Delivering a consistent story to investors around the world
Equity investing has changed radically in recent years. Active portfolio management isn’t what it used to be, thanks to instant access to information and analysis, fee pressures and the rising popularity of passive investing. Increasingly, institutions and individuals have turned to “barbell” portfolio strategies: using low-fee, passive solutions for most assets under management, while placing the remainder in higher-risk and presumably higher return investments as a way to beat the market. That trend has caused a great deal of capital to flow into vehicles that require no management at all.
As a result, active portfolio managers are feeling more pressure. Even with the markets at all-time highs and a long bull run, the same supply of active managers must now compete for fewer actively managed assets. And yet, the underlying idea of active management remains as valid as ever. What’s needed is a way to tell a compelling and understandable story that makes the value-add clear in what can be a highly technical field.
A unique firm calls for a unique value proposition
Intech is a specialized asset management firm serving institutional investors worldwide. With more than $52 billon in assets under management and a 30-year track record, it is a well-established and respected presence in the marketplace. Like its peers, Intech had been experiencing the adverse impact of changing perceptions about portfolio construction. It was time to sharpen the firm’s value proposition and brand communications to emphasize the value it brings to clients’ portfolios. Intech’s management and sales team knew there was an opportunity to bring more attention to the firm—its distinctive portfolio management approach. This methodology, based on Stochastic Portfolio Theory originally developed by the company’s founder, captures excess returns by rebalancing volatility in a given portfolio on an ongoing basis. Yet, the firm’s leadership was having difficulty consistently communicating its value-add on a global basis; the key points of differentiation were getting lost. The major challenge was the method’s highly technical nature. Intech had found it very difficult to convey the advantages in simple ways that clients’ pension consultants could readily understand. Complicating this was inconsistent messaging around the world; global clients might hear one part of the methodology emphasized in Japan, but a different one in Australia.
Finding a new path to differentiation
Intech management decided to do a reset—a robust global rebranding program that would help identify its strengths, discover new ways to overcome potential weaknesses, and refresh the look and feel of the brand.
Taking the time to formulate a new brand strategy would also provide a valuable opportunity to reach out to dozens of constituents—clients, consultants, employees and sales representatives—and gain actionable insights on existing perceptions and expectations for the future.
Intech called on Tenet to lay the strategic groundwork for a repositioning of the brand, by developing a comprehensive understanding of how clients, consultants and employees viewed the company. Tenet’s extensive program of stakeholder interviews yielded critical insight into perceptions and the brand experience from every perspective.
Strategic insight shapes the brand
The research uncovered proof of the perceived technical expertise and steady, client-centric engagement that had made Intech successful, as well as confusion about what truly differentiated the firm. Through attribute-sorting exercises that forced prioritization, core strengths were revealed. The attributes that were seen by clients as most valued and distinctive when thinking of the Intech brand rose to the top:
- Volatility experts
Armed with a deep understanding of Intech’s expertise, culture, clients and the marketplace, Tenet and Intech teamed up to build a global communications platform for its new brand. Consensus around the brand attributes set the stage for a refreshed value proposition and gave direction for new content, crafted to convey the Intech story more clearly in markets around the world.
Tenet’s research findings also surfaced in the form of a new tagline, “Harness volatility.” That simple phrase goes straight to the heart of the Intech advantage, by speaking to how the firm uses stock price volatility to generate positive returns for clients.
During development of the visual brand identity, Tenet’s strategy, content and design teams worked closely together, leveraging the strategy work to capture the essence of Intech’s value proposition. The visual elements of the logo and design system work to convey key ideas, evoking the forward and upward growth Intech is known to deliver to clients thanks to their tested and proven mathematical formulas. That visual presence complements the content approach, communicating in multiple ways to drive home the value proposition more clearly.
In the end, it’s about capitalizing on existing strengths
Refreshing the Intech brand gave the company an opportunity to reestablish itself as an industry leader with a clear vision for the future. But equally important, it showed that Intech has always been on a positive, well-thought-out path. Casting its key strength—a proven ability to harness volatility and deliver value—in a new way is enabling Intech to move forward and meet the challenges of an evolving investment landscape with renewed confidence.