Majority of the largest asset managers see declining or stagnant brand awareness for the fourth consecutive year: Global 100 report
Many of the world's largest asset managers have experienced stagnant or declining corporate brand awareness for the fourth year running, according to Peregrine Communications' fourth annual Global 100 report focused on the integrated marketing communications (IMC) performance of the asset management industry.
Peregrine found that over half of managers (54%) have experienced stagnant or declining brand awareness, a continued trend from 2021, when 52% of asset managers faced the same problem. This indicates a smaller number of firms are reaping most of the benefits of interest in corporate brand activity.
"A key theme we have seen over the past few years is consolidation: the top few firms continue to enhance their corporate recognition, while the rest of the largest asset managers keep slipping further down the ranks. It is imperative that firms first differentiate their brands from each other, and then secondly make use of integrated marketing and communications tools to ensure they are recognizable to the public," said Max Hilton, Co-CEO of Peregrine Communications.
A distinct cohort of firms significantly outperformed in IMC this year, establishing further reach and engagement than their AUM weight would suggest. Russell Investments, Baillie Gifford & Co., KKR & Co., and Lord, Abbett & Co. outperformed both this and last year, and a few new firms excelled, such as Stifel, Vontobel, and Ares Management. Another pre-eminent alternatives firm that jumped up the rankings is Blackstone, moving from 32nd position in the 2021 report to 9th position. The institution also topped the rankings in Peregrine's Alts 50 report this year.
The study also revealed that managers continue to struggle with optimizing their online assets. Of the managers surveyed, less than one-third (29%) have a website characterized as "outstanding" in terms of effectiveness. The vast majority (81%) have either no positive media coverage "sticking" to their Google Page 1 or display signiicant negative coverage. These results indicate a continued failure to consider the impact of earned media on a firm's digital footprint.
When managers do engage with their audiences online, the report suggests that video is popular, and LinkedIn is favored over Twitter. Three-quarters (71%) of managers use YouTube, and there was an 11% increase in the number of firms using the platform as a key channel this year. Average engagement on LinkedIn is 10 times higher than on Twitter - showing that LinkedIn's audiences are better targeted and more likely to engage with asset managers' content. Only two-thirds (67%) of firms continue to use Twitter as an important channel.
This year, firms engaged less in paid media activity. When they did publish content, one third (33%) promoted ESG related content, one third (32%) promoted product related content across their paid channels, and one quarter (23%) promoted big brand related campaigns across paid channels. It is also worth noting that spend does not equate impact for brand awareness: only 41% of the firms which significantly utilized paid media managed to grow their brand awareness in the year.
"Asset managers are facing a decade that will look and feel very different from the last one, and they need to prepare accordingly. The importance of good leadership and effective communication, among internal and external stakeholders, has never been more apparent. As we look ahead to 2023, our watchword is controlled offense, ensuring clarity for all stakeholders about the direction of the business as well as its place in wider society," said Anthony Payne, Chairman of Peregrine Communications.
"At Blackstone, our brand is inextricably linked to our 37-year history of delivering for our investors. We are a high integrity and innovative firm, filled with nice and hard working people, who build resilient businesses and create transformative value for our customers. Our global marketing efforts are in service of driving business outcomes, through multi-platform solutions that are customized to our clients and communities," commented Arielle Gross Samuels, Global Head of Marketing at Blackstone.
ABOUT THE GLOBAL 100 RESEARCH
This Global 100 report focuses on the marketing performance of the world's largest asset management firms as ranked by AUM. The firms selected were the top 100 independent brands in IPE's Top 500 Asset Management survey. Firms that are owned or operated by a parent brand already included in the research group were excluded from the analysis. The group is scored, ranked and analyzed across a dataset of 12,000 data points collected between July and September 2022. It builds on the 12,000 data points already collated by Peregrine in 2021. The firm's overall scores are made up of their scores across ten distinct IMC categories.
Peregrine's Global 100 report, interactive competitor intelligence tool and more information about the report's methodology, is here.
ABOUT PEREGRINE COMMUNICATIONS
Based in London and New York, Peregrine Communications provides strategic communications, marketing, and design solutions to the global financial services industry. Peregrine clients range from start-ups to global investment firms and leading service providers to asset managers.
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