Asset Management

Brand Visibility Slipping For Alternatives

Jackie Bennion, Deputy Editor, 15 October 2021

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A report out this week assesses the marketing communications performance of the alternative asset management industry.

Despite a torrent of capital flowing into alternatives and its bullish growth in recent years, the brand recognition of leading investment managers in the space does not appear to be travelling on the same trajectory, according to Peregrine Communications’ first annual Alts 50 Report.

The report assesses the integrated marketing communications performance of the alternative asset management industry. Results published this week reveal that two-thirds (66 per cent) of of the top 50 alternative investment managers ranked by AuM have seen their brand visibility decline over the last 12 months.

Peregrine gave Blackstone the highest score for brand awareness by some measure, followed by Citadel and Man Group, with Advent International and KKR completing the top five.

The global comms firm suggested that alternatives managers have been slow to embrace digital communications, finding over half (56 per cent) missing one or more social media channels, and demonstrating minimal use of paid search and paid media strategies, scoring 10 per cent and 42 per cent respectively.

The Alts Top-50 firms comprises 20 in private equity, 20 in hedge funds, and 10 in alternative credit.

Such results may be worn as a badge of honour in the opaque world of private equity deal-making. However, they may sit less comfortably as ESG principles and resolve rise up private investors’ priorities, and the expectation of multi-channel, open and regular communications.

The report found that only 20 per cent of alternatives asset managers scored in the top band for brand visibility across the asset management industry. The trend over the last couple of years has shown a small number of managers increasingly outperforming a majority of their peers.

Peregrine named Oaktree Capital as the only alternatives credit manager in the top 10.

The branding assessment was drawn from collating around 6,000 data points across firms’ main marketing and comms activities, ranking each firm against industry peers on brand awareness, brand momentum, share of voice, media sentiment, Google page 1 (search ranking), social media, SEO, paid search, paid media, and website effectiveness.

Beyond a degree of self interest, the firm says the report is intended to stoke more thought about asset management trends and on brand building in particular, given the wider decline.

The data comes as investment interest in alternatives assets has arguably never been stronger and as digital capability is at the fore of targeting younger investors.

“Alternative investment managers have always had a way of attracting the attention of the media and their target audiences, through unique investment strategies, notable deals, and ability to generate alpha. Yet the data shows that this perception is polarized by the larger, more renowned firms, whose actions make headlines regardless of the sentiment. For the rest of the industry entering the 2022 planning season, they need to adopt a more strategic approach to their integrated marketing and communications activities, with an additional emphasis on culture and purpose, or risk fading into obscurity,” Peregrine’s managing director, Max Hilton, said.

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