*Before addressing the third annual Los Angeles Times Multicultural Business Forum, held at the California African American Museum,  Mandell Crawley, Global Chief Marketing Officer for Morgan Stanley, sat down for an exclusive interview with Michael Reel of Reel Urban News.

Morgan Stanley has long been one of the global leaders in investment banking.

“It’s a privilege,” exclaimed Crawley. “My firm has been around for 80 years servicing clients that are made up of institutions, corporations, governments and individual investors.”

Maintaining Morgan Stanley’s worldwide recognition and appeal is one of Crawley’s top priorities.

“The last couple of years I’ve been Chief Marketing Officer and that’s a great deal of responsibility because the Morgan Stanley brand has been its greatest asset. How we position the brand in the marketplace with clients and employees and those in our target audience currently not banking with us is a really important level of responsibility.”

Because the term “branding” in recent years has become a part of the American lexicon, we asked Crawley to provide perspective on branding.  “It depends on who you ask,” he said. “But for me it’s about an experience.”

“The brand of our firm is driven by people.”

Although our time with Crawley was brief, the executive explained the appeal of the Morgan Stanley brand to employees, clients and potential clients.

“Your perception of Morgan Stanley, if you are an investment banking client, is driven by investment bankers. If you are a member of our wealth management business, your perception of Morgan Stanley is driven by our financial advisors that are seeing them all over the country. If you’re in our investment management business and you’re a client of our firm, the brand of the firm is driven by our portfolio manager and our sales people.”

Crawley is the first to admit branding is more than about a logo or signage. “The brand is all about what experience does a client have with you and what sort of feeling does that conjure up as a result of that relationship.”

A twenty-five-year Morgan Stanley veteran, Crawley credits the majority of his success to both personal and professional relationships.

“Pat Summitt, who’s the great women’s basketball coach at Tennessee for many years – she was being honored a few years ago and one of the things she said was, ‘You win in life with people.’ That resonated with me and that’s incredibly true.

“To have any success of any sort, you have to have a support network.”

Crawley shared why Morgan Stanley lent its name, brand and influence to the L.A. Times Multicultural Business Forum.

“Events like this for our firm are really important,” said Crawley. “Morgan Stanley has aspirations to be the firm of choice both in terms of talent and attracting diverse and multicultural talent and clients.”

michael reel and mandall crawley

Mandell Crawley, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Morgan Stanley (R) pictured with Michael Reel, Reel Urban News. Photo Credit: Reggie Simon/Reel Urban Images

“Innovation doesn’t happen without an idea. In order for that idea to become real and truly transformational and have a meaningful impact on our communities and our day to day lives, you need capital.” Mandell Crawley, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Morgan Stanley