Best practice from TopLine Communications.
Ethical Currency (ethicalcurrency.com) is a financial services social enterprise, offering charities, NGOs, businesses and individuals a direct, cost-saving alternative, to using the banks when it comes to receiving, exchanging and paying currency.
Because Ethical Currency offers clients better-than-bank exchange rates and smart currency management tools, they protect donor funds and get more money to where it is needed most.
In short, Ethical Currency saves its clients money, while at the same time creating an entirely new and sustainable funding stream for global causes that include poverty alleviation, health, education and environmental issues.
Behind the business is American economist James Tobin’s proposal that there should be a tax on foreign currency transactions to protect national governments from speculators.
The “Tobin Tax” met much resistance in the financial markets and among central bankers, but Ethical Currency is lobbying for international adoption of a Currency Transaction Tax (CTT) on all currency transactions, to create a new and sustainable source of funding for global poverty alleviation.
• To launch Ethical Currency to the media and defined target audiences.
• To raise the company’s profile as the only foreign exchange broker to donate part of its turnover to charity.
• To drive traffic to the site and encourage individuals / organisations to conduct currency transactions through Ethical Currency.
• To start the process of lobbying Whitehall (as well as international governments) to impose a Currency Transaction Levy (CTL).
Strategy and Implementation
TopLine planned a targeted media launch campaign for the final week in September 2009. However, when Lord Turner, Chairman of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) backed the idea of a Currency Transaction Levy on 26 August, the launch was rescheduled to tie in with this highly relevant issue. This meant that the launch project was turned around in two days rather than the original six-week timeframe.
A simple launch release, hooked on the powerful news angle provided by Lord Turner, was drafted, distributed and sold in to the organisation’s key media. TopLine’s communications team then used the release as the basis for setting up interviews and meetings with key national and international media.
The communications campaign resulted in 53 pieces of coverage within a period of two days. Each piece reinforced the core message behind Ethical Currency, with the headline usually along the lines of "Ethical" forex broker calls for currency levy (e.g. Reuters).
The client reported a surge in hits to the website ethicalcurrency.com and was delighted with coverage in The Guardian, Reuters, Forbes, CNBC, ForexHound, Yahoo Finance and AOL. In addition, the launch generated interest and meeting requests from various journalists, including Thomson Reuters South Africa, The Financial Times, Citywire and AllAfrica.com.
“The speed with which TopLine Communications identified the news angle, developed the story and contacted the media was remarkable. The calibre of journalist in TopLine’s network is impressive. I was particularly delighted to be speaking to senior national and international finance correspondents at such short notice on our launch day.” Alastair Constance, founder and managing director, Ethical Currency.
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