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ClusterSeven Spreadsheet Risk PR and Marketing campaign

ClusterSeven Spreadsheet Risk PR and Marketing campaign

Metia case study

This won PR/Marketing Campaign of the Year at the 2007 European Technology Forum’s UK Innovation and Growth Awards


ClusterSeven, a new company, working in a new space, delivers software to monitor spreadsheets throughout financial enterprises.


It wanted to challenge investment banks to admit that volumes of critical information remain in spreadsheets, unmanaged by IT and beyond standard compliance enforcement, posing a significant threat to their business.


Struggling with an industry reluctant to acknowledge it had a problem, ClusterSeven asked Metia to devise a strategic communications programme to help raise the profile of the potential issues, and the solutions available to address them.




This campaign presented a challenge as the banking industry, traditionally tight lipped and reluctant to talk, was yet to admit it actually had a problem with the use of spreadsheets.


The Metia team also battled with:


- The need to create a strong presence at hectic industry events;


- A modest budget; and

- News announcements in short supply.

The team looked to create valid angles that would make the banking industry face their ‘spreadsheet addiction’ and developed a fresh and inventive marketing plan to elevate ClusterSeven above background noise.


To achieve programme goals, Metia built a communications strategy based upon ‘outing’ banks addiction to spreadsheets and the risks and inefficiencies this poses.

The aim was to create public acknowledgment of the problem, and have ClusterSeven industry-recognised as the new ‘visionary’ on the block.

The programme involved strategic public and analyst relations around the company’s launch, supporting its presence at industry events and creative, profile raising ideas. With news stories few and far between, and a tight budget, creativity would be key.


In November 2005, Metia began the campaign with a 'Spreadsheets Anonymous' half-day seminar, allowing luminaries from 80 banks to admit spreadsheet dependency, with audience members one-by-one standing to proclaim they too were addicted to spreadsheets.

Following this event, Metia:

- Secured six introductory briefings with key media at Finexpo, a leading London financial technology conference;

- Implemented a series of thought leadership activities to maintain momentum;

- Successfully arranged a series of face-to-face briefings with the industry’s most influential analyst houses, through Metia’s analyst relations team.

In June 2006, Metia needed to make ClusterSeven heard above all other exhibitors at SIA in New York, the largest annual event for Wall Street and City IT professionals.

The team came up with the tactical idea of creating a short, gritty video, capturing the essence of the company’s proposition: Wall Street's secret dependency. To guarantee eyeballs, this video was played inside the lifts at the SIA conference venue.


“We are really impressed with [Metia’s] creativity, industry knowledge and with the energy they bring to every project. Now, when we talk to our prospects they are already aware of the issues.

“And many of them have actually allocated budget this year to address the problem. 2007 looks set to be a seminal year for us and that is, at least in part, thanks to the ongoing creative efforts of the Metia team.”  - Ralph Baxter, head of strategy at ClusterSeven

The ‘Spreadsheet Addiction’ campaign successfully resulted in 80 banking professionals admitting to having a spreadsheet problem, something never before acknowledged.

Other key results include:

- Landmark coverage in tier one publications such as Securities Industry News, DWT, Wall Street and Technology and Banking Technology, as well as a two page special on spreadsheet risk in the The Banker;

- Briefings with key analysts from Gartner, Forrester, Celent, Tabb Group, Aite and Financial Insights;

- The ‘Wall Street Secret Dependency’ promotional video became the talk of SIA 2006, generating a ‘buzz’ amongst delegates, exhibitors, press and analysts.

Eighteen months on, ClusterSeven continues to prosper. The company won the Microsoft Innovator Award for Windows in Financial Services and was ranked 35th in the Securities Tech 50 List, confirmation, if any was needed, that the campaign has definitely made ClusterSeven one to watch. 

At the 2007 European Technology Forum’s UK Innovation and Growth Awards, Metia won PR/Marketing Campaign of the Year for the Spreadsheet Addiction campaign.

The Award recognises outstanding and innovative campaigns that are creative, have a clear message and reinforce core brand values with demonstrable results.

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