Blackstone Gets Social Branding Right

Since 2020, we’ve spent a fair amount of time espousing the belief that saying you’re a human financial brand is far less effective than showing you’re a human financial brand. COVID reshaped the communications landscape in favor of more informal, relatable, authentic digital communications that real people can connect with.  

Basically: The saying that “people buy from people, not companies” has never been more true.

Enter Blackstone. The private equity giant that everyone confuses with Blackrock. The company who, when we last checked in about them, was embroiled in some sort of weird and wonderful debacle surrounding oat milk that had thrust them unwillingly into the spotlight. 

Well, much more recently, Blackstone has been getting marketing – especially social marketing – right. Here are a few ways they’re doing just that.


It All Starts with a Holiday Video

If you’re only willing to spend 5 more minutes with this blog post, do it like this: Watch this video

Blackstone’s holiday video in 2023 was epic to say the least (genius would be a more accurate term.) It’s funny, incredibly authentic, semi-self-deprecating, lighthearted and culturally relevant, all at once. The engagement with the video online speaks for itself, with over 15,000 likes and nearly 1,000 reshares across LinkedIn. 

Here’s what so good about it – you’re watching some of the world’s most talented and well-known private equity investors having fun. Being themselves (as much as they can be). Poking fun at their own brand (“We’re not Blackrock!”). And going really big, in a really relevant way, by embracing the Taylor Swift fandom that was so synonymous with 2023. 

Few financial companies are willing to “take the suits off” and have fun like this. But this video shows just how successful that can be.


Getting “Redacted” on Social

Continuing the trend, Blackstone has begun posting videos that take you behind the scenes “between meetings”. These are informal, highly relatable moments where you hear from a leader emerging from a key meeting and talking about some of the learnings along the way.

The initiative itself is smart enough. Instead of formal thought leadership videos, you get a chance to really connect with the thinkers at Blackstone. But perhaps even more endearing is a moment that happens about 30 seconds into the below post – you’ll see a CIA-like “redaction” that suddenly happens which would make any person in the financial services industry immediately chuckle.

What we love about this is that it’s using the guard rails of the financial world to Blackstone’s advantage; instead of going through annoying editing and endless disclosure that makes the video feel like a “tsk, tsk,” they’re making everyone laugh about it. And keeping their partners in compliance happy in the process. 

Sometimes making people smile is an even better objective than snagging clicks.


Building The Brand of Their Leadership

An extension of building a human brand – especially in the financial services sector – is building the brand of the actual humans that work there. In this case, Blackstone has been doing an exceptional job building President and Chief Operating Officer Jon Gray’s profile. It may be Jon’s trips to the White House or appearances on social media that have helped amass over 95,000 followers on LinkedIn. But even better was going behind the scenes with Jon to discuss Earning Days. 

Read the language of Jon’s post. The president of a private equity firm giving “shout outs” is pretty rare these days. Watch as emojis flit across the scene to add some fun to the video itself. And at the end, you’ll hear that this guy just needs a drink after a busy day – don’t we all?


In Closing

Social is a different kind of animal that continues to grow in its importance. If you aren’t finding ways to bring the real essence of your culture – your people and their unique character – to this channel, you’re missing out. Be human, be relatable, and make social a podium for your people. It’s a way to build a real brand connection that so many companies are seeking to achieve.


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