MORE than ever, in this competitive world, it’s all about brand-building at the moment. Our shortlist have all carved out a niche for themselves in the past 12 months, whether it was negotiating a name-change, capitalising on a long history or launching products that will define the future. These firms know how to sell, sell, sell.

Don’t miss the City event of the year – get online now and book your table for the City A.M. Awards on Thursday 28 October 2010 at Grange St Paul’s Hotel, London EC4.


It’s just a small company in Mayfair, but the asset manager has a big brand. Their poster campaign, with pictures of the firm’s fund managers in shooting gear, posing with shotguns and hunting dogs and stressing the “profit hunter” line, was to be seen everywhere this year. Artemis cleverly targeted the commuter belt railway stations, and now has massive recognition among its target audience. An object-lesson in brand-building.


“Celebrities do it all the time,” said Norwich Union when it changed its name to Aviva. It argued that the old name – which dated from 1797 – was due a change in a world where it operates in 27 countries, and that one name should be used across the group. It might have attracted the ire of East Anglians, miffed that Delia Smith is now the most famous thing to come out of Norwich, but the change went as smoothly as they could hope.


If you’ve got history, then you should flaunt it, and few firms have as much of it as RSA?(formerly Royal and Sun Alliance). This year it celebrates its 300th anniversary, and to mark it RSA ran a campaign noting some of its famous policy-holders, including Captain Cook and Charles Darwin, as well as highlighting recent work in disasters such as the L’Aquila earthquake in Italy. A classy example of making the most of a long pedigree.


It’s a testament to just how strong the iShares brand is that when the firm was bought by BlackRock, its new parent decided not to subsume its new acquisition into its own brand as it normally does with firms it has bought, but left the name intact. The firm – and previous owner Barclays – has built up its reputation over the past year. With its eye-catching blocky adverts, iShares has carved out a niche for itself in the growing world of retail exchange traded funds. A truly strong brand in a crowded and growing market.


The Eikon platform is meant to revolutionise the way that financial professionals work, and its ads showing youngish, thrusting types wandering through the world’s financial districts certainly reflect a modern, forward-looking view of the markets. The platform itself allows you to access information on mobile phones, home or work computers, and the ads suggest a world where the old symbols of success – a corner office, for example – are less important than doing a good job. Interesting, modern, and everywhere.