The 225-year-old New York Stock Exchange may be perceived as old-school, but it’s trying to prove it’s as digital as the next brand by capitalizing on the content marketing trend.
To that end, NYSE has just launched a standalone site, called The Big Stage. Designed by Digitas, it’s a photo-heavy platform that’s reminiscent of the visually-rich treatments seen on some mainstream news sites (Newsweek’s recent redesign, The New York Times’ multimedia Snowfall package). Visitors will find videos, feel-good profiles and Q&As around NYSE-listed companies and their executives. "Second Servings" looks at the tough but hug-happy executive who's behind the remake of IHOP, while "Animal Pharm" chronicles the efforts by the drug company Zoetis to battle the world's animal diseases.
Hard-hitting journalism it's not, but with a small army of 10 behind it, The Big Stage is the latest example of how brands are putting big resources in the service of audience engagement, lured by the idea that marketers can be publishers. Indeed, Marisa Ricciardi, CMO of the exchange, called the site NYSE’s “first entree into brand journalism.”
“It helps us engage in conversations with our audience and not just market to them,” she said. “I think marketing is best served when it doesn’t feel like marketing.”
Much of the material for the site is being supplied by Time Inc. Content Solutions, the content-marketing arm of the publishing giant (but which operates outside Time Inc.’s venerable news brands like Time and Fortune). The Time Inc. Content Solutions staffers assigned to NYSE work in the division’s so-called brand newsroom, a team of editors that was recently formed to provide dedicated service to individual clients, said Chris Schraft, president of Content Solutions.
The site also reflects the recognition by marketers of social media's growing importance. Time Inc. Content Solutions division puts a special emphasis on monitoring social media to inform the content it creates, Schraft said. “Social intelligence enables us to surface relevant trends, and we specifically use that information to help expert editors create highly engaging content,” he said.
The site is currently posting 25 to 30 pieces of content a week, a figure that’s expected to grow over time; NYSE may also add content from traditional news outlets over time. There’s even an editorial calendar.
Despite the obvious similarities with actual news media, Ricciardi said The Big Stage wasn’t out to compete with the news but rather supplement it.
“We are not a news site,” she said. “This is telling brand stories…offering behind-the-scenes access you might not see elsewhere."