The American elections have allowed us to experience a real soap opera over the last few months, and it’s obviously not over yet. They also represented a great opportunity for certain sectors of activity. At a time when the financial world has been shaken by renewed volatility, Swissquote, the Swiss online banking leader, has anticipated the event particularly well by activating an ad-hoc communication strategy with a constellation of appropriate online and offline tools. Sonia Milici, Brand Marketing Manager, and Jimmy Morilla, Brand Manager, unveil a few elements of this strategy and share their vision of the future media evolution.
The recent US elections have brought us through a very turbulent period, synonymous with both risks and opportunities for investment activities. You have created a microsite dedicated to this event and its repercussions in the finance world, and you have also launched an associated campaign. What was the outcome of this operation?
JM – For traders, the American elections are a bit like the World Cup for football fans, it’s the event everyone is looking forward to! It was therefore very important to anticipate this period and ride this wave, with the aim of reinforcing our notoriety and positioning, and expressing our « branding » via a unique offbeat advertising style and tone in the industry. We have set up a very elaborate media plan, based on print advertising in the major international media, the use of major financial digital platforms during debate periods and elections, but also a presence on more local media with programmatic advertising as well as on social networks.
In the end, the outcome is very positive! In addition to high visibility among our international target audience, we are also very proud to have been able to create a great user experience on our microsite. Not only did it generate a lot of traffic, but above all quality traffic with an engagement rate (pages/session and time/session) never seen before on paid traffic.
Did trading activities peak during this period?
JM – Trading peaks are mainly due to market volatility. On the other hand, the elections obviously brought their share of speculations and adjustments. We saw an intense trading activity during the period of uncertainty before the elections and, of course, the following Monday.
You organise many webcasts and webinars for your customers and prospects. How do you measure the impact of these various operations?
SM – These actions serve both our clients and prospects. The idea is to provide trading inspirations and enable our customers to make the most rational decisions possible.
As for prospects, the objective is to gain visibility and generate commitment, while demonstrating our expertise and financial market knowledge.
Finally, if we want to talk about pure branding, these events allow us to create a unique brand experience for our clients and to show that we are much more than just a bank.
What themes did the webinars focus on during the American election period?
JM – It is important to remember that we are not allowed to make trading recommendations. Instead, the webinars dealt with macroeconomic and political themes. They covered polls and candidates’ chances, provided analyses on the potential influences of the results on financial markets. We also covered the impact of the results on different economic sectors.
SM – The webinars also highlighted Peter Rosenstreich’s great expertise. He is an American national and Head of Market Strategy at Swissquote.
How do you measure the impact of these webinars?
SM – The high attendance of the webinars is not only due to the American elections: the COVID-19 period also has a lot to do with it. But we have always used this means to introduce our clients to our financial instruments, to inspire them, yet without investment recommendations. Our webinars also provide insight into more complex financial products, even in markets other than Switzerland, and help our customers to make rational decisions.
We also organise many physical events, such as the Swissquote Trading Days, which are very successful. This year, they were replaced by the « Swissquote Trading Week », four webinar evenings in a row, in June in French and November in German. These webinars provided an opportunity to listen to experts and ask them questions live. We had excellent participation rates, which helped us to convert people who had not previously attended our webinars to this practice.
Our regular YouTube broadcasts, with contributions from our external experts Markus Koch for German-speaking Switzerland and Thomas Veillet for French-speaking Switzerland, are highly watched. Our audience greatly appreciates the independent viewpoint of these specialists, both well-known in trading circles.
Without telling us the secrets of your strategies, how do you combine your digital and traditional media campaigns? How do you distinguish between what you do in your « Swiss home market » and in other markets?
SM – The key is to know the user’s behaviour on each channel and to adapt our message accordingly. On this basis, we use print and OOH media to build awareness, and digital media to generate traffic and conversions.
The situation is quite different between Switzerland and the international market. While we have been leaders for many years in Switzerland with a strong reputation, we are challengers at the international level. From a tactical point of view, the big difference lies above all in the use of the budget.
JM – When we organise campaigns in several countries, the biggest mistake would be to spread out and dilute the budget both everywhere and nowhere. That’s why a very tactical and well-targeted approach is even more important, to make sure that every penny spent is well invested.
How do you see your collaboration with Mediamix, and how do you work with them to target your next campaigns?
JM Mediamix has been our international media agency for many years. The agency’s expertise in the field of financial media has benefited us enormously and clearly helped us to reach a new level in terms of notoriety and consideration in the industry.
As far as campaigns are concerned, we talk to Mediamix beforehand and present the brief: the budget, the audience and our target markets, the campaign message, the objectives and sometimes a small « wish list » of our preferred media. Then, Mediamix makes us a media plan proposal and recommendations. They regularly suggest new innovative placements that we have never tested before. We never forget our positioning summarised by the signature « Challenge the code »: we must act as pioneers and test opportunities in terms of marketing, communication channels or placements.
We are also pleased to benefit from Mediamix’ negotiation skills to obtain a very elaborate media plan, always within our budget limits. Finally, we appreciate the quality of the operational follow-up, with an ultra-reactive agency that is always able to deliver on time.
SM In general, I think that the ideal relationship with an agency is a win-win partnership. The agency makes us progress, but it is also our role, as a client, to regularly propose new challenges in order to grow together.
There is no hierarchical relationship between us: the agency is an extension of our team, we share our successes as well as our questionings.
Without playing fortune-teller, but based on the current media inventory, what are the short- and medium-term developments?
JM – So many things are evolving so fast that we could spend hours debating this issue. But in the end, the advertiser’s ultimate goal is and will always be the same: « To get the right message out, to the right place, to the right person, at the right moment. » It is with this in mind that new digital advertising technologies are constantly evolving.
With an increasing number of data and the evolution of artificial intelligence, I imagine an ever more precise targeting, personalised message as well as rich (video or interactive) but less intrusive formats.
The digital evolution has also led traditional media to reinvent themselves. Not only in terms of communication channels, but also in terms of formats and technologies provided to advertisers. For example, I think that OOH will continuingly become DOOH. Based on the same idea as the definition of « white lists » in programmatic advertising, we will define « white areas » and will even be able to broadcast different messages depending on the time and the zone, with real-time control.
And what about TV or radio commercials? Again, I think that AI will allow us greater personalisation, in line with what we can do online today.
SM All in all, the various channels will be able to better « communicate » with each other thanks to digital, allowing us an even more holistic approach and a better coordination between them, whether online or offline. This coordination will also apply to all inbound and outbound content.
JM – As a corollary, we can see that digital communication implies much more work. A large amount of data is collected which must be synthesised and analysed in order to be used correctly. This was definitely the case with the campaign that accompanied the American elections.