Commentary

Channeling BNY Mellon Founder Alexander Hamilton In Ad Campaign

Theatergoers know Alexander Hamilton as the inspiration for and “star” of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, but the banking industry knows better. Bankers identify Hamilton as not only the founding father of the U.S. financial system, but also of the original Bank of New York, known today as BNY Mellon. One of the nation’s first banks, BNY Mellon started in New York City in 1784 in a house near Wall Street and today has grown to have offices in 35 countries, encompassing 100 markets.

More than anyone, BNY Mellon executives are keenly aware of their heritage and the role their founder continues to play in the bank’s evolution. As such, they decided to channel Hamilton and his legacy into a marketing campaign that has been widely lauded for its innovation and results.

On Thursday June 7, BNY Mellon Global Head of Corporate Marketing Aniko DeLaney will present a case study on the campaign at the Association of National Advertisers’ Masters of B2B Marketing Conference, which runs from Wednesday, June 6, through Friday, June 8, at the Marriott in downtown Chicago.

DeLaney, who is responsible for BNY Mellon’s global corporate brand strategy, digital marketing, and market research, here discusses the campaign and her overall thoughts on the current state of B2B marketing.

Q. What was the genesis of BNY Mellon’s campaign that leveraged bank founder Alexander Hamilton?

A. We’ve always been proud of our legacy — and have always leveraged it. With our founder, Alexander Hamilton, gaining the spotlight, we had a unique opportunity to showcase how he infused a pioneering and innovative spirit at BNY Mellon which lives on today. We were able to tell our story with a new and fresh approach that prioritizes the business to human (B2H) connection.

Q. What problem were you trying to solve?

A. We continually have to find innovative new ways to reach our audiences with relevant content, and deliver it in ever more engaging ways. BNY Mellon has a strong, respected, and trusted brand, and we’re working to evolve the brand to be more modern and relatable. The “Invested in our Legacy” campaign allowed us to educate our various constituents about our rich history of innovation and our long history of firsts while delivering snackable content in an “edutainment” format for our social media channels.

Q. What were the campaign’s results?

A. The campaign metrics were excellent. We had over double and triple the average of our awareness and engagement rates, respectively.

Q. Did the results exceed your expectations?

A. Like all marketers, we set goals and developed KPIs to measure the success of our work so we could optimize and pivot as needed. I’m happy to say the results of the Hamilton campaign without a doubt exceeded our expectations.

Q. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing B2B marketers today?

A. I think the AI revolution gives us the opportunity to personalize the client journey and ultimately, bring more value to our clients. We must prioritize and maximize our resources to drive results.

Q. How would you characterize the key difference between a B2B marketing effort and a B2C campaign, other than the intended target audiences?

A. There is less and less of a difference. Everyone expects more of a consumerized experience. B2B marketers can focus on the B2H experience and leverage all the great insights and tools to enhance the client experience.

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