I've never been too quick at recalling anatomy, and I often resort to humming that old tune "The leg bone's connected to the ..." when needed. Apparently, Legg Mason
Last November, the company rebranded various Smith Barney and Salomon Brothers mutual funds, acquired from its December 2005 purchase of the money management division of Citigroup
It's not hard to see why the firm's organization might prove confusing. After all, seven asset managers now operate as part of one larger Legg, including Western Asset, ClearBridge Advisors, Legg Mason Capital Management, Brandywine Global, Royce & Associates, Permal, and Batterymarch.
Prior to the Citigroup purchase, products were primarily distributed through Legg brokers. As part of the transaction, the new Legg gave up its brokerage unit, but gained relationships that Citigroup previously held with large brokerages. This widened distribution channel requires greater recognition and understanding of the firm's component parts.
To address the concern, Legg launched a major $4 million advertising campaign this week to address any confusion. Taking the form of print, Web, and even elevator digital-screen ads in certain cities, Legg emphasizes that the seven asset managers operate independently, but form a collective whole of the company. Employing financial ads' much-used imagery of antique watch parts, the corporate website commercial highlights the esteemed experience of the named individual asset managers, their access to firmwide resources, and their contribution to Legg's overall "broad range of expertise for investors."
I was already familiar with the firm's corporate structure, but I would have liked more info about the specific strengths of each advisor for different types of investors. However, brokers in the trenches, at whom the ads are aimed, may already know all that; they may simply not have known that all those managers now are part of Legg.
Will the campaign work? Maybe the pocket-watch imagery is appropriate -- only time will tell.
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Fool contributor S.J. Caplan does not own shares of any companies mentioned above, and has never understood why creaky old watch parts are often used to convey images of wealth. The Fool's disclosure policy takes a licking and keeps on ticking.