Behind the Headlines With Adam Friedman
Adam Friedman, owner of Adam Friedman Associates, says maintaining a brand’s reputation is a constant process and can be a challenge, especially for financial companies. In this interview, he discusses why financial firms are under attack, how brands should respond to social media crises and what the key factor is for protecting a brand’s reputation.
1. What drew you to the field of communication?
My skill set includes strong writing and speaking, both essential for a communication professional. In addition, it is a field that is intellectually stimulating and constantly changing, both of which appeals to my interests.
2. What’s the best lesson about PR and communication you’ve learned throughout your career?
The best lesson I have learned is to put myself in my clients’ shoes, making sure that I understand their challenges and needs from their perspective rather than mine.
3. What are some of the biggest PR challenges financial companies face?
Today, financial firms are under attack. One has only to listen to the rhetoric of the presidential candidates to hear evidence of that or watch TV shows like “Billions.”
Financial firms have to demonstrate that what they do is essential to the capitalist system, which is the backbone of our economy and society.
4. How do you approach strategic communication for a Fortune 500 company versus a small startup? What do you differently? What do you do the same?
Today, Fortune 500 companies are on the defensive because of the general anti-business climate in the country. The focus of their strategic communication has to be about how their business serves society as well as their bottom line.
For small companies, the challenge is for them to gain recognition in a crowded marketplace and establish a unique and unassailable position.
5. Today, one comment on social can impact a brand’s reputation. How do you combat that?
Monitoring social media is now an essential element in every communication program. This diligence requires timely and substantive response to attacks on a brand. But it also means that professionals need to make distinctions, recognizing that not every attack warrants a response.
6. Do you have any advice for companies looking to strengthen their brand reputation?
A brand’s reputation is quite fragile and requires constant attention and reinforcement. A key factor in maintaining a reputation is consistency throughout all communication. The other important factor is enhancing the reputation through effective thought leadership and content creation.
7. How has PR changed over the years? What are brands doing differently today that they didn’t do in the past?
Clearly, social media has been the most transformative factor in the last decade and exerts a growing influence on the way brands are perceived. Brand expression today is on multi-platforms, each of which requires different content to reach new and more critical audiences.
Rapid Fire Round
1. My biggest pet peeve is…clients who are unresponsive.
2. I always thought I’d be…a professor, which I now do as well.
3. If I won the lottery, I’d…continue working because I love what I do.
4. My daily newspaper of choice is…the New York Times.
5. I laugh most at…the antics of my grandchildren.
6. The thing that gets me up in the morning is…the challenges of running and growing my business.
Image via Adam Friedman
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