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'Liquidity' gels for Knight: How Knight Capital Group's branding effort expanded awareness

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Objective: Knight Capital Group, a financial services firm that provides electronic and voice access to the capital markets across multiple asset classes, wanted to expand awareness of its electronic capabilities among institutional traders. Strategy: The company introduced a campaign dubbed “Liquidity,” an extension of an earlier brand effort. The effort included trade show marketing, print advertising and a microsite. Results: A tracking study at Knight revealed that familiarity about the company increased from 69% in 2008 to 78% last year; ad recall increased to 61%, from 44%.

Knight Capital Group, a financial services firm that provides electronic and voice access to the capital markets across multiple asset classes, wanted to expand awareness of its electronic capabilities among institutional traders.

The company also wanted to align its products and services for institutional traders with its corporate brand and tagline, “The science of trading; the standard of trust.” Working with b-to-b agency Doremus, last April the company debuted a campaign featuring print advertising, trade show marketing and a microsite. Dubbed “Liquidity,” the effort was an extension of Knight's 2008 brand effort, which featured computer-generated imagery based on actual equity data.

“This "Liquidity' campaign was another demonstration of the science part of the corporate brand and its message positioning,” said Marge Wyrwas, senior managing director of communications, marketing and investor relations for Knight.

Using the right trading technology and having access to deep pools of liquidity are key to an institutional trader's success, Wyrwas said.

The company wanted to highlight its vast source of liquidity and also demonstrate its values as an organization, said Jane Lauterback, exec VP-global CMO at Doremus. The agency worked with Knight to create a program through which the company would donate money to charity: water, a nonprofit organization that provides clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations, for every incremental share traded.

“Its connection to the idea of liquidity was strong, and it was a way of demonstrating that we want to not only be successful as an organization but also be successful as part of a community,” Lauterback said. “Part of our focus on liquidity for our clients is also recognizing that there are a lot of people in this world who don't have the focus of liquidity as it relates to clean water. We wanted to partner with this organization [charity: water] to be able to alleviate some of those concerns.”

The campaign was rolled out at TradeTech Paris, an international trade show for equity trading professionals. The show was an ideal place to launch, Lauterback said, because it is highly targeted and allowed Knight's message to have significant impact.

The campaign included print advertising in publications such as Barron's, Security Industry News, The Trade, Traders Magazine and Wall Street Letter. The company also launched a microsite for its charity: water initiative.

Reaching traders via print advertising was important, Lauterback said. “As traders, they sit in front of screens all day, so you wouldn't think that they have a feeling for the print environment,” she said. “But they are very print-focused.”

The campaign has generated substantial buzz in the financial community, Wyrwas said. Also, she added, an annual tracking study by Knight indicates the campaign's success: Familiarity increased from 69% in 2008 to 78% last year; ad recall increased to 61%, from 44%.

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