Posted by: Ryan Barr in: Financial Services - Media Relations -
Warren Buffett famously said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it?” Who am I to disagree with Mr. Buffett? According to the Reputation Institute, intangible value-including corporate reputation-makes up 81 percent of market value. This means a one-point increase in reputation yields a 2.6 percent increase in market cap, which translates into an average of $1 billion.
However, corporate and financial communicators know that if a company is going to market now, it doesn’t have 20 years to build its reputation. With 24/7 media, globally connected social networks and online marketplaces, investors, influencers, customers and employees can alter the perception of a corporate brand in the blink of an eye.
As corporate reputation impacts valuation, communicators must close the gap between the reality of a company’s current operational status and the perceptions of key external stakeholders. And, the vast array of external influences can interfere with a company’s ability to control its narrative. Given this, it’s more important than ever for a company to use all the tools at its disposal. Where to begin?
It starts with storytelling. Financial and corporate communicators need to build compelling narratives rooted in data that show an obtainable goal, all to be measured by a roadmap that tracks a company’s progress. For all companies, financials are the obvious-and sometimes most critical gauge of success. It’s fairly straightforward: tell your stakeholders what you’re going to do: increase sales, control expenses and grow the bottom line; execute your plan; and then report back. Unfortunately, financials are only one metric used to measure a company’s success and not all companies are at the same moment in their lifecycle.
Posted by: Sean Mogle in: Financial Services -
For investment firms looking to sell their expertise, a successful pitch ultimately boils down to the numbers: whoever can offer the best performance at the lowest price should, in theory, win the business. Of course, in practice, it does not always happen this way – for a variety of reasons. One area where some buy-side firms tend to slip up (especially those involved in complex, quantitative-driven strategies, aka “quants”) is failing to have a cohesive, credible story behind the numbers. No matter how sophisticated the underlying models and methodologies, no matter how impressive the technology or how rapid the calculations, clients are, above all else, investing in a story. If the story doesn’t resonate, they will put their money elsewhere. From a marketing perspective, here are three lessons that can be applied in telling a firm’s stories.
The Power of Personality
As in any sales effort, personality counts for a lot. People want to know the who behind the product, sophisticated as it may be. An investment firm selling highly technical, quantitative expertise should incorporate meaningful messaging about the firm and its people (beyond a numerical performance record) into its marketing efforts. For example, is there a compelling narrative behind the firm’s origins? Does the founder or fund manager have an interesting career trajectory, skill set or driving passion that could relate back to the types of products the firm offers? These are the kinds of narratives that can be woven into sales messaging and reinforced by external PR efforts such as CEO/manager profiles and/or stories about the firm placed in top-tier financial media. Executive visibility initiatives, which might include securing speaking opportunities at major industry conferences and events, are another way quantitative firms can put a human face on their strategies, which may help boost both leads and sales.
Don’t Oversell the Tech
Related to the need to humanize the sales process, quant shops also tend to rely too heavily on technological superiority as their main point of differentiation. When everyone is affirming that theirs is the fastest, cheapest and most assured way of achieving performance, the message loses some of its punch. This is especially true for tech-driven strategies, which can be exceedingly difficult to communicate and even more difficult to understand. That’s not to say firms should not tout their innovation; they should. It must be clear, however, how the technology fits into the bigger performance picture. In other words, the tech story, if there is one, should be strong enough to pass the “so what?” test. Achieving meaningful visibility for a firm’s product/tech story can be a helpful component of a broader PR program.
Posted by: AmberRoberts in: Financial Services -
It seems every day a new shiny tech company enters the scene, touting a solution to a problem that consumers may not even know they had. While banks have fully accepted that tech startups are friend not foe, the tough question to answer is which one is right for my organization? Bank and tech industry leaders sat down at Digital Banking 2018 to discuss criteria and best practices for finding the right tech partner. Here are our highlights:
- Know what you are looking for: Ask for customer feedback on potential new features. Have a clear vision internally about what you want to do to serve customer needs better, and then go seek that out with a laser focus.
- Find a thought partner: Look for a thought partner who respects you and the product roadmap. Ensure they understand your near- and long-term vision, which is key to determining if their technology is right for your business.