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Aberdeen Asset Management's Zero to Hero Content Journey

Becoming A Global Brand Publisher

We look at how Aberdeen Asset Management came in at number 10 in PWC’s top 50 asset management groups in the world based on social media presence. 

According to the June 2016 report Aberdeen joined the ranks for the first time at tenth place globally – and third in Europe.

How did they go from zero to hero in under a year?

The key to Aberdeen’s jump in the lead is: great content, paired with intelligent targeting and a continual programme of optimisation.

[Full disclosure: Aberdeen is a client of The Dubs]

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Since early 2015, our team of digital and creative strategists have helped Aberdeen Asset Management develop a content publishing programme called Thinking aloud. First launched in the UK, this financial publication builds and nurtures its own audience through insightful and thought-provoking content.

The programme is underpinned by a Legal and Compliance framework to ensure content – and distribution of that content – is done in a way that reduces the risk profile to the business, and allows for scale as more volume gets published through the programme.

The editorial content itself is crafted to mobile and social consumption in a short form magazine style, using pull quotes, summary and introduction texts, metadata tags, social media share buttons and other elements that make the articles more enjoyable and easier to read.

In its first year, Thinking aloud achieved over 40,000 Twitter followers, 35,000 LinkedIn followers, and 4 million YouTube views.

The content is differentiated by design. Every single piece of editorial content is anchored to an arresting and thought-provoking image.

To differentiate from other finance brand publications, we employ a variety of image types: photography, historical references, pop art, Renaissance paintings, and so on as long – as it’s contextually relevant. So whether it’s Homer Simpson, Winston Churchill, Godzilla or clown­s, we grab attention and make a statement. In this way, the Thinking Aloud Twitter newsfeed appears as a visual stream rather than the text-based offerings of its industry peers.

Thinking aloud follows a rigid publishing schedule that is fixed and immovable like that of a regular newswire service. Articles are published daily and circulated across the brand’s owned social media channels.

Subsequently, we employ an amplification model that uses paid social media tools and intelligent targeting. It’s a learning curve: the more we publish and promote content to defined audiences, the more we learn and optimise to reach even more targeted audiences. This process deepens our knowledge through best practice and experience and gives us the opportunity to reach a wider range of markets.

Adaptation is key – no knowledge is simply acquired and stored for infinite reuse, especially in social media.

The Thinking aloud programme can scale across new markets and into new territories. Within 15 months, the programme has been rolled out to more than a dozen countries. Its content was translated to several languages and has been shared and amplified in the US, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Spain, France, and other pan-European countries.

In its first year, Thinking aloud has achieved award winning results and amazing audience growth and engagement with over 40,000 Twitter followers, 35,000 LinkedIn followers, 4 million YouTube views, and counting.

So if you’re taking the step to become a publisher, here’s what you need: quality of content, sustained and regular distribution and don’t disrespect the data you can interrogate to learn about your audiences.

Case Study: Aberdeen Thinking Aloud – A Global Content Marketing Strategy

Related Article: How Aberdeen Wins With Owned And Paid Content

Related Article: Aberdeen On India – The Giant Awakens – What It Takes To Go Viral

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Dalia Dakkak
Born in Paris and raised in Beirut, Dalia began her latest journey in our London office after spending two years studying PR and Comms at NYU in NYC. When she's not off train-hopping from city to city. She enjoys reading books and, like most of The Dubs, is an unrepentant Netflix binge-watcher. She says it's all in the name of research and development - and we believe her.