ASX is a uniquely complex brand. Due to its special status as Australia’s principal stock market operator and regulator, it has greater obligations than most other commercial brands. It also has a broader range of stakeholders which includes government, listed companies, retail and institutional investors, brokers, advisors and shareholders.

At the time I was awarded the ASX advertising account, each business unit conducted its marketing activities independently to meet its own objectives with no consideration of the impact on the brand overall. Their communications were totally product focused and the business units actually competed with each other in some instances.

Not only was this not cost effective in dealings with external suppliers, it often resulted in duplication of efforts and also delivered disparate messages to the market. I identified the need to consolidate and align marketing and communications across the organization to ensure that brand and business unit strategies were mutually reinforcing and to achieve a higher return on marketing investment.


The first steps involved auditing and reviewing all the current advertising, print material and online promotion. This revealed the fundamental problem that existing communications was basically comprised of lists of product features. There was little thought given to the end user, how the product related to them and the potential benefits.

Drawing upon all research and information available on the various target markets and conducting further research where necessary, I worked with internal and external resources to create a clearer understanding of the customer segments, their needs and what motivated them. Some products that met the same customer needs/investment strategies were grouped together for the first time.


Having won the support of senior management, I then set out to work with the ASX marketing team to drive and implement a cohesive marketing and communication strategy that would better promote the products while supporting and protecting the brand. Although this strategy was all-encompassing and impacted on other customer communications (some mandatory) and a wide-range of activities such as ASX educational course material/delivery and trade shows, the following details pertain only to an advertising and marketing campaign that primarily targeted retail customers and intermediaries (B2B).

The Campaign

As budget did not permit a pure corporate brand campaign, the objectives of this campaign were twofold - to both profile the brand and promote products.

The key target customers were determined and it was agreed that, based on research, the most common impediment to trading was consumer lack of confidence in their understanding of the sharemarket and the products, together with not knowing where to go for information and a fear of being perceived as “stupid”. As a result, education became the focus of the campaign based on the premise that “Wealth Begins With Better Knowledge”

The communication strategy was to state the consumer issues rather than pretend they didn’t exist, empathise and present solutions. To ensure the strategy and creative were on track before a national roll-out, a test campaign was conducted in Perth - a relatively unusual initiative which enabled us to refine the creative messages were necessary, based on response to calls to action. An independent research company was engaged to monitor and analyse the results of the test campaign.

In the crowded financial services market, advertising is predictable and fairly dull. So, the illustrative creative approach used was designed to provide some originality and cut-through for ASX. The challenge was, whilst attempting to be “edgy”, to be always sensitive to ASX brand position as “an ethical, responsive leader”.

Campaign Components

Due to budget constraints, print was the primary medium with a range of strategic and tactical advertisements appearing in major metropolitan newspapers, financial press and business magazines. (Selective samples are provided).

Television was limited to a commercial promoting ASX courses in Sydney metro only and in regional centres across Australia advertising an educational roadshow. (A disk of the commercials is available).

To support and extend the campaign, the creative execution used in mass media was extended to all related print material such as booklets, brochures, direct marketing, point-of-sale and the ASX website. (Samples of some of the material illustrating consistency of creative can be provided).


The turn around from product-centric to customer focused marketing and communication was progressively embraced by business units and while initially regarded as revolutionary, became embedded and increasingly more prominent in the ASX culture.

Follow up research confirmed that the premise “Wealth Begins with Better Knowledge” was well founded and well received by the target audiences.

Results of the Perth test campaign were positive and indicated a significant increase in the disposition to trade and ultimately an increase in trading in that state that could be indirectly attributed to the campaign.