With an economic recession in full swing, financial entities are working harder to confirm their health to the public.
Anita Liskey, MD of corporate marketing and communications for the CME Group, is also balancing the communications needs of a company completing an integration process after a merger and acquisition. In the past two years, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) merged with the Chicago Board of Trade and acquired the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).
“[The integration] has been a big focus. Integrating three organizations into one and all of the [communications] challenges externally and internally... we're working through those issues,” she says. “In light of the financial crisis, we've [been] proactive to get out messages about the safety and soundness of the organization versus some of the markets where the losses took place.”
Liskey's career has taken her through a variety of financial organizations including Wells Fargo, T. Rowe Price, and a pre-merger stint with the Chicago Board of Trade. She joined CME one month prior to the business going public.
These days, she combines her communications experience with a sense of timing, mixing both long- and short-term needs and goals.
In the long term, Liskey's team, which includes seven direct reports and 26 staffers, has three distinct responsibilities: creating one set of employee systems, integrating trading data onto a comprehensive Web site, and unifying other operations, which is nearly complete for the Chicago Board of Trade, but still under way for NYMEX.
“The objective is not just to address the issues of the day, but also to take a look at what issues we need to track, how do we manage resources, goals, and objectives,” says Allan Schoenberg, director of corporate communications for CME Group and one of her direct reports. “It's a constantly moving target.”
In October, as the financial crisis worsened, Liskey's team launched “Rise Above the Risk,” an ongoing initiative which combines the Web, internal communications, events, and other constituent communications. The goal is to convey a message of confidence based heavily on CME's clearing service, which “is a counterparty to every trade… a buyer to every seller and a seller to every buyer,” eliminating the risk of counterparty default, she explains.
“Rise” was devised, approved, and launched within a week and a half.
“Our brand is positioned around providing tools and services that help give our customers and users... the confidence to act, invest, make decisions, and the ability to hedge positions elsewhere so they can take on challenges,” notes Liskey.
The company has also used the Web to convey its point of view on regulatory issues. In August, CME Group launched a special page intended to educate lawmakers about the vital role of speculators in the commodities market. The site continues to be used as a place to aggregate articles and other materials authored by CME Group and key influencers for interested visitors.
“Right now,” says Liskey, “the most important thing is the message; getting the message right and getting it to the right people as quickly and efficiently as we can... regardless of the channel.”
MD of corporate marcomms, CME Group
Associate director of corporate comms, T. Rowe Price