It can be easy to think of branding as an expensive marketing exercise. For example, why do supermarkets spend so much of their budget repeatedly reinforcing the same message when we all know – or think we do – exactly what they do?
Well, that’s the point of doing it, which applies just as well to fund services in general and the Aztec Group in particular. Now let’s be honest – fund administration is not perceived as the most exciting field of operations and that perception is not entirely incorrect. I learnt my lesson at my very first week at Aztec – it was at Super Return. There was a GP at the end of a row of administrators’ stands, a look of horror on his face at the dawning realisation that he had to walk past us. With no mean artistry, he promptly clamped a mobile to his ear and pretended he was deep in conversation. No wonder they colour coded everyone’s name badges.
So, how to make ourselves stand out and not be blanked and ignored?
If your market is, well, a little dull and grey, and innovation means sending a USB stick rather than a mouse mat, you have a fairly blank piece of paper to work with. We came up with chutneys, chocolate, jelly beans and popcorn, using flavours that were - ahem – interesting and non-traditional. Nothing to do with fund services at all, in fact. This began six years ago, when in truth very few people had ever heard of Aztec. The consequence was that we became associated with something very alternative, a typical introduction being: “Aztec? ….pause….I remember, you sent me three chutneys…two were good, but the Devils Hot Chilli Sauce, oh….” And then we were away.
What these direct marketing campaigns did deliver was the ultimate ice breaker. A cold call would go very quickly to a warm conversation about opinions on flavours and, without issue, many would be happy to meet me for that crucial half an hour to explain who we are, what we do, and, more importantly, why we believe we are truly alternative. There was, of course, the odd person who did not get it but I could count those on one hand and from a cultural perspective, it could be said, this was a business partner test in itself.
The most frequent discussion was “Why do you send things which aren’t nice?!” The chipotle jelly beans, for instance, became known at one accounting firm as “The Man Test”, and I can remember one conference lunch on a table of ten where we spent about 15 minutes discussing the merits of the marketing, different flavours, why it is so different – until one of the GP’s said, in a Eureka moment: “Of course, that’s the whole point – we all talk about it and remember who you are!” QED
As part of an integrated marketing strategy and relative to, say, print advertising, our direct marketing campaigns are both cost effective and provide impact. They are an incredibly useful tool and have their place firmly in our marketing budget. Not only that, but their creation is a fun time in the business as we glean ideas, source (unwilling) guinea pigs to test some crazy flavours and hand over the creative bit to our long standing agency of 13 years. We also get to meet and work with some amazing creators of unique products, such as Montezuma’s and Joe and Seph’s, who, like us, have a real passion for what they do. Interestingly, the popcorn idea was actually put forward by one of our up and coming fund accountants and went on to sprout legs within our marketing team.
So, brand recognition, the holy grail of marketing. Six years since we started, there are now many more administrators in the market – in truth, too many to count – but from being ‘just another player’ we have carved out an “alternative” and different reputation. All of the recent awards we have won, voted for by the industry, please note, is largely down to the service our clients receive and LP’s respect – but I can’t help thinking there is a little bit of “oh yes, them, they’re different, they get it”.
So watch this space for our next offering!
If you would like to discuss outsourcing to the Aztec Group or are considering migrating a fund or SPV, please call James Duffield, Head of Business Development, on +44 20 3818 0250.
Aztec Group Guernsey
Aztec Financial Services (Guernsey) Limited
PO Box 656, East Wing, Trafalgar Court
Les Banques, St Peter Port, Guernsey, GY1 3PP
Telephone: +44 1481 749700
Facsimile: +44 1481 749749
Aztec Group Jersey
Aztec Financial Services (Jersey) Limited
Aztec Group House, PO Box 730
11-15 Seaton Place, St Helier, Jersey, JE4 0QH
Telephone: +44 1534 833000
Facsimile: +44 1534 833033
Aztec Group UK - London
Aztec Financial Services (UK) Limited
2 Throgmorton Avenue
Telephone: +44 20 3818 0250
Aztec Group Luxembourg
Aztec Financial Services (Luxembourg) S.A.
8, rue Lou Hemmer, L-1748, Luxembourg – Findel
Grand-Duché de Luxembourg
Telephone:+352 246 160 6000
Facsimile: +352 246 160 6016
Aztec Group The Netherlands
Aztec Financial Services (Netherlands) BV
Spaces Zuidas, Barbara Strozzilaan 201
1083 HN Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Telephone: +31 20 794 4820
Facsimile: +31 20 794 4821
Aztec Group UK - Southampton
Aztec Financial Services (UK) Limited
Forum 3, Solent Business Park
Parkway South, Whiteley, Fareham, PO15 7FH
Telephone: +44 238 202 2300
Facsimile: +44 238 202 2309