JP Morgan: Reaching Out to the Wealthy
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
CEO

JP Morgan: Reaching Out to the Wealthy

Paul Holmes

Manning Selvage & Lee’s mission was to establish J.P. Morgan Private Bank as the premier source of advice to the affluent. We achieved this goal in a number of ways. First, by opening the Morgan “vault” of wealth management expertise to the media, which had not previously been done, we expanded awareness of J.P. Morgan’s reputation as the premier advisor o the wealthy in the U.S. among existing and potential clients. One of the first stories we placed in the Financial Times resulted in one of the largest business leads for J.P. Morgan. The lead became a Morgan client within two weeks. Aside from the notable increase in number of quotes in articles, J.P. Morgan Private Bank experts have been the subject of features in premiere publications such as Business Week. One of the wealth strategists has become a regular guest on the “Today Show,” while Morgan’s Global Market Strategist is now a regular guest on “Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyeser.”
 
PROGRAM CHALLENGES:
 
America’s heavy investment in the stock market and the rise in dot-com wealth have given way to the “new wealthy,” people with $1 million+ in investable assets.  With the rise of the new wealthy, the private banking business became more competitive than ever (witness Charles Schwab buying U.S. Trust last year). With a longstanding reputation for advising the very wealthy (those with assets of $25 million+), J.P. Morgan Private Bank recognized this shift in the marketplace and created a host of new services to meet the demands of this growing population. J.P. Morgan needed to launch an aggressive public relations campaign that would increase awareness of its private banking group, its new services and build brand awareness among the new wealthy as well as maintain visibility among its traditional customers. Given the new rise of affluence, we saw an opportunity for J.P. Morgan to redefine affluence in the new millenium.  Our challenges included breaking through the clutter and appealing to traditional and non-traditional media outlets in order to reach the new and old wealthy; tapping into trends/concerns of the wealthy to position J.P. Morgan as a trusted partner; and making inroads into a subject area “owned” by competitors such as U.S. Trust and Northern Trust.
 
RESEARCH AND PLANNING:
 
Our two key measurable objectives were to generate awareness of J.P. Morgan Private Bank and its services among target media that reaches the wealthy and communicate at least one key message in all  J.P. Morgan Private Bank coverage. The emphasis was not on the quantity of hits, but on overall placements in leading publications that would target both the established and the new affluent. J.P. Morgan wanted to insure that the public relations campaign would appeal to the new wealthy without alienating its traditional client base. To understand the affluent market, MS&L analyzed the way in which wealth was attained. In addition, MS&L worked closely with J.P. Morgan to develop proprietary research from Cummins Marketing & Consulting and Iconoculture, a Minneapolis-based consultant. Both sets of research provided additional perspective into the mindsets of the millionaire audience and demonstrated the impact of affluence on how individuals live and how they feel about wealth. Our media plan reflected the select audience that J.P. Morgan was interested in targeting – the affluent. And as a direct result of the research, J.P. Morgan’s findings were prominently featured in a Barron’s in a profile on the wealthy. During the first two months, the agency met with spokespeople ranging from market strategists to the in-house PR teams. Another part of the planning and ongoing process in making this project a success was the direct access that our client allowed us to have with J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank experts. This direct contact that was developed by the agency with a host of spokespeople ranging from equity strategists to wealth advisors enabled us to mine them directly for story ideas and developments in the news (i.e. tax legislation, Federal Reserve interest rate moves).  It also helped us to arrange interviews in a timely fashion with the media.  Our direct contact with the spokespeople allowed us to act as a reliable source of information for journalists as we were able to quickly switch gears and tap into resources scattered throughout the United States.
 
STRATEGIC APPROACH:
 
The agency’s key role was to partner with our client to devise and implement a proactive plan to leverage existing resources to reach the media, identify stories and trends for comment, and to introduce J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s spokespeople to the media in a series of one-on-one sessions to cement long-lasting relationships with a select group of journalists.
 
CAMPAIGN EXECUTION:
 
To help position J.P. Morgan as a provider of wealth advice and services for the new as well as the traditional wealthy, we needed to demonstrate the institution’s breadth and depth of advice.  One of the techniques that we successfully employed included leveraging existing marketing to clients with the media to establish J.P. Morgan as a premier advisor to the wealthy.  J.P. Morgan already held monthly teleconference calls with various experts on timely topics.  The agency suggested opening these calls up to the media with great success – up to 20 members of the media listened to each call. This served a dual purpose of providing the media with insights as to how J.P. Morgan interacted with its clients while offering an immediate opportunity to quote the expert.  This lead to interest in conducting individual interviews on the same day or as a follow-up. Another way that we used existing materials is that the agency recommended using the monthly client communications newsletter as a way to develop individual pitches to select media.  We also used them as a mailer to 50 top journalists covering personal finance (in keeping with J.P. Morgan’s desire for quality versus quantity of media). We also used the opening of their flagship private client center in New York as an additional benefit for new and existing clients, as an opportunity to invite key media to meet several J.P. Morgan experts at once (from U.S. and global market strategists to the manager of their mutual funds). This event was attended by top journalists from the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, Associated Press and served as a prime opportunity for  long-term relationship-building.
 
RESULTS:
 
As a result of our work, press coverage in top-tier national media for the client grew immensely in 2000. The entire effort helped raise the profile of J.P. Morgan as a company that has its finger on the pulse of affluent Americans. J.P. Morgan enlisted Carma International to measure the success of the “Reaching Out to the Wealthy” campaign.  An analysis found that in a sample time period of only three months (March – June 2000), MS&L generated print and TV coverage for J.P. Morgan Private Banking that totaled more than 39 million impressions. We generated 143 articles and broadcasts – including articles in key publications that target the wealthy including Fortune, Worth, The Financial Times, Forbes, Money, and SmartMoney, as well as the “netgen” pubs including Red Herring, The Industry Standard, and Forbes.com.  For J.P. Morgan Private Bank coverage, 70 percent of the targeted media coverage expressed one or more of J.P. Morgan’s key messages.
 
A side note, one of the financial highlights for J.P. Morgan in the fourth quarter and over the full year 2000 was Private Banking, which posted solid fourth quarter and full year results.
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