Monday, September 17, 2007

Mutual Fund - Branding - 1

SBI Mutual Fund leads Nielsen's Brand Equity Index
Tuesday - Aug 07, 2007 Correspondent
SBI Mutual Fund leads Nielsen's Brand Equity Index in the 2007 Winning Brands Mutual Fund, a study that tracks the brand performance of various mutual fund houses. The Nielsen Winning Brands Mutual Fund study, in its third year, polled 1,662 Indian consumers via face-to-face interviews across 10 cities in India.

As the findings reveal, Reliance Mutual Fund has emerged as a runner up with the fastest growth, almost doubling its index score from the previous year, and jumping from fifth to the second position in 2007.

Last year's runner up, ICICI Prudential, slipped to the number three position, albeit very close behind Reliance. It's worth noting that this year saw the absolute indices of some of the dominant brands like SBI, Prudential, UTI and HDFC appear much lower than in the previous year.

"The larger brands have shown a dip in their equity strength, while share of mind of some of the smaller brands have actually gone up at the expense of the bigger brands - clearly investors are contemplating more brand options than before," says Nipa Parekh, at Financial Services Research, The Nielsen Company, India.

On average, consumers' awareness of the investment related brands went up from 12.9 brands last year to 18.5 brands in 2007, showing a significant increase. However, the average number of brands in a consumer's consideration set went up slightly from 2.76 to 3.4, which implies a strong need to build brand consideration. This is even more important as Indian consumers are increasingly investing their discretionary money into stocks and mutual funds, according to a global consumer confidence and opinion survey conducted at the end of April 2007.

"Sustaining a strong media presence is a prerequisite for mutual funds, given the plethora of brands the consumer is aware of. However the task does not end there - it is important to be a part of consumers' limited but slowly increasing consideration set by focusing on ground level activities that can give consumers more knowledge and reasons to choose the brand," says Parekh.

India's mutual fund industry is surging ahead, as a growing number of retail investors, lapping up the fund offerings, are finding it a safe and relatively high-return investment vehicle. Tax benefits, however, seems to be the most important trigger for investing in a mutual fund, a probable entry point for many.

The key drivers for Brand Equity continue to be awareness followed by consideration in the category in general. Quality of awareness also appears to be the single largest driver. Having considered a brand, the last mile to securing the sale is likely to depend on the confidence of the agent, based on basic product characteristics of the mutual fund such as returns and services, while the trust and reputation of a brand should not be overlooked it appears to be more of a hygiene factor
Mutual Fund Branding and the Total Customer Experience
by Nanette Cuccia
"Every contact that customers have with your organization impacts their image of your brand"
The Total Customer Experience includes every contact that a customer has with your organization across all channels of communication, including the call center, internet, sales and marketing. Each contact impacts the image that the customer forms of your brand and company, i.e. dialogue with salespeople, access of account information via the automated attendant, collection of tax data from customer service reps, use of the web site to gather fund pricing information, viewing of print and tv advertising and receipt of marketing communications.


Creating a brand identity is the process of differentiating a product/company in the minds of its customers. It is difficult to achieve sustained mutual fund product differentiation on the basis of investment performance, objective or distribution. Therefore, brand differentiation must extend to other elements of the product/service bundle that the customer values – including services offered, quality of service, and the relationship and trust between the company and its customers. Many fund companies have attempted to attach trust and confidence in the fund company to the brand identity. In addition to feeling that they can trust the company to invest their money, the customers want confirmation that they can trust the company to act in their best interest and to satisfy their related product/servicing needs.

With investment products, customer needs go beyond investment objective and investment performance, which are base necessities. Few other products are associated with as much ongoing service. An integral part of the product purchase is ongoing service for account access, statement access, redemptions, exchanges, and tax information. There is also a continual need for information including pricing, market/economic news, and investment data. Customers place a value on all of these needs, in addition to investment performance.

Brand image is the linking of favorable associations to the brand in customer memory. The mutual fund customer is buying investment objective and performance. If performance consistently falls well below the objective average, customer expectations will not be met and the customer will not have a favorable brand image. There are other elements besides performance that affect brand image, such as the way that customer needs are handled and problems are resolved. If they are handled quickly and efficiently, whether through self-help or assisted-help, it leads to a positive reinforcement of brand image. Some factors that will lead to a positive brand image include: web sites with high usability, salespeople with access to all customer data, customer service reps with access to cross-channel customer data, accurate interactive voice response, consistency of messages across channels of communication, consistent recognition and treatment of customer across channels.

Brand loyalty is the attachment of a high value to the brand so that the customer will reject competitor overtures. Customers will offer their trust and loyalty as long as their brand expectations are met - the brand behaves a certain way, and offers a certain value. Achieving a minimum level of performance is a necessity for brand loyalty. Loyalty is further sealed by the value that a customer attributes to the entire product/service bundle. In addition, customers will become dependent on a trusting relationship that is built between them and the company. Lastly, loyalty/retention programs will increase brand loyalty.

Elements of the Total Customer Experience

The Total Customer Experience includes every contact and interaction that the customer has with the company. It is formed by four elements:
1. Technology choices that a company makes
2. Services offered and problem resolution
3. Relationship building/retention programs implemented
4. Measurements used
Technology is the tool that facilitates customer interactions. It dictates the information that will be made available to the company reps with whom a customer interacts, the speed and efficiency of customer interactions and the integration of service across media. Each of these are factors in brand identity, brand image and brand loyalty. Because of the high cost of technology, failure to get technology right the first time can have devastating, irreversible financial and brand loyalty consequences. Most companies are currently in the process of implementing CRM technologies, which involve a large investment to meet high expectations. It is difficult and expensive to implement successfully. Success involves more than buying and installing software. It also involves understanding the needs of your customer, and responding to their needs.

Services offered, quality of service, and problem resolution are becoming more important as brand differentiators and brand loyalty drivers. According to TARP, a customer research company that has conducted studies for the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, problem resolution on the first contact achieved 10% higher satisfaction and loyalty than resolution via multiple contacts. In fact, customers who have problems and are satisfied are up to 8% more loyal than if they had no problem at all. Employee empowerment and training is a key to problem resolution and service quality. The telephone has remained the dominant service communication channel - when the going gets tough, customers get on the phone. Yet the internet has increased the importance of self service, and many mutual fund companies are attempting to migrate service to self-help. Customers are expecting the ability to resolve their needs by the media of their choice.

It has been found that developing personalized relationships with customers based on their needs is an excellent way to develop brand loyalty. Provide customers with personalization and choice such as personalization of the web page and email content, customized value-added services, and choice of document delivery channel. Reward loyalty by use of affinity programs and retention programs. Make it easy for customers to conduct business by providing customer data across channels to all company representatives. Many mutual fund companies are increasing their collection of advisor and shareholder customer data and some are attempting to identify potential advisor and shareholder defectors.

Measurement of customer needs and expectations is a key to providing your customers with the products and services that they place a high value on, which in turn leads to favorable brand image and increased brand loyalty. Web feedback is important to ensuring that your website is meeting customer needs. Measuring your CRM and other technology efforts with quantitative measurements such as return on investment helps to justify your technology expenditures, which facilitate your customer interactions.

January 9, 2001

Building Lasting Relationships With Distributors
by Nanette Cuccia

In this era of hypercompetition, marketers are forced to be concerned about customer retention and loyalty. Loyalty can be increased by developing a learning relationship through which you understand your customers’ needs and expectations, and offer support and value-added services that address those needs. When the relationship involves a mutual investment of time, or money, it will increase the buyers dependence on your product/service mix. Adding value-added support and services to your product bundle also keep the customer from viewing your product as a commodity. Research on relationship maintenance points to two critical aspects that facilitate a successful relationship - extended interaction and active listening. These strengthen trust and knowledge of each other’s competencies, goals, and expectations.

Relationship marketing is the process of building a collaborative relationship with one or many of a company’s customers, including end consumers - retail or institutional, and channel members such as distributors. A decision must be made on which type of customer to direct relationship marketing efforts toward. Few companies will have resources for all. Once a company has gained experience and achieved successful results, it can expand to include other customers.

End-Users and Channel Conflict

If end-users refuse to purchase your product, or if existing customers do not stay loyal to your product, you have got a problem. Without the end-user there are no sales. Completely ignoring the end-user can be a serious error, particularly now that end-users are expecting to interact with their vendors. Yet, there are channel barriers that get in the way of building relationships with end-users - the serious threat of alienating distributors can be disastrous. Channel conflict is when a channel member perceives another channel member to be engaged in behavior that impedes it from achieving its goals. In the digital age it can be further described as how sellers’ interaction with end-users via the Internet affects relationships with intermediaries. But it is possible to interact with end-users while respecting the interests of the distributor, collaboratively managing the relationship with the end-user.

To avoid channel conflict, E-commerce should support the distribution network, rather than displace it. Information can be provided to, and collected on, end-users without selling directly to them. Channel partners will closely watch everything a company does on its website, and express concern over it, interpreting it as a move to minimize their role with the customer. Communication is the key to any relationship. Online strategies should be communicated honestly and openly with channel partners. Point out how the online efforts can help rather than hurt distributors. This will assist in building trust and cooperation between the firms.

Relationship Building Programs For Distributors

Developing closer relationships with distributors is a logical way to create more loyal distributors and earn higher margins. When developing relationships with distributors, an attempt should be made to determine their business needs - which typically revolve around efficiency, profitability, adding value to their customers or improving their competitiveness. An ongoing dialogue is critical. You can then react by expanding your product/service bundle to address these needs. There are circumstances where the customer may not be completely up-front with those individuals with whom there is an ongoing relationship. It is often more effective for an independent third party to determine the areas of problems and needs by in-depth personal interviewing. Focus groups are useful for bringing customers together for brainstorming sessions in developing new service approaches.

Consumer handling initiatives deal with productivity of product purchase and payment, deliverables, customer inquiries, and account access. They will increase a distributor’s efficiency and lower their costs. For example, electronic order processing will reduce costs, and a website which answers most frequently asked questions can ease the distributors’ servicing burden. Customer information archived by the seller can be made available to intermediaries, including questions, complaints and comments, which will help them better understand the customer.

Customer business development is another value-added strategy. Providing advice and resources to help distributors build business across markets is very useful. Examples include providing customized marketing materials, or helping them target specific market segments. Customer data collected by the vendor can be shared with distributors to help them prospect new customers with high potential. Marketing and sales training is an additional value-added service.

Sales force efficiency is a powerful tool in relationship building. Technology today allows excellent sales force management by linking the various departments in your organization with whom distributors’ interact. Having appropriate information instantly available to all team members will improve service - distributors’ interactions with your firm will be quicker and more efficient. This solution has the added benefit of greatly enhancing the efficiency of your own employees.

Management of the relationship building program should involve both parties because interactivity will help to forge the relationship. Communication is extremely important as it will foster trust. Involving the customer in planning can ensure support in plan implementation. Stating objectives and periodic evaluation of goals and results will help to safeguard against failure.

Key Account Management

Once you have decided to conduct relationship management with your distributors, you must decide whether to treat all intermediaries equal, or provide special services for your largest, most important customers. Your largest customers likely bring in the majority of sales, yield the most power and have the most sophisticated information technology systems. Key account management involves a special sales force to provide special treatment to top clients. This is relationship marketing for large clients - collaborative efforts to provide specialized service and support not available to other customers. Often this involves extending the relationship beyond the salesperson to a team of functional experts. It is more cost-effective to invest in customer-specific strategies, like customization and collaboration, when the customers are big. You must determine the level of service to provide, level of investment, and amount of customization.

January 1, 2000

Fund Companies Are Developing Stronger Customer Relationships
by Nanette Cuccia
"One method that fund companies have used to build stronger relationships with intermediaries is to provide targeted information by customizing websites"
In order to increase customer retention, many companies are striving to build stronger relationships with their customers, whether their customers are businesses or consumers. They are doing this by understanding and responding to customer needs, treating customers as individuals and customizing their interactions with the company, making it easy to conduct business, and providing choice.

How closely tied are customer relationships to retention? There is a study, conducted by Peppers & Rogers Group and Roper Starch Worldwide, which analyzed this from the retail investor’s point of view. It found that when investors believe that a financial institution understands and anticipates their needs, and tailors products and services to their needs, they are significantly less likely to switch to another financial institution, and much more likely to purchase more products with the institution.

Wholesale fund companies have been struggling to develop stronger relationships with intermediaries, while direct fund companies are attempting to do the same with their shareholder customers.


One method that fund companies have used to build stronger relationships with intermediaries is to provide targeted information by customizing websites for intermediaries. This is being done by customizing the password-protected intermediary area of the fund web site, customizing intermediary intranets, or creating portals.

Some companies have created co-branded web pages, or microweb sites, on advisors’ intranet networks. Franklin Templeton has co-branded such pages on intermediary-owned websites, and customized the content to the intermediary. They are hoping to do this at large regional brokers and wirehouses, but it is difficult because wirehouses monitor all communications that reach the desks of selling reps, and they restrict content of intranets to enforce strict compliance guidelines. Maintaining individual microsites is costly, but allows targeted information to reach financial intermediaries.

The leading industry transfer agents have created intermediary internet portals that provide mutual fund information, transactional capabilities, and fund account aggregation to individual reps. DST’s Vision portal provides access to prospectuses and annual reports and will enable advisors to customize portfolios and store them as a group. PFPC has partnered with NSCC, Franklin Templeton, Fidelity and Putnam in an intermediary portal. Account aggregation and advice modules are planned for high-net worth individuals. Both portals are probably headed toward including aggregation of Variable Annuities, stocks, bonds and managed accounts.

Another method of creating deeper relationships with intermediaries is the use of data mining. Dreyfus has recently begun to help intermediaries identify prospective shareholders in their local geographic area. They analyze local demographics to determine appropriate investment strategies and clone top clients.

A study of more than 1,400 independent financial intermediaries, conducted by Creating Equity Group, found that more than 77% of those surveyed wanted relationships that will help them build their practice and raise their income. In particular, they wanted technical support, marketing assistance and practice management strategy. Companies such as Fidelity, Van Kampen, MFS and Dreyfus are developing deeper relationships with advisors by providing intermediary education, which allows them to go beyond marketing pitches. Van Kampen created the VK Institute which offers practice management seminars. Fidelity has an intermediary strategy center, called Practice Mark, which offers similar services. A continuing education program for advisors is part of the Dreyfus Partnership Program, which has offline and online elements.


To develop deeper relationships with shareholders, direct-sold funds must respond to their needs, which typically revolve around making investing easier, and saving time and effort. A major response of direct-sold fund companies to shareholder needs has been the offering of account aggregation services, which are offered by Vanguard, Fidelity and T. Rowe Price. They allow one password access to all accounts. Yodlee is a service often used to power account aggregation. Now considered basic, companies are taking aggregation to the next level by tying in multi-goal financial planning tools across all accounts. Vanguard allows investors to transfer funds between any financial institution within their aggregated account.

Another way that direct-sold funds are meeting customer needs is by customizing performance in investor statements. Performance customization allows investors to view performance from the exact dates that they purchased shares, and allows comparison to benchmarks. Fidelity, Janus and Berger all offer customized performance reporting. In addition, fund firms are allowing shareholders to view and print statements online, and retrieve holdings and performance information that integrates account aggregation.

Typically shareholders will be provided with the choice of receiving statements by standard mail or email. Not only does this allow the investor to customize the way they do business with the fund company, but it also generates a huge saving in printing and mailing costs. Allowing online opening of accounts with the use of E-signatures also makes the shareholder’s investment experience easier. This too, has the added benefit of tremendous cost savings by eliminating much of the paperwork necessary to process account applications.

Some wholesale fund companies are attempting to learn more about their shareholders. They are allowing shareholders to complete transactions on their websites. This is typically done with the permission of the intermediary, and the intermediary of record is paid for the transaction. It enables the fund company to identify and collect information on their shareholders, which is useful for offering value-added services to intermediaries, and for product and service development. It also helps to ease the servicing burden of intermediaries.

September 1, 2001

Brand Name Value among Mutual Funds
Does a brand name entice you to pick a fund? Mutual fund companies think so. As investors continue to dump record-breaking bucket-loads of money into mutual funds, some firms are opting for snappier brand names in the hopes of luring cash to their coffers.
Branding is one of the major topics within the mutual fund industry these days. Life is hard for the new kid on the block that must compete with such household names as Fidelity and Vanguard, but it's also getting tougher for established funds whose brands vanish after a merger with another company.

Financial Research Corp. of Boston devoted its entire February 1998 industry report to the subject. "Fund companies face the challenge of distinguishing themselves among many competitors that appear similar" to the investor, the report says. "Fund companies have to consider what drives the consumer, what makes him or her feel good, and what are the attributes of a fund that the consumer really values."

Funds are undoubtedly stepping up their efforts to get their brands in the forefront of an investor's mind. In the first quarter of 1998, mutual fund companies increased advertising spending by about 25% to $193 million, compared with the previous year's first quarter, according to New York-based Competitrack. Roth IRA advertising represents only a fraction of the increase.
Some mutual fund firms are giving themselves fresh starts with revamped names. New England Investment Co. decided after 67 years in the mutual fund business that its name sounded too regional, and might repel any prospective investors outside the New England area. So, it changed its company name to Nvest.

New England isn't the first to think a regional name might put off potential investors. Four years ago, the Southeastern fund family decided that it might convince more investors to place their money in its funds if it changed its name to Longleaf. Unlike Nvest's fund family, Southeastern's name change filtered through to its individual mutual funds.

It seems to have worked. For instance, the fund currently called Longleaf Partners had taken seven years to surpass $500 million in assets. After the name change, the fund's assets doubled within nine months to $1 billion, and three years later is still growing steady at $3.4 billion. Of course, the performance of the Longleaf funds and the competency of the managers has likely had more of an impact on the asset growth than the fund's name change--we hope.

In contrast, the family of CT&T Funds was recently renamed the Alleghany Funds. The fund family didn't have much choice about the matter; the original CT&T name stood for Chicago Trust & Title, which was spun off from the parent company, Alleghany, in March. Recognizing the same regionalization fears as New England, the nearly five-year-old mutual funds under Alleghany's umbrella--Chicago Trust and Montag & Caldwell--have kept their own names, since they belong to money management firms that have existed for decades, and are more widely recognized by brokers and financial advisers who sell those funds.
Some regional locations are beneficial to a fund. And yet, at least in one instance, the group is more concerned about where it lands in the alphabetical newspaper listings of mutual funds.

Interactive Investments, which invests in high-tech stocks, has located its managers near the heart of California's Silicon Valley. The firm's original fund, Technology Value, has been a success, in terms of performance. The fund was not marketed with the firm's formal Interactive Investments name, however. When Interactive Investments came out with two more funds--one of which invests in biotechnology, not technology--the firm negated a possible branding switch to, say, the Silicon Valley Funds. Instead, it has opted for Firsthand Funds. It's less of a mouthful for prospective investors, and it denotes the managers' previous work experience in the fields in which they now invest. Best of all, as the firm's partner in charge of marketing says, the new name will position the three funds just after Fidelity in newspaper listings.
Other fund families are fresh off of acquisition sprees and battling with ultralong names. Take Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. and its subsidiaries, Van Kampen American Capital and Miller Anderson Sherrerd's MAS funds. The latter has a relatively low-key brand name, while Van Kampen built its brand with currently unfashionable fixed-income investments.

But now that they're under one umbrella, and managers are starting to cross-manage funds, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter has decided to follow Gap's model for separate branding of its Gap and Old Navy blue jeans. All of the funds will soon split into two distinct fund family names. A portfolio will be managed by the same people, but the funds investing in that portfolio will have different labels on them for the different sales channels. Like the higher-end Gap jeans that are sold in The Gap's fancy mall stores, any mutual fund sold by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's own sales representatives will be called Morgan Stanley Dean Witter funds. But, like Old Navy's warehouse feel, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's funds sold directly to individuals, or through outside brokers or financial advisers, will have a different, yet-to-be-determined name, according to Van Kampen American Capital's president and chief executive officer, Philip Duff.

American Century is also grappling with ultralong mutual fund names. Soon after Twentieth Century's 1996 acquisition of Benham Group, the two firms decided to rename the overall fund company American Century Investments, and keep the funds' original brands tacked on the funds. Sure, that may have bumped American Century up to the top of the newspaper listings, but the move spawned fund names like American Century-20th Century New Opportunities, and American Century-Benham Short Term Government. They've become so long and tedious that the firm may dump all of the brands for a single new one.
We've all experienced brand name changes. Some work; some don't. Kentucky Fried Chicken, for example, decided fried food was so passé in the health-conscious 1990s that it successfully changed its brand to KFC. But you can still get fried food there, of course.

And after a horrendous plane crash, ValuJet bought AirTran Airways and assumed AirTran's name. Perhaps it learned a lesson from PanAm, which, after its own bankruptcy bout following the disastrous Flight 103 crash over Lockerbie, Scotland, decided to resurface using the same brand name. PanAm eventually failed again.
Of course, it's important for fried-chicken eaters and airplane travelers to look beyond a label. But it's even more important for mutual fund investors searching out a fund; they should instead concentrate on a particular investment style, the skills of a fund manager, and low fees.

Besides, no multimillion-dollar brand-awareness campaign will ever cover up pitiful performance by a horrible manager, or erase age-old brands, like Steadman, from our memory.

1. What are some of the factors that might determine the brand name value of a fund family (such as Fidelity or Vanguard)?
2. Can individual funds (such as the Magellan fund) have different brand name values than the fund family that they belong to (such as Fidelity)? If so, why?
3. Why might a potential acquirer of a fund family pay a premium over the market price, assuming that the fund family is publicly traded?

=----------------------------------------------------------- Launches First Branding Campaign, New Mutual Fund Ads Spread The Gospel of Open Disclosure
Business Wire, July 5, 2000
Business and Technology Editors
SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 5, 2000, the web-centric investment firm and online investment discussion community, today unveiled its first television and print brand advertising campaign.
Entitled "Pledge," the campaign targets mutual fund investors and stock market enthusiasts with a humorous, patriotic-themed message that says that knowing what their mutual fund managers are doing with their money is not just a privilege - it's their right.
Created by San Francisco-based advertising firm Butler, Shine & Stern, the advertisements use a slightly edited version of the "Pledge of Allegiance" that enhances the traditional, beloved rights of Americans - "liberty" and "justice" - with another new feature of the American financial landscape: "...a transparent mutual fund where trades are posted real time on the Internet, and whose fund managers actually let you see what in God's name they are doing with your money, for all." The new Pledge is delivered phrase-by-phrase by a dozen different American citizens in a variety of environments as a whistled version of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" plays in the background. Both the print and the television versions include's brand tagline, "Investing Out Loud," which represents the attitude of OpenFund (OPENX), the revolutionary first "interactive" mutual fund advised by the firm, and's innovative online investor community.
"This is what we call the `information age,' and yet most investors have only outdated, twice-yearly, U.S.-mailed reports to inform them about the portfolio holdings and strategy of their funds," said Donald Luskin, president, CEO and co-founder of "It is time for the mutual fund to evolve. Our goal with these ads is to make investors more aware of what they and their financial advisors are being denied by the portfolio managers of most funds -- as one of the voices in our commercial puts it, `What in God's name they're doing with your money.'"'s television commercials will air throughout the second and third quarters of 2000 on CNBC and other financial cable channels, while the print campaign will appear in financial publications such as Barron's and Mutual Funds magazine, among others.
About Butler, Shine & Stern
Butler, Shine & Stern, a full service advertising agency with billings of $92 million, works with the following clients:, Burst, ComedyWorld, Midway Home Entertainment,, Millers Outpost, Noahs Bagels, Vitessa, and The agency, based in Sausalito, California was founded seven years ago by John Butler, Mike Shine and Greg Stern. The agency has been recognized internationally for its strategic and creative excellence in its work for a diverse group of blue chip clients.
Founded in 1999, is using the Internet to revolutionize mutual fund investing and foster a unique online discussion community for sophisticated individual investors. Its flagship managed investment product is the no-load OpenFund (OPENX), the first "interactive mutual fund," which is the only mutual fund where investors and interested visitors can observe the fund's holdings updated in real time. Visitors to the site of MetaMarkets Investments LLC, Open Fund's adviser (at, see trades updated in real time and can engage in thoughtful discussions about investing and trends driving the New Economy with each other, with OpenFund's management team, and with members of the MetaMarkets Think Tank, a group of provocative technology, media, and business visionaries. This year, was named one of Fortune Magazine's "2000 Cool Companies" and was one of five financial web sites nominated for a Webby Award., Inc. is located in South San Francisco, California, and on the World Wide Web at OpenFund is a mutual fund registered with the SEC under the Investment Company Act of 1940. Its investment adviser is MetaMarkets Investments LLC., MetaMarkets, and OpenFund are trademarks of, Inc. "Interactive mutual fund" is a service mark of, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Business Wire
COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

Bibliography for " Launches First Branding Campaign, New Mutual Fund Ads Spread The Gospel of Open Disclosure"
" Launches First Branding Campaign, New Mutual Fund Ads Spread The Gospel of Open Disclosure". Business Wire. July 5, 2000. 17 Sep. 2007.
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July 11, 2007 Printer Friendly Version

Manulife Investments announces brand strategy
for its lineup of mutual funds

Toronto - Manulife Investments announced today that it is integrating its brand strategy to more effectively leverage the Manulife name for its mutual fund product lineup.

As part of this brand integration strategy, the names of the Elliott & Page and MIX families of mutual funds will be retired. Manulife Simplicity Portfolios remain unchanged.

“To better align our brands, Manulife Mutual Funds, a subsidiary of Elliott & Page Limited, will leverage the Manulife name more consistently across our mutual fund product platform,” said Doug Conick, Vice President of Investment Funds for Manulife Investments. “Manulife enjoys an outstanding reputation, both here in Canada and around the globe, as a leader within the financial services industry. We believe that by bringing the Manulife name to the forefront within our fund families, both advisors and investors will more easily recognize and identify with the high-quality products that we offer.”

Elliott & Page Funds will change to Manulife Funds and MIX Funds will change to Manulife Corporate Class. This brand strategy simplifies our mutual fund brands and builds on Manulife’s very strong brand equity in Canada.

“The Elliott & Page brand enjoys a long history within Canada's mutual fund marketplace. While the decision to retire this brand has been a difficult one, we believe that bringing the Manulife name to the forefront will serve to improve awareness and recognition of our high-quality suite of mutual fund products,” added Mr. Conick.

“With the MIX family of corporate class funds, the decision to rebrand was easier due to its shorter tenure in the marketplace. Also, by rebranding MIX Funds to Manulife Corporate Class, it allows our business partners to clearly differentiate between the two families and the value added benefits that they provide.”

The transition is expected to take place on or about August 24, 2007. It is important to note that this rebranding strategy will in no way affect the mandates of the underlying investment funds. These changes will also have no impact on client service, advisor operations, existing policies or existing relationships with Manulife Mutual Funds’ sub-advisors.

About Manulife Investments
Manulife Investments is the brand name describing certain Canadian subsidiaries and operating divisions of Manulife Financial Corporation that offer personal wealth management products and services in Canada. As one of Canada’s leading integrated financial services providers, Manulife Investments offers a variety of products and services including segregated funds, mutual funds, annuities and guaranteed investment contracts.

About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$426 billion (US$370 billion) as at March 31, 2007.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at
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Media contact:
Tom Nunn
Manulife Financial

Fidelity turns to ex-Beatle to lure boomers
September 2005

Fidelity Investments, struggling to convince aging baby boomers that it's the place to park their money, has turned to an icon of that generation to help market its mutual funds: Sir Paul McCartney.

The 63-year-old former Beatle is the first big celebrity endorser for the staid Boston mutual fund giant.

McCartney makes his debut tonight in a 30-second television commercial on ABC during the NFL football game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders. It is the first time he has ever given personal footage to an ad campaign.

The advertisement, titled ''This is Paul," chronicles the music legend's life, from his days as a quarryman to Beatlemania to fatherhood, and finally, knighthood.

With his' ''Band on the Run" as the musical backdrop, the commercial ends with a voiceover (not McCartney's) and the only mention of Fidelity: ''The key is never stop doing what you love. Call us today. We'll help you plan for the next part of your life. Fidelity Investments. Smart move."
Arnold Worldwide of Boston created the television spot and other print advertisements that will start running next week in publications like The New Yorker and Money magazine. Fidelity, which is also cosponsoring McCartney's new music tour, would not disclose how much it is paying him for the campaign, but marketers said it is likely in the millions.

Before snagging McCartney, Fidelity's biggest celebrity endorsers were comedians Lily Tomlin and Don Rickles in the late 1990s. But they only appeared in advertisements with former Fidelity star fund manager Peter Lynch, who oversaw the Fidelity Magellan fund.

''I'm really pleased to be working with Fidelity Investments," McCartney said in a statement. ''We have a lot in common -- a commitment to helping people, a dedication to the arts, and a belief that you should never stop doing what you love doing."

McCartney was busy preparing for his upcoming tour in Miami, his publicist said, and could not be reached for further comment yesterday.

As part of the deal, Fidelity has also agreed to create a charity to raise funds to benefit school music education programs and will offer an exclusive McCartney CD for Fidelity clients.
''We're reaching a whole new level pairing Fidelity Investments and Sir Paul McCartney," said Claire Huang, executive vice president of marketing for Fidelity.
Marketers and mutual fund analysts say scoring McCartney as a pitchman is a huge feat for Fidelity, which has launched a major push to appeal to the tens of millions of baby boomers expected to retire over the next decade. Last year, the company rolled out Fidelity Retirement Advantage, a series of planning and money-management tools, accounts, and investment services aimed at helping retirees make their savings last through their golden years and more efficiently spend their savings from various retirement vehicles.

Fidelity's attempt to make inroads with this demographic has been slow, said Geoff Bobroff, president of Bobroff Consulting Inc., an East Greenwich, R.I. mutual fund industry consultant. But snagging a star like McCartney, Bobroff said, could help Fidelity further penetrate this market.
''He's an icon that the boomer generation can associate with and identify with," Bobroff said.

Burt Greenwald of BJ Greenwald Associates, a Philadelphia mutual fund consulting firm, said Magellan's mediocre performance has had a significant impact on Fidelity clients and the company could use someone like McCartney to help it emerge as the leading financial adviser for people entering their retirement years.

Moreover, McCartney is not just a boomer star, but someone who transcends multiple generations, said Boston University assistant marketing professor Frederic Brunel.
According to him even younger customers are not alienated by using McCartney. “If you're 35 or 55, you still like Paul McCartney," Brunel said.


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