For OppenheimerFunds, Brand Advertising Is A Mixed Bag Of Traditional, Digital Place-Based Media

OppenHeimerGlobal asset management firm OppenheimerFunds spends an estimated $15 to $20 million each year on media.

The company had historically allocated those dollars to “trade pub rags and TV,” according to Kirti Srikant, associate vice president and director of brand advertising and marketing, but is evolving its media mix to include more complex digital, out-of-home and multiscreen retargeting mechanisms.

OppenheimerFunds caters primarily to large, institutional consultants and financial advisers. The company executed its first public trade in 1959, and building awareness for such an established name and institution as Oppenheimer requires specialized tactics.

OppenheimerFunds’ addressable audience is select, to begin with. There are about 350,000 financial planners in the US and about 780 asset management firms vying for their portfolios. The average financial adviser is 40-55 years old and the ultra-high-net-worth set skews even older.

This audience target “is interested in insight and content based on the ‘immediacy’ of the economy,” SVP of Brand Marketing Stephen Tisdalle said onstage Tuesday at the Digital Place Based Advertising Association’s (DPAA) Video Everywhere Summit in New York, where he and Srikant spoke about the brand’s initiatives.

“The objective of advertising, for us, is not about awareness,” he said, but, instead, educating clients with deliberate messaging impacting their assets, such as “now is the time to get out of global equities and here’s why.”

On the one hand, its affluent and financially astute audience “does not respond well to advertising,” Tisdalle said. “We’re also in a highly regulated industry, so all of your content has to be legally approved” and meet compliance standards, which makes for a workflow that feels more “80s’ process” than “21st century real-time.”

Working with Havas Media, OppenheimerFunds and its agency sought to intertwine creative and media through Connection Planning. Not a brand-new thing, but certainly a concept that speaks to the asset manager’s objective to incorporate time, context and mindset in addition to audience persona.

Buying ‘Place’

Oppenheimer’s first major foray into digital place-based advertising kicked off in 2010. Partnering with office media network Captivate, the brand deployed a series of messages on flat-panel elevator displays in commercial office buildings. Srikant called the Captivate campaign a “good partnership” that helped the brand build the case for more dollars in digital place-based executions as part of its overall media budget.

The caveat was “we could not take [budget] away from digital,” she said. “As advertising executives, we have to be better at educating [our own] executives.” In other words, you can’t necessarily rob Peter to pay Paul “because it’ll water down your efficiencies.”

The Captivate full-screen campaign culminated in a number of new campaigns that all bleed together in OppenheimerFunds’ brand advertising plan.

In September 2013, digital place-based media network Office Media Network (commonly referred to as The Wall Street Journal Office Network or “WSJON,” acquired by competitor Captivate Network in April) and B2B audience-targeting platform Bizo (now owned by LinkedIn) formed a partnership to connect WSJ Office Network LCD screens to digital display ads. OppenheimerFunds was among a select handful of beta launch partners.

OppenheimerFunds sponsored a full-screen integration on WSJON, which incorporated investment factoid videos and newsbytes onto a digital signage network estimated to reach 1 million executives in their Class-A (that’s real estate lingo for “premium”) office environment.

Although an advertiser can’t retarget the executive in a traditional sense, WSJON and Bizo created a way to link LED screens in high-traffic office locales to digital display ads served on desktops in the same location via standard IP address and geofences.

“We were able to embed unique tags onsite so we were able to attribute views [to this] campaign,” Srikant said. “We pour a lot of ad dollars into online, but we found that digital ad recall was really aligned with out-of-home [WSJON ad recall was 25% to online’s 26%].” Retargeting users through Bizo’s Audience Network yielded more than 1.3 million impressions.

So far, a focus on content-centric campaigns appears to be working for the asset manager. Overall, Oppenheimer found a correlation between product engagement and financial planners who came into contact with investment insights messaging.

About 28% who engage go on to view Oppenheimer sites and properties, higher than the 12% average. The asset manager will continue to test more traditional, digital place-based and online integrations, along with custom content.


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