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Starting the fossil free dialogue

In an economy heavily concentrated in oil and gas, Yulu was challenged to help investors divest their money away from greenhouse gas polluters and into investments that align with their values. Partnering with Genus Capital, one of the country’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 in a public awareness campaign around the launch of Genus Fossil Free, the company’s suite of fossil-free mutual funds. It was a game-changing product in the impact investing space because it allowed people 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

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 analyzed one of the country’s most successful robo-advisors and one of North America’s largest investment 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. We were able to liaise with some of the top influencers in the space (including Joel Solomon, Michael Jantzi and Rebecca Hurwitz) and engage them in a social media series highlighting key players advancing climate action in Canada.

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 ‘socially responsible investing’ conversation – plus Genus’ role as a first mover in the space. Within six months of the Genus team rubber-stamping the plan, Yulu garnered 36 pieces of media coverage, with tangible increases in quality each quarter as we continually developed existing and new media relationships. Wayne has appeared on Bloomberg TV, Business News Network, CBC’s On the Money to talk about fossil free investing. He is a sought after expert on the present and future of Canada’s divestment movement, having done interviews with Vice Motherboard, Financial Post and Yahoo! Finance on the matter. In support of growing Wayne’s thought leadership, we helped the team elevate its research by packaging insights into a new Fossil Fuel Divestment Report that armed investors with compelling quantitative evidence for going fossil free.

In 2017, Yulu helped Genus become certified as a B Corporation. With our guidance, Genus became Canada’s first wealth management firm to join the B Corp community, with a rating of 87 out of 200 (compared with an industry median of 50 out of 200). Yulu provided extensive consultancy on the B Corp certification process from end to end.

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.