Rebrand in Pursuit of Alpha: 5 Questions With PGIM’s Niharika Shah



PGIM, the global investment management business of Prudential Financial, handles over $1 trillion in assets under management for many of world’s leading investors with 1,100 investment professionals across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

A top 10 worldwide money manager with positive net inflows for 13 straight years, PGIM serves 76 of 100 largest US pension plans and 153 of top 300 global pension funds. PGIM’s multi-manager model lets independent asset management businesses specialize by asset class and investment approach.

Following a rebrand in January 2016, PGIM’s first advertising campaign highlights the company’s focus on delivering alpha and consistent investment performance through robust risk management and deep asset class expertise based on unique perspectives on long-term structural trends shaping the global economy.

brandchannel caught up with Niharika Shah, VP, Head of Brand Marketing & Advertising at Prudential Financial, to find out the biggest take-aways 11 months into their rebrand.

BC: What have you learned from your rebranding efforts?

PGIM VP Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah: Meticulous orchestration. It takes strategic precision to introduce a brand (PGIM) into a crowded marketplace with a dual objective of creating a compelling narrative and connection to the parent brand (Prudential). We’ve amplified a singular, crisp message by working in concert with our earned media partners and maximizing the power of multichannel. To succeed, we knew we had to focus on flawless orchestration across PGIM’s multi-manager model (eight unique asset management businesses spanning fixed income, real estate, equities, private debt, and retail mutual funds), with its different markets, external media and creative strategy.

BC: What were the insights and goals for your first-ever campaign?

Shah: Our insights showed a story untold. While known as a big insurer, few knew that we are one of the world’s largest asset managers with deep expertise across asset classes. Few knew that we are a top 10 institutional money manager and that our clients include 23 of the 25 largest corporate US pension plans. We were looking smaller than we actually are. Our goal in launching the PGIM brand was to show that Prudential’s asset management business is a force to be recognized.

BC: How are you evolving the customer journey and experience for your clients with PGIM’s new approach? And how are you making this consistent across your global footprint?

Shah: The PGIM brand and Alpha ad campaign represent PGIM’s scale and deep expertise across a broad set of asset classes. PGIM is expanding its range of solutions and products to address growing demand, especially among global clients, for strategies that help them balance long-term risk and return objectives across diversified portfolios. Around the globe, we are able to follow through on the ads with action. Whether a sovereign wealth fund, a central bank, or a pension fund, our customer is met with PGIM’s collective strength—global investment professionals with access to world-class risk management and expertise across asset class managers.

BC: What are your clients and employees demanding from PGIM—and how is this new positioning and strategy responding to that?

Shah: The Alpha ad campaign cultivates PGIM’s distinctive brand with its own identity, look and feel, while drawing on the strength of Prudential. This relationship defines and distinguishes both brands. Our strategy is to not only differentiate PGIM on its investment approach but to also showcase our intellectual foresight on global and secular trends.

The campaign underscores PGIM’s pursuit of alpha for clients based on a unique combination of specialized global asset management expertise and risk management rigor, in addition to PGIM’s insight into long-term investment opportunities stemming from global economic trends, such as longevity and urbanization.

BC: How are you connecting your external messaging with this campaign and reinforcing it internally to seamlessly delivering on its promise?

Shah: The external message reinforces what we’ve long believed internally—the idea that PGIM’s distinct multi-manager model provides the best of both worlds: breadth of capabilities with the focus of asset-class specialists, and world-class risk management discipline. We’ve honed in on this differentiated expertise to stand out and stand for something: unlocking alpha for clients. We think in an artful way the ads crystallize PGIM’s value proposition and create a short-hand elevator speech for our employee audience. Employees are seeing the ads via numerous internal platforms but my favorite is seeing them displayed on our 20-foot digital news wall in PGIM’s headquarters lobby, conveniently located right near the elevators.

We realized early on that we had to have breakthrough execution to stand out. The bespoke musical composition coupled with sophisticated animation was deliberately designed to appeal to a sophisticated audience.

In addition, when managing a brand and a sub-brand, both have to work in concert and raise each other’s profile. In our initial testing we’re very encouraged by how the Alpha ads scored strong for attention, visual appeal and recall for both PGIM and Prudential. It’s gratifying to see PGIM’s strength getting recognition, and by extension, lifting the Prudential brand.

Get more branding insights in our Q&A series