The industry did not lack for trade execution providers in the early 2010s when DASH Financial launched its multi-asset platform. Not only was the space crowded with bulge bracket brokers as well as incumbent agency-only providers, but the buy side — reeling from shrunken commission wallets in the wake of the financial crisis and increased technology and regulatory costs — was struggling to pay its existing brokers, let alone a new one. Despite these headwinds, DASH managed to carve out a profitable niche, especially in the complex U.S. options market, by casting itself as the tech-savvy upstart. But DASH felt the opportunity at hand was far greater, and turned to Forefront to give it the PR push it needed to help take its business to the next level.
In addition to a cutting-edge technology platform, DASH also brought an approach that at the time was revolutionary. By providing traders an unprecedented level of transparency and control over how their trades were routed, DASH enabled traders to develop highly bespoke strategies and then continue to hone and refine them over time. While this has since become more standard, it most certainly was not when DASH pioneered the model. Forefront set out to drive industry conversations about the novel approach to trade execution being taken by next-generation brokers like DASH. Not only would this drive client demand, but it would also help lay the foundation for the aggressive inorganic growth strategy DASH believed it could leverage.
Serving as DASH’s outsourced marketing department, Forefront sought to put the strategy in action across four primary program areas — media relations, thought leadership content, live events and brand. While the steady cadence of announcements, PR placements around traders’ demands for full order routing transparency, social media content and speaking engagements were initially intended to position co-founder and CEO Peter Maragos as one of the option trading industry’s foremost experts, over time the strategy shifted and the spotlight was shined on the broader team. With all aspects of the marketing and PR program, the focus was on how DASH empowered its clients, culminating with the 2019 launch of a new website — built to look like a companion to DASH’s elegant and sleek web-based client portal — along with the tagline “With Dash, You Know.”
“Forefront understands our business at a level I’ve not seen before in a marketing and PR firm, and consequently has been able to serve as a true strategic partner to DASH on our journey,” said DASH President Stino Milito. “Our brand has become a massive point of differentiation for us, and Forefront’s played a big part in building it.”