Global Brands II

In one of my earliest postings in September of ‘07, Global Brands, I wrote: “As we transition to a digital world, managing our brands becomes ever more demanding. Microsoft, which has done wonders with the Windows and Office brands, stumbled as they tried to rebrand Hotmail, IM and Search under the Windows Live brand. I am certain that with their unlimited resources they employed several of the best branding agencies in the business, but they still struggled through this transition. Those of us who come to this with much less in the way of outside assistance must clearly understand that we need brands that can travel globally…All of us in the B2B or B2C space tasked with transitioning to the digital world are looking for the Holy Grail, an umbrella brand that inspires confidence and trust and at the same time can support many vertical channels. Strategy sessions and market tests play an important role in this process. Marketing dollars invested in branding will yield significant returns, although without strong digital brands there is not much chance of survival for print brands, even those with storied histories.”

In the fall of ‘07, my partners at Austin Ventures and I were still in the search mode to find a platform that we could acquire and grow. It was almost a year later when we zeroed in on the institutional financial sector, with a focus on asset management. In fairly short order, we acquired Asset International, The Trade, and Strategic Insight.

We decided that we would operate under the Asset International name, as it provided a very clear brand and would allow us to add significant brands under the Asset International umbrella. Today we have established a new London office for Strategic Insight to support the SimfundGlobal database and analytics platform. In the next several months we will open a comparable office in Hong Kong for our expanding client base to support these well-known business intelligence products and services. This client base historically has been composed of mutual fund companies, but recently we have seen it expand in the U.S. to include other business sectors, including private equity firms that have a strong interest in the financial sector.

In addition, this past spring we launched PlanSponsor Europe out of London. With this very strong retirement-focused brand and its print, online, research reports, and conference components, Plan Sponsor Europe is offering longtime clients like State Street (STT) a known brand to support their defined contribution efforts in the United Kingdom and on the continent. They have reserved our prime real estate, our back cover, to deliver their message for the balance of the year. In ‘11 we will launch Plan Sponsor Asia/Pacific edition. Recently, Global Custodian released its 2010 Prime Brokerage Survey, which received wide coverage in the business press and was quickly established as the standard for this segment of the industry. This brand, along with Strategic Insight, has had a global impact for more than 20 years.

The TRADE expanded its business several years ago by launching The TRADE Asia and this year launched The TRADE Growth Markets. They also expanded their global web presence with Finally, ai5000, which focuses on the professional information needs of the Chief Investment Officers of the largest global assets owners, launched their Chief Investment Officer Summit (CIOS) in New York and will hold the second summit in London on October 7th and 8th.

We will continue to expand our business by investing in our core brands on a global basis and serving the needs of our client base in the major markets they operate in.

You can learn more about our global brands and how they can assist you build your global market share by going to