Professional Public Relations (PPR) was engaged by ANZ Margin Lending to launch the new ANZ Diversified Margin Loan. The division had not previously used external communications strategies to target potential customers.
The ANZ Margin Lending public relations program was designed to create awareness of the product, lift the profile of ANZ Margin Lending and educate personal and finance media about the ANZ Diversified Margin Loan’s features and benefits.
Interestingly, the initial success factors were easily agreed as the division had never previously received any media coverage, so the benchmark for media coverage was nil. Media coverage with inclusion of the main spokesperson was therefore the key factor in the consideration set for measuring success.
Australia’s margin lending industry is highly competitive with 22 providers in the market, of which ANZ Margin Lending was ranked sixth at the time of launch.
The market is maturing rapidly, as evidenced by the Reserve Bank of Australia’s 2005 data which confirmed industry growth of around 38 per cent. A booming share market is feeding Australian’s increasing appetite for investment products, which adds to the intense competition within the margin loan market.
As a result of expected growth levels, ANZ identified margin lending as a key growth area for the business in its annual report, released in October 2005. To increase its market-share and position itself as a leading margin loan provider, ANZ developed a revolutionary product called the ANZ Diversified Margin Loan.
The product offers customers the choice of borrowing against a greater range of stocks, the potential to borrow more and increased protection from investment risk.
However, the product is highly complex with complicated calculations and eligibility requirements, creating the need for more in-depth explanation than other products available.
ANZ Margin Lending identified significant communications challenges for launching the product to the consumer and investment audience, these included:
- The difficulty in explaining the complex product specifications
- ANZ’s lack of profile in the margin loan market
- Consumer misconceptions about margin lending
- No previous media relationships
- ANZ Margin Lending historically received no media coverage and therefore
- had limited awareness by personal investment, finance and banking
- Potential comment from competitors
For the first time, ANZ engaged external public relations and communications advisers to assist in launching the product to the marketplace.
Prior to launch, PPR completed a comprehensive audit to determine the best avenue for launch. The following steps were undertaken to achieve this:
PPR completed a comprehensive audit of all existing internal and external communications collateral including existing brochures, website text and direct mail. This was done to determine appropriateness of the language for the launch, and whether a review of the communication materials was required.
PPR undertook a thorough media analysis prior to developing its media program.
Analysis of media coverage for the twelve month duration prior to date of engagement to:
- Identify key commentators in the margin lending area
- Identify key commentators in the general investment arena
- Identify common misconceptions and tone reported by the media
- Identify key competitors frequently covered by the media.
Tracking key media for issues affecting the investment market including stock market analysis and personal investment trends
Demographic and Readership Investigation
PPR used readership and circulation data to accurately determine the media utilised by the target segments.
This involved independent research, as well as working with ANZ's media planning agency.
PPR also assessed the margin lending market, the types of products available, research on consumer lending activity, and the general personal finance and investment market.
The research included:
- Analysis of market data from the Reserve Bank of Australia, banking
- analysts and market reports
- Tracking the performance of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX)
- Historical analysis of the ASX performance
Competitor analysis of products available, in order to correctly identify ANZ's actual points of difference (rather than their perceived points of difference)
Focus Group Review
PPR facilitated focus group research to ensure messages created for the campaign resonated with the target audiences.
Once the above steps had been taken, PPR was able to accurately gauge the possible response to the launch, and develop the strategy and tactics required.
Consumers - Active wealth creators
Margin lending is used by financially literate users, with a keen interest in the stock market. Given the increased complexity of the ANZ Diversified Margin Loan, active wealth creators who were already experienced with using margin lending were identified as a key target audience. A key aim for ANZ was to encourage existing ANZ margin loan customers to switch to the new product offering.
Consumers - Casual wealth creators
Consumers with a strong personal interest in wealth creation strategies were identified as a key target audience. Despite that fact this audience may not use strategies like margin lending; they might interested in taking out a margin loan if they were equipped with easy-to-understand information and proof of effectiveness.
Independent brokers and ANZ Financial planners
Many margin loan customers require guidance from professionals before taking out a margin loan. Independent brokers and ANZ Financial Planners were key channels for recommending the Diversified Margin Loan to customers.
In order to successfully launch ANZ the ANZ Diversified Margin Loan and build understanding of the product offering, PPR developed a phased approach.
In the months prior to launch the strategy focused on developing the positioning for ANZ Margin Lending and its key spokesperson. For launch, the strategy shifted focus to delivering concise messages about the ANZ Diversified Margin Loan through media channels to reach target audiences.
Phase One – Pre-Launch Activities
PPR conducted a messaging workshop to create specific, targeted messages for each key audience. These messages formed the platform for all media collateral produced during the campaign.
In the pre-launch period, PPR arranged a number of media interviews for ANZ’s margin lending spokesperson with key financial and personal finance journalists.
The media one-on-ones aimed to create a relationship for the spokesperson with key media and build the spokesperson’s authority before the product launch.
PPR also provided a selection of long-lead publications with embargoed information about the product to ensure the launch was covered in the editions that coincided with launch timings.
Phase Two – Launch
Given the product’s complex nature, PPR recommended a media briefing event, as the best method of explaining product characteristics and delivering key messages.
The ANZ Diversified Margin Loan was officially launched on 3 May at a media round-table briefing, held in Sydney. ANZ Head of Margin Lending, John Daley delivered a margin loan market and product presentation, and also spent time answering individual questions.
Attending journalists at the event were provided with a media kit comprising the media release, product brochure, Frequently Asked Questions, John Daley's biography, as well as a hard copy of the powerpoint presentation.
Attending journalists were as follows:
- Katherine Field, AAP
- Liam Egan, Money Management
- George Liondis, contributor for the Australian Financial Review and
Financial Review smartinvestorJenny Dillon, Daily TelegraphJessica Irvine, Sydney Morning HeraldA photographer from The Australian
In order to provide inter-state journalists with information and opportunity to ask questions relating to the product, PPR arranged a telephone conference.
Attending journalists were provided with the media kit and John delivered his powerpoint presentation. To keep the conference orderly, Journalists were able to electronically register their intention to ask a question, and John was able to provide responses at the completion of his presentation. Participating journalists included:
- Richard Gluyas, The Australian
- Bruce Brammall, Herald Sun
- Ian Rogers, The Sheet
PPR also provided a selection of tier-one journalists with one-on-one telephone interviews. These journalists were again provided with the media kit prior to their allotted interview time. Journalists included:
- Jonathan Jackson, Wealth Creator
- Mark Lawson, Australian Financial Review
- Jonathan Barrett, Australian Financial Review
The media release and fact sheets were also distributed to each media target.
PPR achieved blanket media coverage in all its target media outlets, with a total of 30 clips.
By conducting pre-launch media interviews, media relationships were established prior to the launch.
The following pre-launch interviews resulted in the following articles:
|Article: Living on the margins –
|Article: Margin lending slow to catch
on - 04.04.06
Money Management Magazine
|Article: A wide margin of safety –
|Article: Slash your tax – special
report – 01.05.06
|Article: Turbo Charged – 01.04.06
Article: Margin Lending – 01.06.05
|Article: Higher LVRs reduce risk –
[UTS Library regrets that pictures and graphs cannot be displayed in this electronic version - please refer to the hard copy on Level 2]
PPR conducted analysis of the media coverage received from the launch of the ANZ Diversified Margin Loan to test coverage against key messages and potential impact.
Outlined below are the key results from the ANZ Margin Lending coverage analysis.
This graph represents relative pull-through of distinct messages across the predetermined range.
Among the many predetermined messages, the graph clearly demonstrates that the strongest message in the period measured was ‘Benefits of Diversification’ which recorded 16 separate mentions in the articles measured.
This is aligned with the pre-campaign strategy to highlight benefits of diversification prior to product launch.
This graph captures which specific journalists have demonstrated the strongest nterest in the launch. There is clear correlation between the number of articles written and the time invested by PPR and ANZ’s spokesperson in building media relationships
This graph measures the timing and volume of articles relating to the project. The graph is overlaid with representations of key messages published across the same set of articles. It is important to note that one article may contain up to five key messages. The ratio of key messages to articles for this launch was 2.1:1. This was an outstanding result given the lack of exposure this division had received in the media prior to the project.
This graph measures the overall tone of coverage of all articles. It demonstrates a truly outstanding result for the launch with 95 per cent of articles either highly positive or positive. There were no negative articles recorded.