How to implement a more diverse spokesperson strategy for your RIA firm

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When a new RIA or wealth management firm debuts, its reputation and image are often staked to the founder or founding partners. For firms looking to grow, creating a defined spokesperson strategy that includes a wider group of thought leaders can galvanize a change in how the firm is viewed by clients, prospects and centers of influence. Including team members with specific thought leadership, or those who play specialist roles in the overall client experience, can help underscore the value and depth of talent your firm offers.

For the average wealth advisory firm, marketing and promotion aren’t always primary focuses, so there can be uncertainty about how to implement a more inclusive spokesperson strategy. It’s important to showcase a deep bench of experts, yet not so much where the efforts to raise your firm’s prominence are diluted. If done right, your firm can shed the “one-man-band” perception and project a winning institutionalized image.

Below, we outline tips for diversifying your public platform, and when to use your all-star team members with the media.

Assembling the A-team. Before identifying who should be your go-to spokespeople for a media campaign, ask yourself why you are embarking on a public relations journey. Are you seeking to bolster firm visibility for recruitment purposes? If so, that might mean enlisting multiple advisers from your team to speak about practice management trends with the media, ultimately raising awareness of the firm for hiring purposes. Launching a new product or offering at your firm in the coming months? Perhaps it makes sense to have a spokesperson who has been “in the trenches” throughout the development of the product, and/or the CEO who can speak to not only the product, but larger growth story of the firm.

Work backward – look at what you ultimately want to accomplish with a PR campaign and then determine which spokesperson(s) can best disseminate that message over the short- and long-term.  

Have a niche? Speak to it. One Gregory FCA client is a successful RIA that strategically arrayed their spokespeople around core groups/concerns or demographics they can speak to in the media. For example, one of the advisers has a personal connection with special-needs planning, so much of his media relations program focuses on speaking to consumers about the intricate financial plans that families need to put in place. Another spokesperson is a female millennial advisor, so she is frequently quoted in outlets like DailyWorth and Girlboss on topics such as financial to-dos for young adults.

Whether they are personal or professional connections, determine if there are specific groups you want to target through your media relations campaign, and which spokesperson can best speak to applicable issues. This is a two-fold strategy – 1) a “niche spokesperson” delivers consistent messages to consumers or audiences that are important to the firm; and 2) there’s a strong chance that because of the niche (again through personal or professional connections), the spokesperson will be more passionate in speaking to such issues. This enthusiasm can resonate with reporters, resulting in better media relationships and more significant pieces of coverage to leverage with prospects and clients.

Take advantage of media training. When diversifying your spokesperson roster, it’s critical that everyone who is speaking to the media be properly trained. No matter how many spokespeople take part in the campaign, everyone should have a solid understanding of the messages the firm is trying to communicate, and essentially sing from the same sheet of music. Training also gives the team a better grasp of who can be best deployed for what kind of opportunities. For example, maybe the CEO is better at tackling impromptu Fox Business broadcast appearances, while the CIO is a bit more reserved and prefers phone calls with market reporters at The Wall Street Journal.

Not only does having a diverse set of spokespeople showcase your experts and their knowledge set, but also allows you to distribute multiple messaging points to key audiences, likely across more media outlets, ultimately bolstering visibility more effectively.