CAMPAIGNS: Financial PR - Euro money houses take the plunge

Client: Clearstream International

Client: Clearstream International



Campaign: Rebranding and repositioning



PR Team: Binns and Company



Timescale: September 1999 -present



Budget: Part of retainer





In Europe there are a large number of small and fragmented clearing

houses servicing the financial institutions, in contrast to the US

market where one organisation controls financial clearing and charges

around one tenth of what European clearing houses charges.



In May last year two of the European players, Cedel International in

Luxembourg, and Deutsche Boerse Clearing, the clearing arm of the

Frankfurt stock exchange, announced their intention to merge to create

the world’s largest clearing and settlement bank. The merger was

completed last October, and in January the merged company began trading,

with assets of more than USdollars 7 trillion. Corporate and financial

PR specialist Binns and Company is the retained European agency for

Cedel International, and was bought on board to communicate the new name

for the company, Clear-stream, and its messages.





Objectives



To tell the European financial and business press about the new name for

the merged company, and to communicate the benefits of the merger.



The bank also wanted to project itself as the number one international

clearing and settlement organisation in Europe and communicate the

changes to its employees in London, Frankfurt and Luxembourg.





Strategy and Plan



The decision was made to announce the new corporate identity to the

Luxembourg press the day before the UK and German press, since it is the

base of the new company. Employees at the head office were told about

the changes, and then a press conference was held. The message was that

this was a bullish company aiming to create a pan-European firm with a

new branding and a leading position in the market.



The PR team realised that the re-branding was not in itself a strong

enough story. To illustrate that the merger would make a difference, and

that Clearstream was intent on shaking up the sector, price cuts were

announced which showed that there would be a total saving to the banks’

customers of around 22 million euros in the first year.



The day after the Luxembourg conference, the management and PR teams

flew to London to first let the UK staff know about the new branding and

the plans, before holding a press conference for the nationals, the UK

financial press, and the London-based correspondents of relevant

European business titles. That afternoon, the team flew to Frankfurt to

repeat the exercise to staff and press there.



The recent announcement of the merger of the Frankfurt and London stock

exchanges means that Clearstream is now involved with discussions about

the implications, especially since it is still half owned by Deutsche

Boerse. Binns and Company is continuing its work with European business

press to keep them up to date with changes, although no decision is

imminent about whether Clearstream will remain as a separate entity, or

will become part of the merged stock exchange.





Measurement and Evaluation



Attendance at all the press conferences was good, with around 40

attending the London event. Coverage of the new name and price cuts was

included in the business pages of many of the nationals in the UK,

Germany, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland. Business press coverage

included Euromoney, Reuters and Financial News.





Results



Binns and Company has had the difficult job of presenting what has been

perceived as the ’back room’ of the financial industry to gain an

international press profile for Clearstream.



It was helped by a proactive team at the client and a president and CEO,

Andre Lussi, who is happy to be seen as a figurehead. The campaign has

also helped to launch Lussi as an industry spokesman. He has already

spoken on CNBC/Bloomberg this month, and looks set to become a regular

on financial news stories.



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