We are long term Active Managers.

We invest for the long-term.

We take a long-term view.

Asset Managers love telling their long-term investment stories. However, when it comes to advertising, they seem to prefer taking a short-term view. 

At its most extreme, the short-term approach in advertising is what could be viewed as fund sales promotion – supporting sales with the latest product push or top performing fund.

This is why the 95:5 rule from ‘How B2B Brands Grow’ - Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, should be a wakeup call to asset management marketeers and salespeople alike. The 95:5 rule makes the point that 95% of potential buyers aren’t ready to buy today. Which means 95% of fund buyers are not in market when they see the advert.  

That statement alone should have many Asset Managers thinking about the role of their advertising. It should say to Asset Managers that if advertising is only reaching 5% of buyers in market at any given time, the 95% should definitely be focused on the long-term - those potential buyers, whilst currently out of market, will be vital drivers of future cash flow.

And if Asset Managers don’t want to waste 95% of their advertising, it means a clear need for focus on making sure that when future buyers enter the market with intent to buy, their brand is at the forefront of their minds. Because, more often than not, the most memorable brand is the most purchased brand.

Time for a re-think? Talk to us about a more effective approach to your advertising.

Email Darren, one of our Managing Partners: darrenlassiter@arthurlondon.com

Simple summary

Private Equity is thriving – But firms’ brands are undifferentiated – Messaging and content is inward-looking and unengaging - Presents opportunities for firms willing to invest in their brand – Arthur offer free brand consultation

The global Private Equity industry is the real deal. Values, volumes and fundraising have hit record levels. Investor demand is continuing to rise this year, particularly from institutions.

Add to that the sustainability story. Less than a third of global emissions come from publicly-listed assets. P.E. investments are seen as a powerful way to make a positive difference to climate change, as they can create change, quickly.

But with increased demand becomes increased competition – for investors, for companies to invest, and for the talent that will win the right deals and secure funds.

The strength of your brand is key. Supported by a clear positioning and a compelling value proposition. And brought to life by impactful creative, a distinctive tone of voice and engaging messages.

Unfit for purpose

We recently carried out a brand audit for the P.E. sector. Our discoveries raised issues, but also some real and substantial opportunities.
We found that:


The benefits of brand

So there’s plenty to fix. But there’s also an undeniable opportunity for P.E. firms willing to invest in their brand. Because the benefits are compelling:

A powerfully simple solution

At Arthur, we build powerfully simple brands, with a clear point of difference in their sector and a single-minded narrative firmly evidenced across all touchpoints.

We’re offering Private Equity firms a free 30-minute debrief on the health of their brand, including a brand audit, competitor analysis and a bespoke presentation. No fee, no commitment.

To find out more, email our managing partner, Darren Lassiter at
darrenlassiter@arthurlondon.com

Simple summary

Remember COP26 and the Glasgow Climate Pact? Or even Earth Day last Friday? Such is the pace and sheer volume of news we're bombarded with from every corner of the globe, you'd be forgiven for forgetting the finer details of last year's climate change shebang. Or this year’s Earth Day theme (Invest in Our Planet).

Asset management brands certainly won’t let us forget how they’re planning on saving the world. Let’s create a sustainable future now. Responsibility works. Now is the time to power change. Zero-hour. If you believe the advertising (as an ad agency, we’d never suggest otherwise), we’re going to get a cleaner planet faster than you can say ‘triple bottom line’.

But sustainability is serious. Something that will affect the lives of billions of people and not everyone equally. Something that will take decades to achieve. Yet something that’s being delivered (for now) with more words than actions. 

Investors left high and dry

For investors, it matters. Adverse climate change could have a devastating effect on the global economy. We know there’s a huge appetite for funds that have sustainability (sometimes literally) written all over them. But the proliferation of ESG rating formulae and a history of investment greenwashing have left clients confused as to what the new and improved, whiter-than-white investment landscape means for their money and their long-term futures.

Rising energy prices have brought the problem into sharp focus. Apart from being told by energy companies to conserve heat by hugging a pet and performing star jumps, investors are being informed that many companies are thinking of rowing back on their clean energy commitments. Sustainability, for some, is proving too expensive.

Added to that is the lingering suspicion that investing responsibly means compromising on performance. It’s no wonder that polluting (but profitable) investments are often held privately. 

What do EU stand for?

So, what’s the solution? We believe asset managers need to remember their purpose (by that we mean their true reason for existing and why they matter to people). Not their press-friendly purpose of being the sustainable superheroes that will sort the environment at the flick of a switch. But their true purpose of investing (securing and, hopefully increasing) their clients’ money in an expert, considered and responsible manner. And, more often than not, that will mean investing in solid business models that recognise that sustainability is the only way forward. Profits and planet hand-in-hand.    

The EU is trying to help with a new labelling system that identifies industries and services it deems environmentally sustainable. The hope is that asset managers will use it to tell investors, in a consistent way, how much of their investments can be considered green.

What’s interesting is that this isn’t greenwashing. The EU’s system aims to be pragmatic, recognising the longer-term potential of sectors such as nuclear energy to help reduce carbon emissions, as well as transition fuels such as natural gas. But could it go further?

Arguably, getting polluting companies to change their dirty habits is as important to net zero as investing sustainably. And that’s where asset managers can have real influence. It’s also one of the principles of successful investing – owning unfashionable companies, sparking positive change and making them popular again.

So, we say to asset manager brands: remember where your loyalty lies; don’t forget the investment story; be clear and true to your intentions; and recognise that you are an enabler, not the answer, to delivering a better future for everyone.

Post-pandemic, there will be a golden opportunity for active asset managers to assume the role of guardians of the ‘stakeholder capitalist’ economy. But to do this they need to move the conversation away from products, price and performance and engage their audience on a different level.

The domination of passive funds over active in recent years is undeniable. Figures from Calastone indicate that passive funds have seen inflows of £19.7 billion in the last three years, while active funds have seen outflows of over £2 billion[i]. Cost appears to be the leading factor in this changeover. Active funds simply can’t compete on price. This has led investors to move their money.

But we may be at a turning point. December 2020 saw £1.7 billion flow into active funds, representing the best month since July 2017. This sets the stage for a resurgence in 2021, when there is the opportunity for active asset managers to win clients by changing the conversation from cost and engaging their audiences on a different level.

Profit but not profiteering

Trends, such as online shopping and working remotely, have accelerated during the pandemic. The same is true of consumer and investor expectations of the companies they buy from and invest in.

Now, more than ever, customers expect businesses to act ethically and responsibly and put people before profit, with a growing backlash against companies seen as profiteering from the pandemic.

Similarly, investors are increasingly adopting an investment approach based on their values,

despite this often carrying a higher fee. This is shown by the inflows into ESG funds. There’s a growing consensus that companies that act responsibly have a greater likelihood of future success, while those that do not act in the best interests of society and the environment will ultimately fail.

The new style economy

It’s widely acknowledged that society and the economy will look very different post-pandemic. One concept that is driving much discussion is ‘stakeholder capitalism’; the idea that businesses are obligated to act in the best interests of all stakeholders – including consumers, employees, and society – not just shareholders. For asset management, the thinking is that, for the economy to recover and thrive, investment should be focused where it will do the greatest good (and least harm) to the workforce, the community, and the environment.

For this to happen, there must be guardians we trust to make this assessment and direct capital accordingly. This is a role that active asset managers were built to fulfil.

Let’s change the conversation

When companies are judged not only on the hard metrics of their profitability but also on metrics around employee welfare and environmental impact, the strengths of active asset managers come to the fore. This task cannot be completed by algorithms alone; it needs human insight and skills that active managers have spent decades perfecting.

This is an opportunity to change the conversation. Discussions around the cheapest fund are far less relevant. The narrative that matters is the crucial role that active managers play in society, and the influence they have in creating the world we want.

This doesn’t require an operational change for active managers, which already function as guardians of client capital. For many firms, this is detailed at length in the marketing touchpoints that explain investment philosophy and process. But it’s a narrative that just isn’t resonating with investors in a simple, powerful way.

Building your brand on guardianship

Investors who allocate their capital away from passive funds and into active ones are not just choosing a different product but a different perspective. They believe their money can achieve a return and a build a better world.

This is a far greater responsibility to place in a fund manager’s hands. The message that the chosen active manager warrants the role of trusted guardian cannot be communicated just through investment products. It must be conveyed through what you want your brand to stand for in the eyes of your audiences.

Outside of the asset management sector, it’s easy to name companies that connect with their audience through what they stand for rather than just their products, from Patagonia to Ben & Jerry’s. The same thinking must now be applied to inspire investors and drive the resurgence of active management.

The power of your truth

It’s time for active asset managers to look beyond products and performance to find their brand truth: what they stand for and how that reflects the values of investors. Moving from the rational to engage emotions and connect with their audience in a powerfully simple way.

Powerfully simple is what we do at Arthur London. We’d love to help.

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[i] https://www.calastone.com/vaccine-optimism-sees-equity-fund-inflows-surge-to-5-year-high-in-q4/

As investor demand for sustainable products escalates, asset managers have been keen to showcase their ‘green’ credentials. But with ESG investing soon to become the norm, brands will need to find another point of difference: who they really are.

ABS. Not asset-backed securities but anti-lock braking system. When was the last time you saw a car ad that focused on ABS? We’re guessing it’s at least a decade ago. What was once an innovation celebrated by a few car brands is now standard equipment offered by all. (ABS was made compulsory in the UK in 2004.)

One could also mention touchscreen phones, mobile banking and sugar-free fizzy drinks as examples of the exceptional becoming the everyday; of how brands have had to refocus their comms away from undifferentiated product features and back towards their brand purpose, their USP, and how they relate to the needs and lives of their customers.

Sustainable is powerful

So to sustainability. It certainly sells. Despite making up just 16% of the market, products branded as ‘sustainable’ accounted for an eye-popping 55% of US retail market growth between 2015 and 2019[1]. And, in the UK, consumer spending on products promoted as ‘ethical’ has rocketed tenfold over the past two decades[2].

Of course, businesses clocked onto this quickly. After the high-profile 2015 Paris Agreement, more than 69% of UK marketing professionals were instructed to ramp up their ESG credentials[3]. The product didn’t necessarily change. But the marketing did. Today it seems every brand has jumped on the sustainable ‘brandwagon’.

We’re seeing it happen in asset management too. Assets under management in what could be called ESG investing (although, as we’ll see, terminology in the sector is vague and inconsistent) are currently worth £40 trillion[4]. And the trend will only grow, with Morningstar identifying a record 333 sustainable offerings launched to market in 2020 alone.

From side order…

Yet some asset managers still see – and communicate – ESG as an optional extra; just as ABS used to be offered on only a few of a car’s models. Sales presentations try to tick the sustainability box with an ESG slide at the back of the deck. Perhaps more tellingly, many of the world’s biggest asset managers still have a separate section for responsible investing on their websites, instead of weaving it throughout the fabric of their philosophy, process and products. And, as described above, no-one seems to quite know how to describe the investment solutions they offer. Responsible, sustainability, ESG, ethical, impact… take your pick.

Presenting ESG as a side order to go with the main dish is unsustainable (literally), as ESG rapidly becomes the next normal in asset management. By the end of the decade, it will no longer be a differentiator.

To main dish

So investment companies need to inject sustainability into their brand DNA now. But it shouldn’t be their brand. It’s impossible to own, even for the various asset managers who claim to have pioneered it in one form or another. It may be tempting to badge one’s brand as the sustainability superstars. But it’s self-defeating in anything but the short term. You could soon find yourself cut adrift on a sea of green sameness.

Differentiation comes from the business (what it does, how it does it, its philosophy, its people, its history, even its country of origin). When that point of difference is uncovered it can then be applied to responsible investing. How does who you are make your approach to ESG the best?

And it’s good to remember that the principles behind responsible investing held true even before the term was coined. The S and G of ESG are often overlooked – certainly in brand comms – but they’ve been well-known drivers of investment performance for decades. Well-run businesses that have a positive relationship with society have always done well.

Your business has almost certainly been embracing these principles, but perhaps without articulating them. Now is the time. And to do so beyond a section on your website or a slide in your presentations.

ESG starts with YOU

So don’t put the (anti-lock) brakes on your brand through either tokenism or pretending to be something you’re not. Instead, look for the powerfully simple truth at the centre of your business and see how it can enhance responsible investing – rather than being defined by it.

Powerfully simple is what we do at Arthur London. We’d love to help.


[1] Kronthal-Sacco, R., Whelan, T., (July 2020), ‘Sustainable Market Share Index’ (online). Available at: https://www.stern.nyu.edu/experience-stern/about/departments-centers-initiatives/centers-of-research/center-sustainable-business/research/research-initiatives/csb-sustainable-market-share-index

[2] Evans, J., Hodgson, C., (November 2020), ‘Green gold: how sustainability became big business for consumer brands’, Financial Times, (online). Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/ce523ca1-c8c2-43e7-86ad-ffa5d6605d2c

[3] Evans, J., Hodgson, C., (November 2020), ‘Green gold: how sustainability became big business for consumer brands’, Financial Times, (online). Available at https://www.ft.com/content/ce523ca1-c8c2-43e7-86ad-ffa5d6605d2c

[4] Foubert, A., (June 2020), ‘ESG Data Integration by Asset Managers : Targeting Alpha, Fiduciary Duty & Portfolio Risk Analysis’, Opimas, (online). Available at: http://www.opimas.com/research/570/detail/


We have reached a pivotal moment in the growth of ESG investing, brought on in part by the coronavirus pandemic. With capital flooding into this marketplace, it’s crucial for asset managers to stand out from the crowd with distinctive brand positioning.

The case for ESG

Prior to the pandemic, ESG investing was steadily rising in profile, with a growing understanding among investors that financial return and ESG are not opponents, but rather partners.

The pandemic has strengthened this case. Companies built on solid ESG foundations now seem to be best positioned to survive and recover, and ESG indices are outperforming the broad market.

It’s no wonder then that the numbers showing a rapidly increasing demand for ESG investment products:

Concurrently, ESG concerns are fast becoming integral to adviser conversations. A recent study from FE fundinfo found that more than half of advisers have increased the amount of client money they have invested in ESG funds in the past 12 months.

This will no doubt grow when changes to MiFID II, likely to be introduced in 2021, require advisers to incorporate ESG considerations into their suitability requirements.

The challenge for asset managers is differentiation

Clearly, the challenge is not a lack of demand. But this huge – and growing – audience has an overwhelming array of ESG investing options. The risk that asset managers face is getting lost in the crowd and losing the fight for audience attention. On the whole, asset managers are all using the same approach to communicate their ESG product offering. The language and visual style used, as seen here, has a consistency, while the content lacks differentiation. Investors cannot make a choice between products because they do not have a distinct impression of each one.

Another challenge in differentiating your ESG product offering is the absence of industry standard taxonomy. In a survey from Alpha FMC, 88% of UK asset managers called for such taxonomy to be introduced, to allow for easier product comparison. Others have suggested a numerical rating system.

Both are difficult to implement, given the nuances of the landscape. As recently highlighted by Jay Clayton, head of the SEC, giving a score that combines all environmental, social and governance factors is imprecise, and doesn’t facilitate meaningful comparison.

Typical product-led marketing messaging loses its power without numerical ranking, so asset managers must use different tactics to strengthen their proposition.

A brand-led proposition to stand out from the sea of sameness

To address these challenges, an asset manager needs a single-minded brand positioning on ESG. A unique perspective that allows asset managers to create an ownable space in the conversation, and a credible platform that clients can believe in. At Arthur London, we help asset managers find a brand positioning that is true to their business and that sets them apart from others, by identifying their organising idea.

Based on this ownable brand positioning, we help to activate it through disruptive communications that stand out from the sea of sameness. With 10 years’ experience in ESG brand communications, and a profound knowledge of the marketplace, we know how to meet the category conventions while adding an unexpected layer that provokes a response.

We can help you get cut through with your core audience, leaving them with memorable messages. Find your distinct space in the ESG marketplace and make your own rules with Arthur London.

It has been said that brand is often the most powerful asset that asset managers fail to manage.

How you communicate your brand story to customers is absolutely central to driving a market-leading business. So why does it remain such an undervalued part of the sales funnel throughout the sector?

Historically, the asset management sector has been sales-led and product-oriented. Sales is unarguably important, but there has to be more than just a product spec to create a desire to buy. In a heavily regulated sector product quickly becomes commoditised; a disaster for differentiation. And there is now growing evidence that the winners in the asset management sector are those that are fully embracing the power of their brand.

It’s important to dispel the idea that marketing is the colouring-in department, concerned only with pantone colours and typefaces. Certainly, marketing puts out the ads and leads brand design, but it has a more fundamental role in creating a core, compelling brand idea that permeates every aspect of the business.

For all the commoditisation of products, almost all asset managers have a story to tell – if you know where to look. It’s those brand stories that customers want. The organisation that weaves a compelling story through every aspect of their business creates a real point of difference. The brand is so much more than ‘just an ad’ – it should live in everything from PR and digital content to sales collateral, event marketing, thought leadership – and even new product development.

Let’s take Pictet, for example. Their brand is centred around no less lofty an idea than a better future for all. One of their products is the Water Preservation Fund. It’s interesting to customers because it’s current and an issue that won’t go away.

But, behind that compelling idea is a brilliant content hub, talking about the mega trends that are shaping our world as well as the impact they will have on investments. So, the intermediary now has a relevant and topical fund to talk about and, just as importantly, a source of information that gives the fund context – and makes it even more appealing.

Another example comes from Sycomore, which talks about the power of human capital. Having created the ‘Happy at Work’ fund, they invest in companies that put human capital at the heart of what they do. Here again, they give the fund even greater appeal by putting it in the context of a wider social trend through storytelling. The talkability of that product ultimately makes it easier to sell.

Not every asset manager needs to have a water or happiness fund. There are points of differentiation and stories all over the place. But, to tell the stories, the industry as a whole needs to value the contribution of those essential brand stewards - the marketers.

Perhaps the solution lies in adopting the empirical, data-driven measurement of brand value commonly used by large consumer brands. Clearer articulation of objectives and more consistent results tracking would help the wider business understand the contribution of marketing, prove its cost/benefit ratio and reinforce the value of brand as a whole.

Brand moves the conversation away from the rational and towards the emotional component of the sales process. No-one sells Coca-Cola on the basis of caramel colour and a bit of fizz. Coke sells happiness and Christmas. It’s time asset management bought into a bit of that sparkle.

When it comes to explaining the benefits of its products, asset management can learn a lot from other industries. This is particularly true for ESG investing. There is rising demand for responsible investments, but many asset managers’ ESG marketing has been little more than ‘green washing’;
vague and unsubstantiated claims that have led to a lack of understanding and trust. Fortunately, there is an industry close at hand that does things much better – veganism. In this article, we highlight its rising popularity and explore three potential lessons for the marketing of ESG investments.

The rise of veganism

Supermarkets, restaurants and fast food chains are all looking for a slice of the vegan pie. This could be dismissed as ‘just another food trend’ but doing so would arguably ignore the reasons for its rising popularity, such as dietary requirements, nutritional and health benefits, and ethical and environmental impact. It is the concept of sustainable living and understanding how the things we eat affect our environment that makes veganism bigger than just a food fad.

Veganism is part of a growing movement where consumers look for products and services that don’t just meet personal needs, they have a positive impact on the world. You can see the rising interest in this area from twitter conversations, google searches and retail sales.

Marketing ideas

The increasing popularity of a vegan lifestyle has undoubtedly been helped by the way it is marketed. We think there are three key lessons for asset management firms:

1. Counter negative myths with positive facts

Negative stories have suggested that vegan food lacks the necessary protein for a healthy diet. To counteract these messages, there has been lots of content from experts and health gurus, vegan recipes and messages on vegan-food packaging all highlighting that it is high in protein.

Asset managers can use this holistic and always-on approach to marketing to counter any ‘green washing’ perceptions. They can do this by creating a range of communications that engage investors across channels and at every stage of the investor journey. These can show the importance of integrating ESG criteria into an asset manager’s investment process to manage risk more effectively and achieve sustainable returns for their clients.

2. Make people feel like they are having a positive difference

Vegan food hasn’t just gained traction from making people feel happier about eating healthier. It also makes them feel good about the positive impact they are having on the planet.

Asset managers can make investors feel good about ESG investing by focusing on the positive impact their investments have had on the environment and society. They could use case studies to show how asset managers work with companies to make them more sustainable or highlight positive impact reports that quantify how much carbon emissions have been reduced by investor money.

3. Positive messages don’t just come from companies

People trust people more than companies. Influencers have helped to spread the positive message of a vegan diet, which in turn drives demand for vegan food.

Asset managers can use social listening tools to identify influencers and then provide them with investment stories around the positive impact that ESG investing has on communities, the environment and the world we live in, such as plastic reduction or protecting endangered species from palm oil production.

To conclude, there is one broader point that the asset management industry can take from the rise of veganism. Investors clearly care about sustainability and they could have a stronger affinity with companies that integrate it into their brand and product story.


The growth of PropTech is changing real estate investing. Are you prepared for the shift in fund management brand positioning?

Experts have predicted that the global investable real estate universe in 2020 will have grown by 55% compared to 2012. (Source: PWC Real Estate 2020)

With a flood of capital into the sector, and a sea of new competitors, differentiation is crucial for fund managers to maintain a competitive edge.

Real estate fund managers tend to focus their brand positioning on two numbers: their size, and their years of experience. But for real estate investors who have more options than ever, this might not be a strong enough message.

Today’s investors are looking for fund managers at the forefront of real estate technology, or PropTech. Leading the industry in this regard, and communicating this effectively, could be a key differentiation from competitors still focused on size and experience.

There are several areas of opportunity for real estate fund managers looking to incorporate this into their value proposition.

Driving value from real estate with PropTech

From smart meters to solar panels, there is an abundance of technological tools that can make properties more energy-efficient, time-efficient and cost-efficient. Not only can this improve value by keeping costs down, but for now, tenants are willing to pay a premium for these features.

Smart buildings and the data they can collect can help to improve tenant satisfaction (and therefore drive more value) by improving their experience in any number of ways – for example, to learn at what point wear and tear to the property might require repair and offering this pre-emptively. Data can also be used to identifying underused spaces in a property and drive more value from them.

With digital giants like Amazon and Google entering the real estate market, we can assume that this will be an important part of their offering. Asset managers will need to counter this by showcasing their experience in this area.

Adapting to customer use of PropTech

The real estate customer has transformed since becoming equipped with mobile technology, and real estate managers have been quick to adapt. If retail has moved online, less stores and more warehouses are required. With the digital disruption of hospitality, less restaurants and more delivery-only kitchens are needed.

But it would be blinkered to think that this approach is sufficient to anticipate the further changes that are inevitably going to come.

Today’s end customer doesn’t see real estate as a physical space. They see the experience a physical space can facilitate, whether that's community (housing), convenience (retail), flexibility (commercial), or personalisation (hospitality).

So investors too are needing to look beyond the asset itself, and are increasingly becoming involved in operations, where they can offer solutions for growing trends, like telecommuting or co-living.

Properties need to be more versatile, so they can adapt over time to the customer’s changing needs, like community, or to the adoption of new technologies, like autonomous vehicles. And as properties develop shifting functions, real estate managers will likely take on a broader scope of activities.

In terms of messaging, it’s important to convey the spectrum of activities a fund manager can offer its investors, and how experience in one niche can be applied more widely.

Enhancing operations with PropTech

Big data is not just useful to drive value from properties, it has multiple applications within the business. Innovating in terms of ways of collecting and using data to drive investment decision will give real estate fund managers a competitive edge – and help them to stand out to potential investors.

We’re also seeing more real estate asset managers collaborating with technology partners - a notable example being Brookfield’s joint venture with Niido, part of Airbnb. Embracing potential competitors as partners is not just a way to adapt to the change they bring to the market, it’s a positive brand story that demonstrates PropTech prowess.

Another opportunity is with blockchain, which is increasingly seen as a credible solution for faster and cheaper transactions in the real estate industry. Fund managers who are looking to drive forward the use of blockchain can capitalise on this message in their branding.

PropTech in brand proposition

It’s clear then that PropTech offers a dual opportunity to real estate fund managers. On one level, it offers opportunities to drive more value from real estate, understand and satisfy the customer, and streamline business operations. But on another, it’s a compelling brand story that can be leveraged for a competitive edge in a fiercely competitive space.

It’s time to move on from the current dominant messages in asset management branding – size and experience – and communicate the expertise that is more relevant to today’s clients.

To continue to grow, asset management firms must genuinely have the customer’s needs at heart, says Arthur’s Darren Lassiter.

Asset management needs a fresh approach. And with research from Casey Quirk suggesting that a quarter of all asset managers risk becoming unprofitable by 2028, it needs it soon.

The problem is that much of the sector is trying to address new challenges with old solutions. Cost cutting, investment quality and outperforming on benchmarks – these are the tactics the sector has traditionally relied on to boost profits.

But the same research that predicts the widespread drop-off in revenues also reveals that these tactics are becoming increasingly ineffective. In today’s market the customer wants more.

Even with this dire warning front and centre, too few asset managers are looking to the customer for answers. They should. There is concrete proof that those who actively build their offering around customer needs from the ground up deliver consistent and sustainable growth.

Certainly, there is no shortage of firms who use a liberal sprinkling of the word ‘customer’ across their communications. Customer care teams have also, no doubt, been drilled in the importance of a ‘customer-centric’ approach. But, in too many cases, the adoption of a customer-centric approach is all too superficial.

For companies to succeed beyond the predicted nine-year event horizon, they have to truly understand what customer-centricity means - and they need to understand how to make it work.

Customer-centricity starts with the product and what the consumer wants that product to be. The research found that profitable growth firms transformed their product management group into a development function that based product creation on buyer demand. As a result, these firms were open to changes in that demand. They had built a function based on data, personalisation, technology and predictive analytics to help them understand customer need and act rapidly to accommodate it.

These forward-thinking companies engage with technology, but don’t consider it as a solution in itself. They recognise it for what it is – a tool that allows them to move on new ideas quickly, deliver experience seamlessly and bring systems in line to support change and future innovation.

Critically, these new development groups are cross-functional. They break out of the sales or product management silos and bring on board all touchpoints across the business. As the single biggest customer advocate in this process, it is unsurprising that the Marketing function, is proving to be the vital element within these cross-functional teams.

For too long, many asset management firms have used customer-centricity as a buzzword rather than a true corporate goal.  But within their Marketing functions they may already have the expertise to make their claims a reality.

Within Marketing, ‘customer first’ is an organisational state of mind. Their function is the hub of analytics, sales data, customer care, trends impact and even…or maybe particularly… of a new era in product development. Marketing recognises that the company’s existence, survival and growth depends entirely on being able to give customers what they want.

We know that an organisation can only continue to exist only as long as it continues to satisfy the needs of its customers. Now we must ensure that it has a structure that allows it to deliver this, and that Marketing is its driver.

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