Posted by Jon Schubin on Tue, Mar 11 2014

All Posts by Jon Schubin

Five financial service communications trends to know right now

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Our mission – to help our clients build their business – never changes, but how we do it must constantly evolve. The media evolves and so must we.

A couple months into the New Year, here are five things I’m seeing become increasingly important.


Lose the voicemail. At Cognito, all phone extensions ring at the same time. We try to answer calls in two rings. I can’t remember the last time I got a voicemail. This year, I’ve stopped leaving them as well. Voicemail is time consuming, clunky and unnecessary in this day and age. The relevant information from the call – your phone number, company and the fact you called – is picked up by Caller ID. People will call back or expect an email.

Laugh a little. With Business Insider insurgent, Buzzfeed’s business channel proving itself a respectable source for news and The Onion continuing to come up with gems like this, humor has reached finance. While bad news should never be delivered with a wink – no one wants to hear about their layoff via GIF – adding a touch of humor to a pitch or release can be a way to highlight company culture and values without sending out a release touting “company culture and values.”

Real-time analytics. Clients no longer are willing to wait until the end of a release cycle to understand results. Public relations professionals need to be able to report to their bosses in the C-suite and in marketing – who are used to metrics – if an initiative (be it a press release, blog or interview) is working. Both proprietary platforms (like our own Cognito Analytics) and third party services (like bit.ly and Radian6) are no longer silo-ed in the social media departments and are becoming part of a larger communications function. Measurement is for more than the social media part of public relations.

Customize placed content. While newspapers and magazines erect paywalls to protect editorial content, some trade outlets are going free and inviting the public to create their own content (see Reddit’s recently launched “live threads”). These can be valuable opportunities, especially if the company in question has strict guidelines for what can go on the site. (Forbes, for example, sends out multiple contributor emails a week to make sure that ten different bloggers don’t write the same post or resort to shameless clickbait.) But increasingly these platforms are demanding exclusive content. Given limited executive time, communications professionals now have to get creative in modifying, adding or subtracting things from white papers and articles to get multiple hits in different outlets.

Just do it. Internal communications people are under more pressure than ever, as the function gets folded into social and marketing roles. More people want more press in different regions. Better internet video tools mean easier access but also more work from far-flung jurisdictions and time zones. Compliance being more powerful than ever has instituted new processes before material can go public. Increasingly, agencies need to develop innovative projects on spec or without full client briefs. The client is still actively involved, but they want to tweak an existing product rather than endlessly ideate.


The sixth trend could easily have been engagement, so I’ll turn this space over to you. What trends are you seeing in financial services communications this year?

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Financial Services,
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