How Morgan Stanley's Content Marketing Tells Branded Human Stories
Marketing Content Strategy

How Morgan Stanley’s Content Marketing Tells Branded Human Stories

A new content-heavy campaign tells the story of Morgan Stanley’s brand in a different way—by presenting the company as a driver of positive human change around the world.

Capital Creates Change” is designed to revitalize Morgan Stanley’s reputation and relationship with the public. This involves highlighting the company’s role in evolving technology, infrastructure, and culture, including its positive partnerships with Netflix and Alibaba. That role organically lends itself to the angle of Morgan Stanley’s branded content marketing, wherein it looks to showcase its “real human” benefits as a corporation that uplifts humanity.

In particular, Morgan Stanley wants its content to craft a narrative that speaks to the company’s contributions to social progress and technological innovation.

“At a time of strong momentum for the firm, this campaign demonstrates confidence in Morgan Stanley’s value proposition by reinforcing our commitment to clients and telling the story of how we harness the capital clients need to create change,” said Morgan Stanley’s CMO, Mandell Crawley, in an email to AdAge.

In a more general sense, the new branded narrative represents a revival of Morgan Stanley’s media marketing efforts. After approaching $40 million on media spend in 2009, the company scaled back considerably: Last year, Morgan Stanley only invested $10.3 million in measured media.

Earlier in 2015, Crawley led a redesign of the company’s website, which took a content-heavy approach and highlighted not the company itself, but the people behind it. AdAge reports the company solicited input from employees to bring the website to life and give it a personal, human touch. Life grows from human hands.

The company has not disclosed the cost of its branded content efforts, but the results are pouring in: When compared year over year, Morgan Stanley’s net revenues were up 10 percent last quarter. The campaign is reaching far and wide, with content being released over broadcast, print, digital, and social media.

Morgan Stanley’s human approach has been successful for the firm, but it’s just one of many ways brands are using content to reach critical marketing goals. And content marketing is driving business impact across industries: Last year, for example, Del Monte used a massive branded content campaign to increase engagement with consumers while cultivating a better user experience.

In that case, Del Monte used a mix of recipes and guides driven by content marketing efforts, along with social campaigns that solicited involvement from top influencers and even user-generated content. Instead of a human-focused brand message, the company was focused on more specific goals, such as increasing sales for one of its new products while creating positive associations between Del Monte’s brand and its consumers. And, of course, creating a desire to purchase Del Monte foods.

Del Monte also drew a very satisfying ROI from those efforts, which used content in a much different way than Morgan Stanley. In both cases, though, the brands were using content to address needs and goals specific to their present circumstances.

One thing is certain: When it comes to creating content, the path is wide.

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