According to Bridges, the studio isn’t tasked with creating ads to promote Goldman Sachs aggressively or drum up new business.
Instead, its focus is on creating a variety of digital content that helps the firm connect with the public online.
That content includes podcasts, like Exchanges at Goldman Sachs, “in which people from across the firm share their insights on developments shaping industries, markets and the global economy.”
As well as BRIEFINGS, a weekly email newsletter through which Goldman Sachs shares insights into global trends affecting markets and economies.
The firm is also investing heavily in video, some of which is posted to Goldman Sachs’ YouTube channel.
These videos cover everything from the rise of craft products to stories of companies that Goldman Sachs has helped grow.
The firm also has YouTube channels dedicated to economics and markets, careers, and its impact investing contributions.
All told, Goldman Sachs videos have racked up over 7m views on YouTube, and the firm has some 23,000 followers.
Who doesn’t like a vampire squid?
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, which many saw as highlighting the unfair differences between Wall Street and Main Street, the financial services industry has struggled to defend its reputation.
Goldman Sachs, as one of the most prominent financial institutions in the world, was not surpisingly a common target of attacks against Wall Street.
One of the sharpest attacks came in the form of a Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi, in which he famously wrote:
The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.
Goldman Sachs, obviously, would beg to differ with that description of its company, and content marketing appears to be an effective way of trying to better manage its reputation online.
According to Goldman’s Bridges, “Our favorability increases [after people view its content rather than see a straight ad].”
Boosting favorability is a slow process, but an important one, for a number of reasons.
In the case of financial services firms like Goldman Sachs, it’s not just about negative public perception, which has driven a push for greater regulation that can hamper firms’ ability to innovate. It’s also about attracting talent.
While Goldman Sachs is still the employer of choice for those in investment banking, in years past, investment banks were also employers of choice for talented young university graduates.
That has changed more recently, as many graduates who would have historically found their first jobs on Wall Street look elsewhere, including tech companies and startups in Silicon Valley.
Content marketing alone might not reverse that trend, but by opening itself up the digital world, Goldman Sachs has a better chance of catching the attention of students who are still weighing their options.
A long-term investment
Like most firms engaged in content marketing, Goldman Sachs is working through the issue of metrics. For example, it doesn’t look at video views.
Instead, it monitors how many users watch at least 25% of a video. And it doesn’t have great analytics data for its podcasts because Apple doesn’t offer much data.
But when it comes to content, Goldman Sachs is a long-term investor that isn’t worried about instant returns.
Much of its content is designed to be evergreen, and that means it can pay dividends long after it was produced.
Case in point: one of its video series caught the attention of Reddit over a year after it was published, generating more than a million views.