Saturday, September 8, 2007

Merrill Lynch Marketing - 1

1. Merrill Lynch Investment Managers to Sponsor ATP Tennis Tour of Champions

Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (MLIM) has agreed a three-year sponsorship of the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) Tour of Champions to be branded the Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions. Players include sporting legends such as Boris Becker, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Goran Ivanisevic, Pat Cash and Thomas Muster. In 2006, the tour will comprise a series of tournaments played across 12 cities in Europe and Asia including Rome, Paris, Frankfurt, Barcelona and Hong Kong, culminating with the grand finale, The Masters Tennis, held in London's Royal Albert Hall in December.

Robert Fairbairn, chief operating officer of MLIM in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, said:

"We are delighted to announce our sponsorship of the ATP Tour of Champions. The world of tennis has international appeal and is a great fit with the Merrill Lynch brand. Sponsoring the Tour of Champions underscores our continued commitment to support and strengthen our brand and we believe that this will build substantially on our successful sponsorship of the Chelsea Flower Show."

Nuala Walsh, head of Retail Marketing at MLIM, added:

"This sponsorship represents an integral part of our marketing strategy in Europe and Asia Pacific. The Tour of Champions will generate significant television coverage and brand exposure for Merrill Lynch, directly complementing our current advertising campaigns in the U.K, Germany and the Netherlands. It will also provide some very exciting hospitality opportunities for our clients."

John McEnroe commented:

"It's great news that we have attracted such a globally recognised brand as Merrill Lynch to be the sponsor of our Tour. As soon as you see the bull, you know it's Merrill Lynch. A company like Merrill Lynch will help to take the Tour to the next level."

2. Change in the Slogan to reflect times

MERRILL Lynch, the sprawling US investment bank and symbol of all things capitalist, has finally turned bearish on being "bullish".

Its aggressive, high-profile "be bullish" campaign is to be dropped in favour of something more appropriate to today's downbeat markets.

Throughout its history, the company has made the image of the bull the centre of its marketing strategy, and two years ago it introduced the slogan "be bullish" to an investment-hungry public, building on the firm's traditional symbol of a bull and its nickname "the thundering herd".

But times have changed. Markets are a long way down from where they were 18 months ago, and bullishness is less of an asset and more of a liability, so Merrill has decided that a new slogan is needed.

From this week, advertisements and corporate literature will exhort the public to "ask Merrill", in a campaign expected to receive the full weight of the company's estimated $150m (pounds 100m) annual marketing budget.

Although the new advertising drive does not have quite the same domineering feel as "be bullish", Merrill intends to be just as aggressive about selling the new line. The company previously used the largest billboard in New York's Times Square to parade its brand of confidence and will use the same site to invite the public to "ask Merrill".

The company is keen to play down any suggestion that it has lost faith in the market. "It's very easy to look at `be bullish' as a market call, but it was never intended to be," says Madeline A Weinstein, the company's corporate marketing director. "The campaign has always primarily been focused on our optimism."

The new campaign will still make use of the bank's cherished bull symbol, but in the Times Square poster only the top of the animal's head will show.

"Merrill Lynch is always bullish and always will be bullish," said Charles Mangano, chief marketing officer, in defence of the new slogan. "That's our DNA as a brand."

From: Independent, The (London), May 27, 2001 Independent Newspapers UK Limited

4.The Brand Within The Brand: Helping advistors to develop their brand

Wall Street discovered the importance of branding a generation ago. Merrill Lynch has spent hundreds of millions of dollars making its bull an international icon as recognizable as the golden arches of fast-food giant McDonald's Corp. But even the international wirehouses with their own strong market presence understand that the industry is changing. As the firms expand their product lines and transform their brokers into financial advisers, they are finding that their umbrellas are often too big.

"As much as these firms have tried to put a strong brand on their own names, the Smith Barneys and Merrill Lynches are now discovering that they are having a difficult time" getting the initial business over to the other corporate products, says Karl Speak, president of Beyond Marketing Thought in Minneapolis and author of Be Your Own Brand. New customers aren't pulled in the door by the corporate brand, he says. They are with the firm because of their relationships with the advisers.

"This is a person-to-person business, not a person-to-company business," Speak explains. "The trust is built through the adviser first, so the firms have discovered that they have to help their advisers develop their individual brands."

Merrill Lynch recognized this phenomenon more than a decade ago. With more than 200 individual products and services on its corporate menu, no broker could ever pretend to be an expert in everything. So Merrill built an internal marketing division that its advisers can use to develop their individual brands within the corporate structure. "We have dedicated significant resources to helping teams shape their whole practice in a way that helps them create their own brand," says Richard Orlando, head of Merrill Lynch's team consulting group.

Advisers working with the internal consultants begin by identifying their ideal niche. Then they must ensure they are a good fit for that target client. They write down their personal mission statement and make a list of all the things they think their clients say about them. Then each adviser meets with a handful of his top clients to get their feedback. As those meetings are going on, Merrill Lynch conducts its own survey of those clients. Too often, the advisers don't correctly identify their markets. Most people need an independent third party to help them separate their self-image from others' perceptions of them. After that, the adviser taps into Merrill Lynch's marketing materials and tailors it to his individual needs.



5. September 05, 2007
Merrill Lynch Leads the Way with Video
I've received many comments from my blog post on financial organizations getting into the content marketing space. One of the better recommendations I received was on Merrill Lynch's content web portal.

The majority of the site is a cross between news-desk commentary and short video diaries. The commentary pieces are simple, yet professional and well done. The content is created in a way that is non-threatening to the user, and explains, in simple terms, what is happening with the market.

The case studies are well-done...something that you might see in a "How did they get here?" piece during the Olympics. Each positions Merrill Lynch as a true partner and adviser that helps these people find their way.

The site also mixes up video with traditional reader content on such topics as retirement, starting a new career, and on being suddenly single.

I am not sure what types of results Merrill is getting from the site, but it is clear that Merrill is positioning themselves more as a "life partner" than a financial institution.

Finally, an often overlooked but extremely important aspect of the site is search engine optimization. By typing in "Starting a Dream Business" into Google, the #1 return was Merrill Lynch, finishing higher than StartupNation and even Very impressive.


Howard J. Sewell
6. Learn to Sell the Offer, Not the Product
(DM News, November 9, 1998)

There's a growing trend in consumer marketing, and high-tech marketers would be wise to take note. An offshoot of the general movement towards "one-to-one marketing," examples can be seen selling high-priced products ranging from sport utility vehicles to fine jewelry. Look beyond the products themselves, and you'll find a strategy that can easily be applied to high-priced, high tech solutions from web servers to enterprise application software.

I call the strategy "Sell the offer, not the product." To illustrate the concept, let's explore two ads by Tiffany and Merrill Lynch.

Advertisement by Merrill Lynch[

Merrill Lynch could litter their ads with five-year performance figures like the rest of the pack, but they know that well-heeled consumers don't base investment decisions on advertising alone. So in a recent ad headlined, "How Are Taxes Affecting Your Investments Today?" they feature a photo of a book called 98 Tax-Planning Ideas for Investors. "Call for our free 77-page book," the ad exclaims, "before making any important decisions about reallocating your investment portfolio."

By placing offer first and product second, Merrill Lynch achieves two things. One, they stand out from the crowd. Two, they attract a much larger pool of potential customers. The company captures not only investors who are currently reallocating their portfolio (and who offer immediate sales potential), but also other, more long term prospects who are at minimum looking for ways to decrease their tax liability.



7. Seek to Build Relationships With Women Investors


Merrill Lynch & Company Inc., based in New York, is finding innovative ways to target women consumers. The company created a women-specific marketing department in 2003. “Studies show that women end up with the money, and we wanted to be sure to give them the power and ability to manage their money,” says Caroline Gundeck, the company’s head of women’s marketing.

The marketing team partners with women’s professional and community groups across the country and ingratiates itself to group members by providing educational seminars and generally making its advisers’ presence known to communities of women. “We take the opportunity to work with local organizations to build partnerships. Our advisers locally attend events and gain presence within their own local communities. This is important because these are people you are going to see on a regular basis,” Gundeck says.

Through these partnerships the group develops relationships with executive-level women and business owners. Further, the company works with women’s business groups to co-sponsor invitation-only weekend spa getaway packages and invitations to cultural events. Events are considered an opportunity to get to know details on the women’s life concerns, which later will be related to financial strategies. “The advisers have the opportunity to build strong relationships over a three- to four-day period, where it’s not about finances but about your life,” Gundeck says.

The company also sponsors a traveling art exhibition called “Women of the World,” which has seen success in New York, Dallas and Boston in 2005; the exhibit will visit Chicago and Los Angeles in 2006. In addition to the publicity Merrill Lynch gets as sole sponsor, the company has used the exhibit as a catalyst for gathering executive-level women together in the cities where the exhibit has been shown.

Understanding how women prioritize can also influence marketing strategy. “(Women) understand when this is not an area of expertise for them. They have priorities like taking care of kids, elder-care concerns or putting dinner on the table, and finances can take a backseat to what they need to do on a day-to-day basis. Because of (these demands) they are more likely to reach out and seek advice,” Gundeck says. Because women reach out for advice and do a lot of research before making a financial decision, they make fewer investment mistakes, make them less often and tend to be more successful in their investments than men, says Gundeck. A study conducted by Merrill Lynch Investment Managers of men and women with household income of at least $75,000 found that women were more likely to have a formal financial plan in place (77% for women vs. 62% of men), were less likely to hold onto a losing investment (35% vs. 47%) and were less likely to buy a hot investment on impulse (13% vs. 24%.)

Translating this knowledge of women’s lifestyle demands and buying habits will lead marketers to better understand their approach to communicating with women. “First meetings (with women) shouldn’t just be about selling them, it should be about learning and showing a willingness to help,” Grossman says. “Men have gotten used to being sold to in a different way. (They) are much more linear thinkers, (whereas) women are circular thinkers. Men are quicker at making a decision, saying ‘I don’t want to think about it anymore.’ Women are information-gatherers; we like to make the right decision,” she says.


8. Merrill Lynch & Co. has launched a national advertising campaign aimed at households with $1 million or more to invest, with actor Steve Martin providing voice-overs. The new campaign signals a departure for Merrill, which in the past had positioned itself as a brokerage firm for the masses.(March 2001)

9. Merrill Advertisments - analysis - use women's characteristics
The feminist method of reading by role reversal is well-suited to an advertising example of perfectly matched Merrill Lynch (ML) print ads from the same issue of the same periodical (THE NEW YORKER, September 15, 1986). The ads take up the same amount of space (one page), feature the same product/service, and use the same title ("Financial Consultant") for the spokesperson. The only difference is that one has a male spokesperson and the other a female. The ad thus permits an unusually clear reading of masculinity and femininity, since the reversal has in effect been performed by the advertiser (see EXHIBIT 2).

Each ad presents a spokesperson, using the individual's own words (in quotation marks), followed by a narrator's comment (last two paragraphs). The ads reveal several underlying assumptions about culturally conditioned male and female norms that result in different readings of Sally versus Jere. To begin, Sally's headline is nearly twice as long as Jere's. She is more talkative and focuses on her clients; he is more laconic and talks about himself. In the headline, Sally emphasizes hard work for her clients, while Jere stresses his reputation among peers. Sally's first copy sentence reiterates her nurturance (she uses the words "feel" and "commitment"), while Jere's echoes his competitiveness (he will not "rest on his laurels," a reference to the winners of Olympic games, and his "goal" is "better service"). Next, Sally says that "we" will sit down and talk, while Jere says that "I" will start by looking at your goals, and then "we'll" find the best way to manage your finances. The narrator says that Sally needs "all of Merrill Lynch behind her," but Jere "has the resources to put his own reputation" ("plus that of ML" as an afterthought) behind his recommendations. The narrator then commands the reader to "put" Sally "to work for you," but asks the reader to put Jere "on your side."

The ads can be read as illustrations of prevailing mid-1980s norms for masculinity and femininity. Traits related to instrumentality, dominance, and assertiveness are believed to be more characteristic of men, and those related to expressiveness, warmth, and concern for other people are believed to be more characteristic of women. Jere's language reveals aggressiveness, competitiveness, and self-confidence; Sally's reveals nurturance, cooperativeness, and reliance on the strength of Merrill Lynch.



Merrill Lynch Retirement Survey Brand Marketing

Home/Practices & Specialties/Brand Marketing/Merrill Lynch Retirement Survey of Burson and Marsteller

Situation Analysis
In a time when retirement is no longer as simple as collecting Social Security, living off pension funds, and kicking back into a leisurely lifestyle—Merrill Lynch recognized an opportunity to position themselves as a thought leader in the retirement planning space. To do so, Burson-Marsteller's Brand and Consumer Marketing Practice and Merrill Lynch undertook a major research study, the Merrill Lynch New Retirement Survey, to fully comprehend how traditional retirement is being reinvented by one of the most influential and prosperous generations in U.S. history--the baby boomers.

The Survey was released in February 2005 and quickly gained recognition by offering a differentiated view of retirement from other popular conceptions in the media. The Survey offered unparalleled insight into the hopes, fears and motivations of the boomer generation, as well as the impending impact on retirement, work, recreation, marriage, family, healthcare, housing, entitlements, and the economy.
Strategy & Implementation

Burson-Marsteller developed an aggressive media relations campaign to promote the Survey findings to target audiences and key influencers and to catapult Merrill Lynch ahead of the competition in regards to retirement planning advice.

The media outreach strategy was a multi-prong approach that focused on (1) securing a cascade of national media coverage that would in turn drive local coverage, (2) positioning a third-party expert (Ken Dychtwald) as a credible source to drive wider consumer appeal around a financial story, (3) localizing the story with market specific results, and (4) driving coverage beyond personal finance media into consumer and vertical trade publications.

On the day of the Survey launch, the Burson-Marsteller team secured an exclusive interview with NPR's Marketplace Morning Report. The interview aired on more than 300 U.S. radio stations and reached more than 7 million listeners. The team also hosted a press briefing event with Ken Dychtwald in Merrill Lynch's NYC office that was attended by national media such as the Wall Street Journal and also influential finance trades such as Registered Rep and Plan Sponsor.

The Survey has generated an overwhelming amount of media coverage with more than 1000 key placements and over 107 million impressions for local and national spokespeople in a wide variety of publications and media outlets. The Merrill Lynch New Retirement Survey not only placed Merrill Lynch squarely in the debate around retirement, but since its launch it has been used continually by mainstream media to lead the debate about how boomers are changing retirement. Thus, it effectively positions Merrill Lynch as a thought leader with clients, prospects, employer plans, and policy makers.

About Burson-Marsteller (they helped ML in PR relating to retirement survey project)

Burson-Marsteller is a leading global public relations and public affairs firm whose knowledge, strategic insights and innovative programs help drive strong corporate and brand reputations for its clients. We provide our clients with strategic thinking and program execution across a complete range of public relations, public affairs, advertising and other communications services. Through our proprietary research, we lead the industry in knowledge of and insights into the relationship between communications and the reputations of companies and their CEOs. These learnings are applied to our many and varied corporate clients.

We concentrate on our clients and the industries in which they operate. Our diverse resources and unrivaled global network enable us to bring insight, innovation, creativity and superior value to every client assignment. Our clients benefit from a wealth of communications resources, state-of-the-art technologies, and award-winning professionals from a broad range of disciplines and backgrounds. Burson-Marsteller has a deep commitment to research, providing client teams with a strong understanding of their clients' industry and environment.

We focus on delivering measurable business results to clients through a full range of consulting and communications disciplines: strategy development, corporate/financial, brand marketing, technology, healthcare, employee relations, media, public affairs, crisis management, advertising, Internet development and integration, and production. Burson-Marsteller companies include Marsteller, Direct Impact, Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB), BKSH & Associates and Communique PR.
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