Bloomberg’s Global Media CMO explains the strategy behind its climate and diversity-focused verticals

Anne Kawalerski talks ESG, Cannes, and more.
article cover

Bloomberg Media

4 min read

It’s not easy being green.

That seems to be the message of Bloomberg Media’s latest marketing initiatives, led by Anne Kawalerski, who became the company’s first global CMO three years ago.

In that time, she’s overseen the company’s first digital and global campaigns, helped with the creation of climate and diversity-focused verticals Bloomberg Green and Bloomberg Equality, and recently led the company’s first major foray into Cannes.

We spoke with her about achieving those milestones while working with clients and establishing Bloomberg’s own commitment to ESG.

A, B, C, D, ESG

In January, Bloomberg Media published a report on the “modern leader’s perspective on changing the world,” in which several people surveyed said ESG solutions, like cleaning Earth’s water and reversing global warming, would have “very high impacts” on the world.

Kawalerski said this was done in tandem with the company’s first brand campaign, ”Before you change the world. Bloomberg,” which positioned the company as more than just a passive news source. “Our role is to provide you the data to figure out how you can change the world, and I think that’s a really different way to look at our business and what we do,” she said.

Under Kawalerski, the company had also released its first-ever digital campaign, “Inventing Possibilities,” two years prior to boost digital subscriptions.

According to Bloomberg, the Twitter takeover for this year’s campaign received more than 73 million impressions and more than 70,000 mentions of Bloomberg from 57,000 unique authors. On Facebook, the campaign led to a 317% increase in subscriptions between January 25 and April 25. Bloomberg currently has more than 380,000 subscribers globally.

But Kawalerski said it wasn’t just about reaching potential subscribers; it was also about establishing the company’s focus on ESG. “It’s really about normalizing and repeating the message that needs to become mass and needs to become adopted,” she said, adding that “if we don’t…who else will?”

Vertical expansion

In January 2020, the company announced its climate vertical, Bloomberg Green, consisting of a data dashboard, live events, multimedia content, and newsletters. “There was some skepticism around whether we’d be too early” and if “there was an appetite from consumers” for climate-crisis journalism, she said, adding that she was one of the early proponents of the vertical.

Get marketing news you'll actually want to read

Marketing Brew informs marketing pros of the latest on brand strategy, social media, and ad tech via our weekday newsletter, virtual events, marketing conferences, and digital guides.

She said Green content drives 32% higher average subscriber conversion rate for Bloomberg Media than its average content. Sponsors of Bloomberg Green include Amazon, Tiffany & Co., and Holcim.

Under Kawalerski’s purview, Bloomberg Media Studios, which creates branded content, has worked with sponsors on things like “The H2 Economy,” sponsored by Hyundai. According to Kawalerski, the campaign, which included a study on 15 countries’ use of hydrogen technology, was one of Bloomberg Media’s top-three performing campaigns of all time.

Kawalerski said the Bloomberg team takes the issue of greenwashing “very seriously.” While every client can’t be Patagonia, she said Bloomberg still looks at various factors to determine how seriously they’re committed to sustainability.

For example, Bloomberg Green does not work with oil and gas companies. “It’s the long game,” Kawalerski said. “It’s definitively the right decision. And I think if you want a brand to last and to have longevity and to have credibility, there’s really no other choice.”

Cannes they do it?

Bloomberg Media took its commitment to ESG to Cannes this year via the ESG House, which featured conversations with people like Ryan Reynolds, who announced his new nonprofit for aspiring advertisers of color, Creative Ladder. Michelle Ghee, the CEO of Ebony and Jet, also participated in a panel on the future of media.

Ebony partnered with Bloomberg Equality, a vertical that went live last year, to cover Black culture and issues. Kawalerski said when advertisers sponsor Bloomberg Equality, “we’re able to actually provide revenue…and also provide resources” to companies like Ebony.

Being front and center at Cannes and SXSW this year was part of a broader strategy to reach a "broader, younger, more diverse audience" and show clients that Bloomberg means more than just business coverage, Kawalerski said.

When it comes to the future of ESG, she said it’s “going to become part of the business manual.” Her recommendation is that “if you can be a first mover in your industry or your category or within your competitive set, it just gives you a leg up and becomes a good business decision.”

Get marketing news you'll actually want to read

Marketing Brew informs marketing pros of the latest on brand strategy, social media, and ad tech via our weekday newsletter, virtual events, marketing conferences, and digital guides.