Kauppalehti reaches out to younger readers with sustainability reporting

By Johanna Suhonen

Alma Media

Helsinki, Finland

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Like many established news media outlets, Kauppalehti, Finland’s leading business daily, has strong relations with its core audience but tends to have a harder time reaching new, younger readers.

Stepping outside comfort zones — trying new stuff, going to new places — can be as uncomfortable to a news media organisation as it is to anyone, so people want to do it with something or someone with which they are secure. Kauppalehti experienced this with one of its core themes: investing its own savings.

The campaign ran on Kauppalehti's Web site and across social media, with particular success on Instagram.
The campaign ran on Kauppalehti's Web site and across social media, with particular success on Instagram.

Recent reports in Finland show young people are increasingly interested in the stock market. Unlike their parents, they don’t get their market insights from business media but from social media influencers, podcasts, and blogs. The other distinct difference from earlier generations is that younger people are much more interested in the sustainability of their investments: Investing their savings responsibly is one way of observing society and making choices according to one’s life values.

Kauppalehti decided to broaden its already comprehensive reporting on the stock market with a new sustainability section. In cooperation with Sustainalytics, a global provider of ESG research, Kauppalehti provided ESG Risk Ratings on the most traded companies on Nasdaq Helsinki.

ESG Risk Ratings are designed to help investors identify and understand how environmental-, social-, or governance-related risks might affect performance of their portfolio companies. Kauppalehti was the first financial media in Finland to provide this kind of data to support sustainable investment decisions.

The risk rating was followed with numerous stories on how companies deal with environmental, human capital, diversity, and governance matters — or how they don’t. The stories brought up the financial risk of companies not operating in a totally responsible manner, but also underlined the hope for developing policies and in transparent reporting.

This was the part where Kauppalehti was secure, but marketing the new section got us out of our comfort zone. We took the idea from popular true crime and told stories of famous corporate crime: cases from the oil industry to banking and stories of bad corporate governance to human rights. Looking back one or two decades, the cases weren’t hard to find.

Furthermore, the design of the campaign differed from Kauppalehti’s normal offerings to highlight this was a fresh outlook to our reporting.

We ran the campaign on our own site but also took it to social media. Instagram has not been our strong point. But with these stories, we have succeeded to reach and engage a totally new audience. We created an Instagram Stories quiz where people can guess the company in question and got record high response numbers.

We also contacted influencers with a credible history of posting about the stock market and investments. Sustainability as a subject was very well received, and we successfully cooperated with a few of the key influencers in the field. Kauppalehti got more trial subscriptions than ever before from social media.

It is obviously a long-term project to reach and engage a new, younger audience. One campaign or one section does not do the trick. Nevertheless, this was a very encouraging project with an important message.

About Johanna Suhonen

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