Long an established brand with institutional investors, State Street Boston Corp. wants to raise its profile with the general public.
The bank's investment arm, State Street Global Advisors, developed the ideas behind a series of "Your Money Matters" booklets, and Time-Life Books published them. Last year State Street started distributing copies to 401(k) participants, of which it has two million.
Now the booklets are being sold too-on a test basis-through retail outlets such as shopping clubs and bookstores, to people who are totally unfamiliar with the State Street name.
"State Street is not a commonly recognized brand," said Clark Kellogg, a Global Advisors principal and founding director of State Street's think tank, Innovation and Communications Lab, San Francisco. "Our hope is this gets the word out the long way around the block. We do expect to get an incremental brand build out of this."
The series titles include "Paying for College," "Basics of Investing," "Credit Basics," "Financing a Home," and "Estate Planning." State Street hired Marc Robinson, a senior writer of "Wall Street Journal's Guide to Understanding Money and Markets," to author the booklets.
State Street Global Advisors also plans to make the booklets available on its site on the World Wide Web within the next six months.
"What they're trying to do is subliminal advertising. It's getting indirect brand advertising," said Brannon Cashion, an image consultant for financial institutions at Charlotte, N.C.-based Addison Whitney.
Although State Street Global Advisors manages more than $300 billion of assets, many retail consumers do not know the firm, Mr. Cashion added. The Time-Life series could help, he said.
"It's so people can say, 'Hey, I recognize that-I have it at home,'" he said.
State Street's chief executive, Marshall N. Carter, is a well-known advocate of educating investors. A champion of privatizing at least part of the Social Security system, he co-wrote "Promises to Keep: Savings Social Security's Dream" with William G. Shipman, a Global Advisors principal.
"We're talking about self-sufficiency. When Marsh and Bill wrote that book, they were dealing with the same issue," Mr. Kellogg said. "We are dealing with it on the level of individual participants with books like these."
"We believe that an educated consumer is our best consumer. The long- term trend is the empowerment of the investor," he added.