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Starting the fossil free dialogue

In an economy heavily concentrated in oil and gas, Yulu was challenged to help Canadian investors direct their money away from greenhouse gas polluters and into investments that align with their values. Partnering with Genus Capital, one of Canada’s pioneering investment management firms in fossil free and impact investing, we had a real opportunity to move the needle. And we did, through national media coverage and building mindshare among today and tomorrow’s investors.

THE CHALLENGE

Genus Capital engaged Yulu for a public awareness campaign around the launch of Genus Fossil Free, the company’s suite of fossil free investment funds. It was a game-changing product in the impact investing space because it allowed Canadians to invest in a 100% fossil free fund for the first time.

Yulu wanted to ensure the Genus Fossil Free brand would stand on its own merit and meaningfully coexist with the Genus Capital brand. In order to achieve positioning and strategy that was built to last, we knew we’d need to take a step back from the whiteboard and look to the people on the frontline to hear about what they saw and heard every day.

STRATEGIC PLANNING / THE SOLUTION

Developing on point positioning and strategy for Genus Fossil Free meant starting with the right conversations. Our process began with stakeholder interviews, talking to the portfolio managers and the leadership team to learn what was resonating with clients. Next, we benchmarked Genus against its peers. Rather than only looking at direct competitors, we also analyzed one of the country’s most successful robo-advisor (a low-cost, tech-based offering which targets millennials) and one of North America’s largest firms, both of which had a carbon-conscious offering.

From there, we developed an 18-month strategic communications plan that has been our guiding force since day one. One of the main pillars of our strategy was to build Genus Capital CEO Wayne Wachell’s thought leadership in the mainstream business and finance press, while leveraging social media to strengthen ties with the clean energy and climate action communities. This playbook of objectives, story pillars, resources, and tactics has given just enough of an outline for our day-to-day creativity to colour within the lines of and ensures our storytelling follows the north star.

RESULTS & IMPACT

From day one, we tapped into a massive appetite among business and finance media to learn about fossil free investing as an innovative way to refresh the “sustainable investing” conversation – plus Genus’ role as a first mover in the space.

To date, Yulu has landed almost 50 pieces of media coverage. Genus CEO Wayne Wachell has spoken on the feasibility of fossil free investing with top-tier business media such as Bloomberg TV, Business News Network, CBC’s On the Money. Today, he is a sought after expert on the present and future of Canada’s divestment movement, having also interviewed with Vice Motherboard, Globe and Mail and Yahoo! Finance on the matter. The Financial Post has on one occasion even dubbed Wayne “the father of fossil free investing.”

In support of growing Wayne’s thought leadership, we help the team elevate its research by packaging insights into reports: first, the Fossil Fuel Divestment Report that armed investors with compelling quantitative evidence for going fossil free. Then, in July 2017, came the release of the Carbon Emissions Report, which linked carbon intensity with lower returns in investment performance, a significant finding within the carbon-intensive Canadian stock market. Both made significant waves in the media landscape upon their launch.

Around the 9-month mark, Genus Fossil Free clients started to walk through the door, with some even making sure to recommend the brand on social media. We look forward to continually demonstrating our value as Genus’ PR partner and agency of record in the years to come.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Yulu manages Genus’ social media with two objectives: support and amplify PR efforts, and organically Genus Fossil Free’s community of environmentally conscious investors. In four months, we grew Genus’ Twitter follower base by 17%. 

To generate awareness with a wider audience, Yulu painted in the details of a concept from the Genus team: Climate Action Superheroes, a monthly Q&A series with high-impact leaders at the heart of climate change and investing – with custom illustrations created of our subjects in superhero gear. As awareness of the fossil fuel divestment movement grows around the world, Climate Action Superheroes seeks to illustrate the different approaches that key figures are taking, and how they work together, not against each other, to make a clean energy future possible for everyone.

As of July 2017, we have launched the first interview with Michael Jantzi, the CEO of Sustainalytics. Future instalments feature shining stars like Trish Nixon, the Director of Investments at CoPower, and Joel Solomon, the author of #CleanMoneyRevolution.