State Street Corporation introduced a new ETF (exchange-traded fund) on the eve of International Women’s Day. The SHE fund (with the ticker symbol SHE) invests in organizations with a high percentage of women in leadership. To draw attention to the fund—and the power of women in business—State Street commissioned a bronze statue, “Fearless Girl,” which has since become world famous. The success of State Street’s efforts has earned it first place in the “Viral Campaign” category of Ragan’s 2017 PR Daily Awards.
The SHE fund is as distinctive as the statue, given that 25 percent of Russell 3000 companies don’t have even a single woman on their boards and fewer than 15 percent of boards are female among nearly 60 percent of the index—all this despite multiple studies that demonstrate organizations with higher percentages of women in leadership roles outperform their competition.
The statue was installed in the dead of night to be there when people began arriving on the job on Wall Street the next morning. “Chin high, hands on hips, she stands for the power of women today and tomorrow,” is how State Street describes the statue. She faces the iconic statue of the Wall Street bull as if staring it down.
The statue went viral in a big way. It led to more than 1 billion Twitter impressions in the first 12 hours and 3.3 billion in five weeks. The organization’s share of voice soared 379 percent, and the SHE Fund average daily trading volume increased 384 percent in the first three days.
State Street Corporation was mentioned in 3,400 articles and more than 1,500 broadcast segments. Reproductions of the statue are available (at $6,500 a pop), and the statue is still in place while a permanent home is decided. Most impressive, though: A year after the statue was installed, State Street reported that 152 of the organizations it targeted have added a woman to the board, and 34 others have committed to doing so. That’s going viral with the most positive outcome one can imagine.
Congratulations to State Street Corporation for its win.