The Investment Marketing and Innovation Awards 2021 have been announced, and we’re thrilled to have won in the Best Website category for our work with Columbia Threadneedle Investments. The prestigious IMAIA awards celebrate the very best in investment content and marketing campaigns, and this year was the most hotly contended in its history, with a record number of entries. From an extremely strong shortlist, the Columbia Threadneedle Investments website was chosen as the one that came Highly Commended. It was judged to stand out from the crowd in terms of its content, design, excellent user experience and engagement with customers.

The pandemic has made the website the most important communication tool for businesses in 2021. With some of the sharpest minds in marketing applied to improvements and innovations, the competition was tough from across retail, institutional, asset management, and wealth management sectors. And the fact that the awards are judged by our peers in investment marketing makes the win even sweeter!

What we did for Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Columbia Threadneedle Investments was looking to overhaul and future-proof its website ecosystem for EMEA, consisting of 78 websites in eight languages, including Chinese. The site needed to align with the look and feel of the US offering, yet give EMEA a fresh lease of life with its own new design.

Embrace undertook a vast review and requirements exercise. We interviewed stakeholders and ran workshops across territories. Audience insight and research was used to establish key audience personas. We took a deep dive into the reasons why the different audiences – from institutional to financial advisors – might be accessing the site and how they could be encouraged to return. Columbia Threadneedle Investments is an asset manager that places great emphasis on being research-driven, so a key objective was to highlight its insights and create a seamless journey that connected these insights with its capabilities and investment products.

We created and tested thorough user journeys, which informed the new site structure and content requirements. We undertook a substantial wireframing process to plan page layouts.

A new platform to communicate insights

The work created a host of benefits for the organisation and the end users. The client can easily update the site themselves – the internal marketing team has the freedom to create the content they need, with flexible templates that are easy to use. Different modules support a range of content types, in a large variety of formats. The fact that it always looks professional and cohesive is a huge plus, and has given the team a boost in terms of motivation and confidence.

The new site really gives the fund managers a platform to communicate, and their insights are now much higher up in the journey. The thinking and the approach and up-to-date information was hidden, whereas now it’s right at the surface. So from a user perspective, the journey is much easier, more informative and engaging.

For users, personalisation is a key benefit. They can save content so it’s there when they return, and they can also favourite funds. If they have an area of interest, for example equity, it's a seamless journey to finding what funds are available and discover insights around the topic.

Since launch, visitors are staying on the site longer, the number of calls to the service centre has gone down and the type of queries are changing – there are less technical queries on the website. The company can now direct clients to the website for information, rather than using substantial internal capacity.

Success now and in the future

Our client has been pleased with the results. “The work we did with Embrace allowed us to understand exactly what our clients are looking for right now, from an information architecture perspective. They now benefit from ease of use, enhanced engagement and a level of personalisation that is ahead of most sites in the sector,” said Adam Roberts, Head of Digital Delivery, Columbia Threadneedle Investments.

The IMAIA panel judged the website to be innovative, relevant and successful, and our client is looking forward to maximising its potential. “The site will enable us to better serve our clients digitally in the future,” said Adam. “We went live in February, and have roadmap of the next five years that we want to develop for our clients, which we took into account when we were we implemented the system. We’re excited about the different ways we can use the site to move the business forward.”

So after a lot of hard work all round, we’re taking a moment to enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.

If you'd like to chat to us about a similar project, do get in touch.