How to Create Experiential Marketing Like Wall Street’s ‘Fearless Girl’
She stands confidently, hands on hips, seemingly staring down the bull on Wall Street. But a closer look shows her eyes are cast skyward, at New York’s financial hub itself.
“Fearless Girl” is the experiential marketing success story from State Street Global Advisors by creative agency McCann New York and is the subject of an in-depth look by Katie Richards of Adweek. She writes on Sept. 10 that “Fearless Girl Stole the World’s Heart, But What Did It Do for the Client’s Business?”
Placed in the financial hub the night before International Women’s Day, the statue went viral and created not only buzz about SSGA, but about the role of women on Wall Street. That was SSGA’s actual goal, Richards reports.
However, Fearless Girl accomplished so much more. Here’s how financial services marketers can do the same:
Think About What Kind of Brand Awareness You Want
SSGA was specifically interested in encouraging financial services companies to add more women to the C-suite. (The third-largest asset manager in the world with over $2.5 trillion in assets has a core value of “promoting gender diversity,” Richards writes.)
However, SSGA not only accomplished the goal of getting 76 of the 476 companies it contacted to actively work to promote women, but:
- SSGA had created a statue that inspired the public so much that “a petition signed by more than 40,000 people demanded that Fearless Girl stay put, opposite the Charging Bull, through 2018,” writes Richards.
- When the statue appeared and helped celebrate the 1-year anniversary of SSGA’s “SHE Fund, which invests only in companies that have women in top leadership positions,” Richards says, “Daily trading volume for the fund shot up 384 percent in the three days following the debut of the statue, and 170 percent over the next 20 business days.” In two months, assets in the fund grew 8 percent, bringing it up to $315 million.
- Then there are the numerous social and media mentions that just keep growing.
Have Your Own Experiential Marketing Idea, But Be Willing to Accept Other Interpretations
Richards says SSGA saw one message in “Fearless Girl,” but the public perceived another:
Some see the girl’s stance as one of defiance of the bull, but according to McCann New York managing director and McCann XBC president Devika Bulchandani, “It’s not a defiant stance. Forward leaning means ‘I want to participate in the American economy in this notion of American prosperity that Wall Street represents.’”
Richards doesn’t say so, but this advice points straight to Pepsi’s mistake with the Kendall Jenner commercial that many critics believe was tone deaf to current protests.
Basically, don’t pull a stunt.
Communicate With Partners
It can be nerve-wracking, but let the process work itself out.
Richards says SSGA and McCann leaders think the open lines of communication made the experiential marketing plan a success.
The name “Fearless Girl,” for example, wasn’t finalized until three days before her unveiling, because the two parties continued exchanging suggestions and ideas up until the final deadline.
Ultimately, Be Fearless
Be like the girl on Wall Street. Richards writes:
For a financial services company to step into the world of experiential advertising and make such a powerful statement about society “was perceived as potentially high risk,” said [SSGA Senior Managing Director and CMO Stephen] Tisdalle.
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
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