were listening to the end of the episode up from 60% for episode 1. Downloads were healthy in the US and Europe, at 8,684 and 8,243 respectively, however we saw a substantial spike in Asia with 10.2k downloads, showing a potential area of opportunity for Citi in that particular region.

(supporting doc has additional information and shows the creative in situ).