What B2B Marketers Can Learn from Goldman Sachs

The communications landscape has changed drastically over the past few years, even more so for Goldman Sachs. What was once a firm that was quiet and reticent to communicate with the outside world is now raising the bar for B2B companies and their approach to integrated marketing and communications. As a B2B firm, Goldman never felt the need to engage with the public, particularly through any formalized, external marketing and communications strategy.

So what changed? A dawning realization that their brand was being negatively manipulated by other forces – government officials, political pundits, mass media, you name it – without their voice being involved. A light bulb went off – it was time to reconsider the value of marketing and communications.

I had the pleasure of hearing about Goldman’s journey to “open the kimono” firsthand from the woman who played in an integral role in leading the charge, Amanda Rubin, Vice President, Marketing and Advertising at Goldman Sachs during a Financial Communications Society luncheon I attended earlier this week.

At the center mass-public and government scrutiny, Goldman decided to launch a mass marketing and communications campaign to focus on their public service programs.  However, Goldman soon realized that an inaugural marketing campaign entirely focused on public service programs without any broad understanding of what the company actually did was a recipe for disaster.  This approach led to an incorrect perception that the company wasn’t genuine. Some accused the firm of intentionally steering attention away from their highly criticized business practices.

Wisely, the company decided to re-route their marketing strategy and introduce themselves to the mass market by talking about their core businesses. They hoped that establishing a sense of who they are and what they do would set the stage for a Phase 2 program about their philanthropic programs.

In almost an overnight change, the organization that used to keep their business and ideas behind “closed doors” is now a role model for B2B financial marketing best practices. Goldman’s position on timely, relevant financial and business issues like pension changes, accounting policy, emerging markets and the evolving global economy are now laid bare in media outlets and on their website for all to see.

Today Goldman has successfully launched marketing campaigns for a number of their public service projects, most notably:

  • 10,000 Women: A five-year investment by Goldman Sachs to provide 10,000 underserved women around the world with a business and management education.
  • 10,000 Small Businesses: A $500 million investment to help unlock the growth and job-creation potential of 10,000 small businesses across the United States through greater access to business education, mentors and networks, and financial capital.

The landmark marketing and communications campaigns employed a number of tactics, including print advertising, digital advertising, project microsites, brochures, videos and even event signage to show the world a vibrant and revitalized Goldman Sachs brand.

Does your business have anything to learn from the new age of marketing and communications for Goldman Sachs?

To reach Nicole:

Phone:  212.584.5473
Email: nicole@blisspr.com
Twitter: @nicolejleblanc
LinkedIn: Nicole Leblanc