Magazine article Marketing

Delivering Reuters to the Public

Magazine article Marketing

Delivering Reuters to the Public

Article excerpt

Reuters is developing its brand value by pushing its services direct to consumers.

What's the UK's most valuable brand? Goon,guess- the BBC, the Queen Mother, Coronation Street? Well no, according to a survey by Interbrand, it's that sexy global information group, Reuters.

Interbrand's global super-brand league table for 2000 valued the Reuters brand at $4.9bn ([pound]3.3bn), making it the most valuable brand in the UK and 46th in the world.

All well and good, but ask consumers what they know about Reuters and chances are they'll say news agency, journalism and, at a push, even news photography.

They're unlikely to give a description that covers the full range of its activities as a global information news and technology provider.

While most people have heard of Reuters, it isn't a household name in the same way as media brands such as the Financial Times, financial services such as HSBC, or technology brands such as Microsoft.

This is because Reuters has traditionally played a backstage role as a wholesaler of news, financial data, products and services to financial and news organisations. These organisations have in turn repackaged or retailed the news, products and services to their customers, with Reuters credited as a source.

But there seems now to be a desire within the group for a higher consumer profile. Hence last year's [pound]15m 'pet shop' ad campaign, created by BMP DDB, and its recent recruitment of high-profile consumer marketers, including Kevin McCarten, former group marketing director at Sainsbury's, and former BThead of advertising Sholto Douglas-Home, who has for the past two years been in charge of marketing the Millennium Dome.

Driven by the net

The internet has played an important role in the evolution of this strategy by providing Reuters with access to a huge group of individual consumers at a low cost.

The group estimates that 40 million users now look at its information on 900 web sites, including people making financial decisions at home and at work.

For the first time, the internet has opened up the possibility of Reuters behaving as a retailer, not just a wholesaler, of information.

On the face of it, Reuters has not been slow to recognise this opportunity. Last February it announced plans to invest [pound]500m over four years to migrate its services to internet technology.

Part of that investment is to fund partnerships to develop products and services aimed at consumers, such as its backing of online information service Multex Investor Europe (multexinvestor.co.uk), which offers research from about 40 brokers.

Reuters also has plans to develop a new financial portal to service the consumer finance market, and has put [pound]20m into Kalends, an online consumer calendar service headed by former Carlton Interactive chief executive Rupert Miles. Kalends will inform subscribers of forthcoming events in financial markets, sport and current affairs.

Such an expansion in products and services requires professional marketing. Cue the recruitment of McCarten as chief marketing officer for the Reuters Group and Douglas-Home, who heads marketing for Kalends.

"The onward march of the internet and our success in selling to web sites is substantially increasing our reach," says Peter Job, Reuters' outgoing chief executive. …

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