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BlackRock

Helping a financial juggernaut bridge the gap between profit and purpose.

The ask

BlackRock is the largest asset manager in the world, overseeing funds from firefighter pensions to university endowments, and has maintained deep integrity throughout its meteoric growth. But being a largely B2B business, the organization had never invested in consumer-centric marketing prior to its engagement with Sylvain Labs. The opportunity was ripe to rectify this, as society sits on the precipice of the greatest wealth transfer in history, with $30 trillion passing down globally from Boomers to Gen X/Millennials, as well as a savings and retirement crisis across America. In this climate, it has never been more urgent for BlackRock to offer financial guidance and tools to broader audiences, and communicate its purpose to the public. What does BlackRock stand for and how should it manifest its purpose?

Truth

To better understand today’s fraught financial reality, Sylvain Labs spoke with end investors and financial advisors around the world. Even the most educated of individuals perceive the finance industry to be ‘gaming’ them, and desperately crave security and confidence in their financial management. Also, neither established industry titans or traditional financial advisors have found a way to deeply connect with a savvier, more skeptical modern public. Newer fintech entrants have attempted to change the game through user-friendly tools and apps, but lack the scale, purview, and expertise to address a widespread set of complex investor needs.

It was clear that Blackrock’s virtuous legacy and advanced financial capabilities well-positioned the firm to help bridge this gap of financial insecurity. It was time for BlackRock to take a louder stand for the investor it has been quietly championing from day one.

Possibilities

We were inspired to help BlackRock channel its visionary, changemaker spirit for a broader audience in need of support. To do this, we built a brand strategy that was about challenging the status quo of a broken system. In partnership with BlackRock, we crafted a new brand purpose centered on reshaping the perception of financial health as an essential part of everyone’s overall wellbeing. Just like physical health, it is something to be actively managed and tended to, in order to reap the benefits down the line and enjoy with dignity the futures we work so hard to build. Embracing this mission meant revamping BlackRock’s way of communicating with and servicing end investors, institutional clients, and the public.

Impact

Following our initial strategy, BlackRock took a bold stand for purpose among its business peers, starting with CEO Larry Fink’s public letters to global chief executives, urging them to go beyond sole profit-seeking and prioritize the impact their businesses have on the welfare of society. Through our work, BlackRock has also made many internal developments, restructuring its sales and marketing approaches to be more user-centered, and rebundling funds to offer socially responsible options that exclude industries like firearms or tobacco.

Our engagement with BlackRock is ongoing. We continue to work on ways to help this industry giant lead by example, reconcile profit and purpose, and put the wellbeing of the public at the center of everything.

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