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How UBS looked to social media to spread the word around its sustainable investments portfolio


By The Drum, Editorial

November 30, 2023 | 5 min read

Picking up the Digital Industries B2B Award is Nucco, a Unit9 Company, for its work with UBS Asset Management, which was looking to make some noise about its sustainable investments portfolio. Here, Nucco explains what went into the campaign...

Example of the award-winning digital work

While UBS has high awareness as a global financial services brand, they are less well-known for their sustainable investment solutions. With $150bn in ESG assets under management and $30bn in sustainable ETFs, over 50% of which are customised, USB's innovative approach to passive sustainable investment solutions is not widely recognised amongst professional investors. And as an early entrant to sustainable investment, UBS has over 20 years of experience in sustainable investing under its belt.

Objectives While UBS is a powerful global brand, UBS Asset Management needed to raise its profile amongst institutional and professional investors, who were unaware that UBS is an innovative pioneer of sustainable ETF and rules-based investment solutions. Investors saw them as ‘samey’ and not a pioneer in this area. We needed to raise awareness and change this perception across 21 markets to a broad range of sophisticated professional institutional and wholesale investors. Working with UBS we agreed the following objectives.

Awareness: Raise awareness, and change perception of UBS's amongst investors using UBS’s strong sustainable investment credentials. We wanted to put UBS in the spotlight as a leader and innovator of passive sustainable investment products (like ETFs) and investment strategies with an evidence-based approach that demonstrated their long-standing commitment to environmental, social, and governance causes.

Category Leadership: The campaign was also geared towards ensuring that UBS was participating and shaping sustainable ETF trends, especially in the European markets. Impact and perception-change would be measured by an independent research company to qualitatively assess the impact of the campaign on the niche target audience.

Lead generation: professional investing is a relationship business where a single customer can be responsible for huge investment funds. So whilst the key objective was awareness, we also needed investors to hand raise by asking for more information on UBS’s website to allow the sales team to qualify and pursue leads.

Digital Engagement: By emphasising sustainability, the campaign aimed to create a surge in online engagement, directing more visitors to the UBS website to explore its offerings. Lead generation and engagement would be measured by benchmarking CTR against past campaign performance alongside financial services industry benchmarking by an independent 3rd party.

Strategy Institutional and wholesale professional investors, though grouped under a broad umbrella, have varied interests, knowledge levels, and investment maturities. To overcome this, we created a tri-tiered audience segmentation of Emergers (those new to sustainable investments), Developers (those with an intermediate level of involvement), and Leaders (the seasoned experts).

This segmentation was instrumental in devising a tailor-made approach for each group, planning customer journeys and creating advertising and content that resonated with the audience, whatever their stage in the customer journey. With these audiences in mind, the theme 'Investing in Progress' became the campaign's core. For each audience segment, an array of content was developed alongside digital advertising that included:

Brand Films: Narratives that delved into UBS's journey in sustainable investments, offering both a retrospective and a vision for the future.

White Papers: Detailed reports for those keen on the essentials of sustainable investments, providing insights, analytics, and UBS’s approach.

Podcasts: Leveraging experts in the field to discuss trends, challenges, and the future of sustainable investing.

Creatively groundbreaking for UBS, our use of 3D environments combined with iconic red 2D illustrated animation created cut-through in the crowded financial services market. This visual identity was carried across approximately 65 different paid media messages and complemented with podcasts, a range of video content, and design templates for UBS's internal teams.

Results The campaign's first month smashed expectations. The animated elements of the campaign dwarfed metrics from previous campaigns, with click-through rates reaching 2.5 times the industry benchmark for financial services and achieving category-leading viewability scores. Both of which meant UBS was punching significantly above its weight against competitors.

In a series of qualitative research sessions, the independent audience research company reported that: "The sense of UBS as an agency of change - as central to the solutions to those problems – committed to progress and to building brighter futures – was widely recognised and appreciated.” It also found that “The simple modernity of the artwork underscores UBS’s commitment to progress against the grey of the ‘old world establishment”, which is central to achieving the brief of raising awareness of UBS as a pioneer and innovator in sustainable investing.

The campaign leveraged various platforms, crafting messages that were appropriate for paid, owned, and earned channels. Our ‘full-funnel approach’ was pivotal in creating a holistic campaign that stood out in the competitive ESG investment landscape.

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