WBI Shares Launch of 10 Active ETFs on the NYSE – September 2014: Creating Investor Buzz and Interest in Investing in the Funds

Case Study


WBI Investments is a wealth management firm with separately managed accounts and mutual funds. It sought to enter the actively managed ETF marketplace with its dividend based quantitative proven strategy. It was seeking investors to the new ETF offerings slated to trade September of 2014 on the NYSE.

Blue Chip Public Relations (BCPR) has been on retainer with WBI since 2004. We were called upon to create a strategy and implement a media relations program centered around the company’s ringing of the opening bell September 10, 2014 for the first day of trading for its ETFs. The goal was to drive investment in the new ETF offering.

WBI was already a recognizable brand with financial professionals and retail investors. For several years our focus had been to publish WBI thought leadership content on leading financial trade media. WBI needed targeted exposure with this segment of the market.

BCPR set out to achieve several objectives: garner visibility and attention on the ETF launch, create buzz around the opening bell, educate financial advisors and the retail investor on the advantages of actively managed ETFs vs. passive. Reaffirm and support the established brand with investors. Drive investors to the ETFs through media coverage of the launch prior, during and after.

The strategy was to develop and distribute a compliance approved news announcement directly to media via our proprietary lists ahead of the launch to arrange interviews prior. In addition, we broadcast the news via Business Wire and PR Web. We also developed a press invite offering media a chance to join us on the floor of the NYSE for the actual ringing of the bell. Our agency arranged one-on-one individual interviews with WBI CEO and Portfolio Managers with target media. This offered a chance for reporters to learn more about the process and offering for their readers. In addition, we arranged live interviews on financial TV.

We also created a special news briefing after the ringing of the bell with select financial media at the NYSE corporate office to talk more in-depth about the thinking behind the entry into the ETF arena.

BCPR achieved its goals as WBI Shares ETFs media coverage expanded in industry and retail media. This led to the ETFs attracting $1b of money on its first day of trading on the NYSE.
BCPR generated hundreds of media placements and touchpoints including 2 television placements for WBI on the ETF launch. WBI Shares has now become one of the largest and well-known ETFs in the market segment.