CHICAGO: TD Ameritrade, the financial services group, has successfully used its sponsorship of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to tackle a variety of challenges facing its brand – and the sector more broadly.

Dedra DeLilli, director/corporate sponsorships and social media marketing at TD Ameritrade, told delegates at IEG's 2014 Sponsorship conference that its affiliation with the sporting body had been extremely beneficial.

"We faced a few challenges, not all that unique to us really – something that the financial industry faced over the last several years," she said.

Foremost among these was dealing with low levels of consumer trust in the category, which was a consideration even though TD Ameritrade had continued to perform well during the downturn.

"Whether or not you got bailed out by the government, we all got sort of bucketed in the same segment," said DeLilli. (For more, including details of how the company adapted its strategy between 2012 and 2014, read Warc's exclusive report: Making sponsorship "fit": TD Ameritrade and the 2014 Winter Olympics.)

Allying with the USOC – a relationship starting with the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and recently activated for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia – has enabled TD Ameritrade to stand apart from the crowd.

"We don't want to be Wall Street; we're Main Street. We serve the mass-affluent audience, so we're not going after the super-ultra-high-net worth clients," DeLilli said.

"We're going after everyday Americans. We want to talk to everyday Americans. We want to help everyday Americans be smarter, be more educated about their financial futures. And I think sometimes that gets lost."

Drawing an analogy between financial services and athletics also lets TD Ameritrade demonstrate how it can provide assistance to people who are "re-entering the market" following the recession.

"Consumers … are looking for advice; they are looking for validation," DeLilli said. "They really want to know that there's someone on their side who can validate what they're doing."

TD Ameritrade's campaign for the 2014 Winter Olympics also saw the firm drive awareness of its full suite of services, particularly focusing on long-term investing.

"We have strong associations with self-directed investing and 'do it yourself' investing," said DeLilli. "We are less-known as a place for long-term investing.

"We want to change that perception, because we do play in that space, and we play in that space in a big way."

Data sourced from Warc