Repositioning a Stock Exchange
Your favourite fast food chain, soft drink brand and sneaker brand each possess brand equity, right? But a stock exchange?
Absolutely. The usual concepts apply…. just in more complicated ways. Like any other brand, it's about creating long-term loyalty and discovering what drives that loyalty, then determining how one is performing compared to the competition.
In this case, however, there was another hitch – the unusually large range of stakeholders. These included investors, fund managers, investment officers in the companies listed on the exchange, the CEOs and CFOs of those companies, small cap entrepreneurial companies versus large cap organizations and so on.
If we were ever going to get lost in a sea of data, this was it. A clear head was required. The first stage of the solution again involved superb qualitative research in which the varying interests and perceptions of all these stakeholders were plumbed in depth. (This stage was conducted by a trusted research partner - Q.Quest.)
It was up to the quantitative phase to bring it all together. Two aspects of the overall design were key. First, the structure of the survey had to be common across all groups, despite their obvious differences. (These differences were handled through flexible sections on the various survey instruments.) The second point, however, was an absolutely critical one. While stakeholder satisfaction might appear -- on the surface at least -- to be about rational issues such as the efficiency of operations, what was ultimately at stake turned out to be much more subtle. We had noted that in the qualitative phase, some of the most important human emotions were being evoked, emotions related to the need to achieve and to have confidence. The importance of this would later be confirmed in the quantitative stage through modelling. When appropriately translated into the language of each of the stakeholder groups, these became cornerstone ideas flowing from the research.
Shortly thereafter, the new company was launched as an IPO. Within a few months, the stock was up 50%. Clearly, the research and rebranding exercise cannot claim all the success! But certainly they played a role. This exchange, which had previously been the butt of jokes in the press, now found itself a 'press darling'. The lesson? Perhaps it's this: Listening and then responding in a very real way to needs, really helps to get people on your side.