Many of us likely heard the phrase “Don’t talk about money” from our parents while growing up. For adults working in the corporate world, however, that advice isn’t always practical. For communicators whose job is to manage their brand or organization’s reputation, the ability to disclose financial news transparently while instilling trust is an essential skill to have.
Cision recently interviewed Susan Donlan, Executive Vice President & Chief Communications Officer for KeyCorp, on her top considerations when communicating financial news. She outlined some of the industry’s biggest trending topics and how companies’ communications teams can make an impactful contribution to the conversation by providing both their expertise and well-researched data.
Tales for the Crypto Keepers. Cryptocurrency is one of the hottest topics in finance right now, so it’s beneficial for companies to be a part of the conversation rather than left out of it. The good news is that there isn’t one underlying narrative dominating the headlines, so your brand can bring its perspective to the discussion. As Donlan says, some are dismissing the importance of cryptocurrency while others are hailing it as the next great innovation.
Donlan says she does see an opportunity in discussing crypto, but she cautions that brands need to “understand where you can be impactful and get involved in a knowledgeable way.” Jumping into the conversation just for the sake of saying something isn’t beneficial and may cause you to lose credibility with your stakeholders.
All About ESG. At this point, companies should understand the benefits of continuously updating and communicating their environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies to their stakeholders. Donlan states that the biggest challenge of doing so is figuring out how to tell your ESG story in a meaningful way. She says you need to address each ESG pillar with equal importance and avoid getting pulled into the trending headlines. Brands need to be authentic in their commitment to ESG and understand where their strengths and weaknesses lie before they communicate an ESG-related message.
According to Donlan, established legacy companies have a lot to learn from how startups—fintechs in particular—communicate their ESG strategies. While it might be easier to build a modern ESG communications strategy from scratch than retrofitting messaging into a long-established comms plan, Donlan recommends adopting a more nimble, entrepreneurial approach to sharing ESG-related news.
What Journalists Want (To Know). We’re all aware that journalists are spread thin, and the pandemic has drastically changed how and where they work. So, if you want a journalist to pick up a story from your brand, you need to consider what their audience wants to read. They often want to understand how clients are behaving and what trends you’re observing, and it’s even better if you can provide them with research to back up your claims.
Another way to frame your company’s relationship with the media is to realize that reporters are often looking for your help to understand how your industry is changing and evolving and how your company is addressing those changes and trends. If you provide journalists with insight into your customers’ needs and pain points and illustrate how your company is solving them, getting coverage is a win-win for your brand and the reporter.
Companies might be tempted to respond to each trending financial headline, but brands should only address issues that are authentic to their story and where they can make a meaningful contribution to the discussion. Additionally, giving journalists data will provide their readers with valuable insights and strengthen your message.