All public relations firms are the same… right?

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“It’s hard to stand out in such an overwhelmingly cluttered marketplace.”

As I reflected on a blog post written by our client Joe Duran, CEO of United Capital, his comments about the noise in the industry rang true to me. His most recent entry on the blog that he hosts on got me to think of some of the realities of managing client reputations here at Gregory FCA, a top financial services PR firm.

His post about developing a unique voice in a sea of copycats struck a nerve. I realized that Joe, along with many others in the industry, spends a lot of time thinking about what makes them different in their approach and strategy and exactly how clients, prospects and partners realize and embrace that uniqueness. Joe talks about how a name does not make a brand — the company’s actions do. He also declares that for a company to become exceptional, it has to be original in all that it does.

When I consider the many RIAs, mutual fund companies, and others tied to the investment industry that have relied on us to amplify their message, Joe stands tall among those who “get it.” What’s more, he’s helped me strengthen my belief that for an RIA, consumer electronics manufacturer or even a widget maker to have a successful public relations campaign, they must have an authentic message and deliver on the promise of that message.

If an RIA wants to earn game-changing coverage to refine and accomplish long-term business objectives, having a communications firm that has “been there and done that” makes all the difference. But finding those firms isn’t easy.

If you search “public relations firms” on Google, a remarkable 64,100,000 results are offered. If you’re smart enough to search “financial public relations firms,” you’ve narrowed your search by 73 percent and now only need to sort through a manageable 17,200,000 results. 

Certainly, you want a firm that has done it before and has represented a number of RIA, asset managers, and mutual fund companies. But still, there are pretenders… So how do you ensure you’re finding a true communications partner for your firm or fund? Here are the five surefire questions that will flesh out the real PR firms in financial services:

  1. Share with me a time when you faced a compliance issue and how you got around, over and through it to deliver impactful media coverage?
  2. What has been the biggest sea change in financial services public relations and how has your firm adapted and advanced its capabilities to meet this changing environment?
    Hint: It has to do with the evisceration of traditional media and the rise of social and digital communications.
  3. What three ways would you recommend leveraging media coverage in order to differentiate my firm once exposure happens?
  4. How can we compress time when getting a PR campaign up and running and of value to the firm?
  5. How do you generate media coverage when we have no hard news to release or share with the media?

For Joe Duran, his view points to advisors’ real need to make your marketing about the client experience of your services. For our firm to maintain our standing as a top financial services PR firm, we aim to do the same.