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Fidelity and The Green Line Campaign: Staying the Course with One of America's Largest Financial Services Companies

October 18, 2010

By Guest Blogger Courtney Kelso, American Express

As marketers over the past 3 years of the global recession, we've all probably wished for "guidance through the storm", and as brand advertisers, wouldn't it have been nice to have had a friendly green path to help us navigate these uncertain times?  Well, today, Jim Speros (CMO of Fidelity Investments) proposed a sort of "green path" for marketers enduring this daunting economic environment. His main message: Develop one core idea and strategy and consistently integrate it through 360 degrees of communication (it also helps to have a simple, strong visual).  He reminds us that this requires a fair amount of centralized control over the brand and communications.  If the Geico presentation earlier this morning provided permission to integrate across a variety of key themes, Speros' message for a financial brand in the face of a broad financial meltdown was the opposite:  One Big Idea and Stay the Course!

Leveraging learning from Fidelity's current "Green Line" campaign, Speros provided great insight into the key elements of a successful campaign (big idea, focus, consistency, engagement, sufficiency of spend, and continuity) while fighting the cluttered landscape by introducing some pretty innovative communications vehicles (can you say "cartoon-vertorial?" Ever hear of "Station Domination?" what about a digital "Knock Down" unit?) Fidelity also innovated their ideation process by involving their media partners as sounding boards before the release of the campaign, and launching first with their 37,000 employees.

Speros provided key takeaways from his experience launching this successful initiative:

  1. Advertising during a downturn pays off
  2. Powerful, relevant ideas matter more than ever before
  3. Engage your employees and treat them as an extension of your camp
  4. Involve your media partners in the ideation process
  5. Leverage all channels of communication and integrate around them
  6. Embrace innovation and take risks (which he likened to "jumping off a cliff and building a parachute on the way down")
  7. Consumer insights and measurement are critical
  8. Treat agency as a partner not a vendor, and drive collaboration
  9. Stay the Course! (a brand will grow tired of their campaign much sooner than consumers will)
  10. Marketing is only part of a larger supply chain that extends to consumers

There is surely something to Speros' advice as the campaign has proven quite successful for Fidelity, and has helped drive large lifts in key brand metrics (like preference, trust and confidence) and significant impact to Net Promoter Score (lifts of 46 points among high value customers).

Speros closed the session by encouraging all of us when thinking through our communications strategies to ask ourselves if we really have a big idea or are we just promoting low level features and benefits. All in all, a great session, and a reminder that a commitment to simplicity, consistency, and one big idea can help marketers navigate tough and uncertain times.

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