BlackRock headquarters in New York. (Photo: AP) Despite being the biggest fund manager globally, BlackRock continues to be a marketing innovator, Peregrine says. (Photo: AP)

Some two-thirds of the world’s biggest asset managers have seen interest in their corporate brands decrease or stagnate, Peregrine Communications, a marketing and communications outfit, reported Wednesday.

Peregrine’s Global 100 report found that 61% of firms had experienced no gain or a drop in their organic Google search volumes this year through August, while individual managers experienced an average 17% increase in inbound Google search interest for their brand.

As a result, Peregrine said in a statement, a majority of firms are lagging a handful of strong performers that are generating robust results with integrated marketing communications.

“The asset management industry is going through a period of profound change and this is reflected in the fact that nearly two out of three fund managers are experiencing no growth or declining interest in their brand,” Peregrine’s head of analytics Josh Cole said in a statement.

“Many firms fail to create a compelling brand narrative and as the research shows, clearly struggle to deliver any demonstrable growth in their brand awareness.”

The report focused on the marketing performance of the world’s largest asset management firms as ranked by assets under management. Selected firms were the top 100 independent brands in IPE’s Top 400 Asset Management survey. Peregrine analyzed the firms with its proprietary metrics and bank of more than 12,000 data points to show how each manager performed across these areas:

  • Brand awareness
  • Messaging effectiveness
  • Share of voice
  • Media sentiment
  • Paid media
  • Google Page 1
  • Social media
  • SEO
  • Paid search
  • Website effectiveness

According to the report, BlackRock ranked first overall, followed closely by T. Rowe Price, Fidelity Investments and J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

Peregrine noted that despite being the biggest fund manager globally with $6.8 trillion under management, BlackRock continues to be a sophisticated innovator. For example, it applies psychological profiling to its use of paid online search.

The report also identified a number of outperformers that it said punch well above their asset-based weight in terms of their reach and engagement.

Bridgewater Associates, a hedge fund, and Baillie Gifford, an asset manager, demonstrated the brand awareness and marketing sophistication of much larger managers. Alternatives firms Blackstone and Brookfield Asset Management, among others, also generated disproportionate reach and engagement.

“Given the sophisticated demands of investors and the huge competitive pressures facing asset managers, it has never been more important that marketing works effectively to engage and connect with audiences,” Anthony Payne, Peregrine’s chief executive, said in the statement.

Peregrine said larger firms have to show clients that they are able to do more than just amass assets; they need to offer better investment solutions and service. Smaller ones must provide differentiated solutions that increasingly selective allocators need.

Effective marketing can help. Asset managers have to ensure they are present and their content appears in channels that resonate best with clients and prospects.

In addition, clear, authentic messaging will create a template for content that is meaningful to target audiences.