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What: Leonor Palao (Assistant VP of Brand Marketing and Advertising, Oppenheimer Funds) and Annie Granatstein (Head of the Washington Post’s BrandStudio) had a conversation about branded content partnerships and data-driven content at the Portada Data & Content Marketing Forum in NYC. 
Why it matters: According to a study by McKenzie, data-driven organizations are more likely to acquire and retain customers.

By Dane C. Rogers

Leonor Palao (left) and Annie Granatstein (right)

Leonor Palao, Assistant VP of Brand Marketing and Advertising at Oppenheimer Funds sat down with Annie Granatstein, head of the Washington Post’s BrandStudio, to discuss the branded content partnership that exists between the organizations and how data is used to drive content creation.

A research study by McKenzie showed that data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times as likely to retain customers and 19 times as likely to be profitable. Leonor’s team at Oppenheimer Funds took note of this report, and in an effort to reach the niche financial advisor audience, partnered with the Washington Post.

Being an asset management company, certain data hurdles exist for Oppenheimer that caused it to lean heavily on its partners to drive growth. Fortunately, the Washington Post has the AI and data capabilities that can help Oppenheimer reach new potential customers.

Armed with the knowledge that 58% of marketers say that original written content is their most important digital asset, above video. Being viewed as a “thought leader” on relevant topics is at the core of their digital strategy.

With a talented in-house team of content creators that is capable of producing industry-leading pieces on finance and asset management, Oppenheimer had a goal to cut back on the quantity of articles (from 37 in 2017 to 7 in 2018) and focus its marketing strategy on understanding the types of articles that were most engaging and focused on creating great content and getting it on the proper platform.

Leonor mentioned the partnership Oppenheimer has with Nudge Analytics, an analytics company dedicated to standardizing the engagement metrics across the different media publication sites. Thanks to Nudge, Oppenheimer’s marketing team was able to overcome the rampant inconsistency of engagement metrics to determine the true “winners” of the 37 articles written in 2017.

With this more targeted approach, Oppenheimer has determined that year over year, custom content has had the biggest increase in effectiveness (over audio, display, social, videos, indicated content, and dedicated emails).

Oppenheimer’s branded content sees the Washington Post as the gold-standard in using data to drive content decisions. Annie runs the WP BrandStudio, which created branded content for advertisers. The content studio is a completely separate branch of the Post that has no overlap of personnel or reporting with the editorial staff.

Why is working with WP’s BrandStudio more effective than partnering with a standalone content creation agency? Because they are so much closer to the audience than any agency could hope to be. The level of interaction that a publisher has with its active users allows for a deeper understanding of their preferences.

The BrandStudio has segmented its audience into three subgroups: individual consumers, B2B (financial advisers like Oppenheimer) and thought leaders/influencers. Each segment has a separate list of the most engaging topics that they spend time on.

For example, the business client segment engages most with content related to cybersecurity, AI, and business transformation. They prefer to consume content on mobile and tablets and spend the most time on content with dynamic visuals and infographics. (Influencers, on the other hand, gravitate towards the environment, healthcare and smart cities, and visit websites on their computer browsers.)

The BrandStudio uses its internal “Clavis-targeting” algorithms (similar to Amazon’s search recommendations) to push its consumers to the content that each particular client is most likely to engage with. It does this through on-site, in-app, and external (paid social media and Apple News) recommendations.

Oppenheimer’s usage of partners like Nudge and the WP’s BrandStudio has helped it determine the most effective marketing to help it formulate a successful strategy that has show its best-recorded growth this past year.

We are excited to announce that Leonor Palao, AVP, Brand & Advertising at OppenheimerFunds is joining the Portada Brand Star Committee, one of the six units of Portada’s Council System. The board’s next in-person meeting will be at Portada LA on March 14, 2019.

Leonor Palao is responsible for the development and strategy of the firm’s advertising and branding. She started her career on the agency side where she worked for 6 years developing media plans and creating media programs for various brands ranging in industries such as Pharmaceutical, CPG, Technology, and Finance.

She transitioned to the client side at OppenheimerFunds 7.5 years ago to manage the development and execution of their media strategy and the creative assets tied to the firm’s brand and advertising efforts. A huge part of Leonor’s job is the management of agency partners in various aspects. She has cultivated strong relationships, maintained high expectations and found a way to consistently deliver groundbreaking work. She meets with senior leaders and digs deep to discover stories that inspire not only the agencies but media partners to propose interesting and advantageous programming. Since her hire, she has led, driven and crafted the strategy of numerous award-winning communication platforms that have disrupted the category and helped navigate the rebranding of OppenheimerFunds.

Leonor received her B.S. in Management with a focus in Marketing and minors in International Business and Sociology from The Pennsylvania State University. Most recently she received a Marketing Strategy Certificate from Cornell University. She’s a member of the Financial Communications Society and supports charities through the organizations’ works. Leonor was also recently recognized amongst the 2019 Gramercy Institute’s 20 Rising Stars in Financial Marketing. She is also a regular panelist at industry events. Ms. Palao lives in Sunnyside, Queens and in her free time can be found walking around the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Welcome Leonor to Portada’s Council System!