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.
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.
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.