CAMPAIGNS: Financial PR - Networking club pays off for KBPB

Client: Kleinwort Benson Private Bank

Client: Kleinwort Benson Private Bank

PR Team: In-house

Campaign: Launch of Entrepreneurs Club

Timescale: June-November 2000

Budget: Undisclosed

Kleinwort Benson Private Bank offers wealth management services to high net worth individuals in the UK. Most clients have inherited their wealth and are aged between 55 and 60.

Research in 1999 revealed that at so-called 'beauty parades' to drum up business, 45 per cent of potential clients were operating owner-managed businesses, and these represented 60 per cent of potential business by value.

The challenge for KBPB was to market an old institution to this increasingly important sector without alienating existing clients.


To target newer wealth, particularly entrepreneurs, and update the image of KBPB as a private bank for such people.

Strategy and Plan

KBPB called in a specialist agency to research what competitors were doing to attract newer wealth. This revealed that most were simply throwing products at potential clients. Rather than take the same approach, KBPB decided to set up an Entrepreneurs Club, effectively a sub-brand.

To find out what entre-preneurs would want from such a club, KBPB decided to use focus groups. It recruited 18 entrepreneurs by a mix of cold calling and inviting existing clients. The groups revealed that there was an interest and members would be prepared to pay to join, provided there were tangible benefits.

KBPB decided that the principal benefit of membership would be quality networking. Every contact, such as solicitors and accountants, that entrepreneurs would meet through the Entrepreneurs Club would be pre-vetted.

Having established the benefits, KBPB began cold calling potential members to invite them to a launch event to be held at the Royal Academy of Arts in London (a venue regarded as one where the old sits comfortably with the new).

Internal buy-in from staff was also very important, so staff presentations were held to ensure that everyone in the bank knew the raison d'etre of the club.

Over a four-week period, press releases announcing the launch were sent out. Personal finance sections of the consumer press, specialist monthly business and finance publications, weeklies, and City editors on the nationals were targeted.

To communicate the message that entrepreneurs share the same goals whatever their background, two contrasting speakers were chosen for the launch.

They were Mark Dixon, chairman of serviced offices company Regus Group, which had floated just two weeks before with a value of pounds 1.6 billion, and Eton and Oxford-educated Johnnie Boden of the eponymous mail order company.

Measurement and Evaluation

The launch on 9 November at the Royal Academy of Arts was attended by around 240 guests, of which some 180 were entrepreneurs.

About a week before the launch, the Evening Standard's You and Your Money section ran a feature about how private banks were targeting new wealth and carried news of KBPB's plans.

Asian TV station Channel East, which has a target audience of wealthy British Asians, carried news of the launch on its breakfast business programme.

Much of the coverage, particularly in business monthlies, is still to come. International Wealth Management will run a feature on the Entrepreneurs Club, and Wealth Management is also covering the launch. KBPB expects extensive coverage in the financial monthlies.


KBPB's initial aim was to recruit 200 members for the Entrepreneurs Club. Around 30 joined before the launch, mainly people from the focus groups and people already known to the bank. Of the 180 people at the launch, KBPB says that most have expressed an interest in joining.

Full analysis of the recruitment drive will be completed in mid-December, after the first club event (a wine-tasteing). Further events, such as workshops, are planned. There is already talk of specialist sub-groups such as media and IT groups, and KBPB believes there is plenty of opportunity for brand extension.

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