How Thought Leadership Content Can Change the Conversation

A bank reshapes its sector through content

July 26, 2017

How BNP Paribas set the finance agenda on LinkedIn

What is content marketing? In my view, it’s far more than an ad with longer copy, or a video that lasts for 5 minutes rather than 30 seconds. Content marketing isn’t just about delivering brand or product messages in a slightly different form. At its best, it has the power to change the conversation around a category. To do so, it has to be bold, generous and ambitious. It needs a brand that thinks like a publisher and publishes like a publisher – one that sees the value of investing in content that’s a living embodiment of what it stands for.

I’d like to tell you a story about a brand that has been doing exactly this – a brand for which a genuine commitment to content is delivering exceptional results. I’m very proud that this brand is a LinkedIn customer and that we’ve been able to make a contribution to its success. However, I’m not going to claim that success is solely down to our platform. It’s a result of the brand’s own vision and boldness. We’re very glad to be a part of its content journey.

The brand I’m talking about is BNP Paribas. Its approach is rooted in a conviction that the world of finance is changing – and that corporate and institutional customers need a new type of bank to help navigate it. Partnering with Havas Media International, BNP Paribas was able to commit to content that helped them become that bank.

You’ll find the full, in-depth story of how it’s helping to lead the transformation of the business in our BNP Paribas case study.

From corporate website to content hub

It started with the BNP Paribas marketing team reconceiving the role of the bank’s own website. Rather than leading with corporate messages or a list of services and solutions, this became a content hub inviting visitors to explore three essential priorities for businesses looking to compete in a changing world: Think, Adapt, Sustain. Immersive features and video tackle issues from the development of Green Bonds to the importance of biodiversity to the fashion industry, the cybersecurity challenge and the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It’s a content hub that’s hard to tear yourself away from – because intriguing headlines and potentially valuable insights are coming at you from all sides. Visit the site and you’ll see what I mean. As an example of a brand embracing what it means to be a content creator, it’s hard to beat.

However, BNP Paribas knew that creating great content would never be enough in itself. That’s where LinkedIn came in. It was LinkedIn’s unique capacity for audience targeting that unlocked the potential for engagement in the bank’s wealth of rich, insightful content. It wasn’t just the content that helped to prove BNP Paribas’s claim to be “the bank for a changing world”. It was also the way that content was delivered.

Translating a brand’s own segmentation into targeting on LinkedIn

BNP Paribas was able to use persona-based targeting on LinkedIn, linking our profile data to the segments that it had already identified as key to the success of its strategy. We helped the bank to identify C-suite members who were key decision-makers in corporate and institutional banking, but also influential millennials and students who might be interested in working for the bank and embodying the transformation of the company. Social Media Manager Lisa Aouimeur and International Advertising Manager Laurie Palenzuela were then able to match the right content assets to the bank’s objectives for each of these audiences.

The value of an ‘always-on’ content approach

From the start, the team adopted an ‘always on’ approach to sponsoring content on LinkedIn, promoting new pieces of content to its different audiences each month, keeping top-performing updates and rotating the rest. It was great to see – a masterclass in how to maximise effectiveness whilst building a loyal audience looking out for content in their LinkedIn feed. Within six months of launch, the LinkedIn campaign had driven more than 60,000 visits to the content hub and doubled the brand’s number of followers on LinkedIn. Just as significantly, it had established a voice that was relevant to a broad range of different customer contexts – and customer needs. In Portugal, for example, content focused around local issues drove big increases in engagement and positioned the bank as a valued proximity partner. In Asia, thought-leadership content focused on sustainable finance helped to drive awareness to new levels, in a region where the brand had less of a presence.

I’m immensely proud of the role that LinkedIn has played in the success of BNP Paribas. It’s an inspiring story that shows the leading role that content can play in transforming brand perceptions and delivering against a range of business objectives. I recommend taking the time to read the full case study with more detail on the results and how they were achieved. It could provide you with the inspiration to rewrite your own business’s future through content.