Alliance Trust – Finding Your Comfort Zone

One of the oldest names in Financial Services, Alliance Trust, has a very compelling investment story to tell. But traditionally they have struggled to communicate their proposition simply and memorably. While their powerful heritage is starting to make the brand feel dated, belying their current cutting-edge investment approach.

So, how do you take a brand with that much history and make it feel modern and exciting for new, younger investors?

First and foremost with a project of this scale, we wanted a complete understanding of where the brand was. We worked closely with Flood and Partners, a research agency we use frequently, who consistently give us the combination of human insight and data that make brand strategy that much easier and better. Their research gave us a very clear understanding of where the brand currently stood in the minds of potential investors. And what their overall view of the market was. We also spoke to the key people in the business and reviewed all existing research. Interestingly, one of the most enlightening exercises was attending the AGM and speaking to shareholders, most of whom were very long- term holders.

From all this a picture emerged of how we could connect the business and its investment proposition more meaningfully with potential investors. The ‘eureka’ moment was realising that it was far too easy to fall into the trap of getting into the detail of the investment proposition. It is highly complicated and nuanced but actually the end investor doesn’t really need to think about that. It is there to give them what the research told us they really wanted – a moderate return for a moderate risk – without having to worry. And what we found was that this was true to some degree for all investors, be they extremely knowledgeable, experienced investors or novices. It transpired that everyone wants a portion of their investments to do a job without the investor having to worry about it.

Creatively this was no easy challenge. Essentially the brief was to take something very complicated and technical, convince people and express the benefit in very simple terms. In our view this is something that Financial Services often gets wrong; over-emphasising complexity to the detriment of understanding and engagement of investors. Instead we focused on the human insight that all investors want at least a part of their portfolio that they don’t want to have to fret about.

So we dramatised that. An investment in Alliance Trust is about entering your investment comfort zone. Elsewhere you might be pushing your investments and hence living on your nerves but here you have a proven balance of opportunity and risk. Along with the reassurance of a long track record of ever-increasing dividends. 

The comfort zone bubble device and the illustration style feature in all of the advertising materials but it’s also a key part of the web design and printed collateral. While the new logo we created for them, unsurprisingly, features on everything.

Rather gratifyingly, the approach, the creative idea and the executions researched way better than anyone could have anticipated – so much so that the board of Alliance Trust found some extra budget to increase the media spend for this year.

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