Financial Services Reputation Work Ahead

March 29, 2012

Financial Services Reputation Work Ahead

A Wall Street reputation study among marketing and communications executives at financial services firms was released this week.  When asked to rate themselves, only 34% gave themselves an above average grade while 9% gave themselves a grade of  “perfect.”  Wonder who those 9% are? The remainder — 57% — gave themselves average or below.  The survey by Makovsky and Company had some intriguing results:

  • 53% said that Occupy Wall Street impacted their business
  • 71% said that Occupy Wall Street will last beyond the upcoming election
  • 38% were surprised by Occupy Wall Street (time to be better prepared)
  • 74% believe that increased regulation of the industry will help to improve financial service firms’ reputations and rebuild trust with customers
  • 81% are worried about negative perceptions that exist about executive compensation
  • somewhat more than 40% believe that social media has a positive impact on their company’s reputation; over half only perceive a neutral effect (fair enough)

So what’s a company in the financial sector to do? According to the findings, executives believe that management leadership, quality products and service, and a focus on reputation management will help restore reputation.

The killer finding is that 96% of executives agree that the industry brought the problems on themselves. You don’t get too much higher than 96%. That’s a outright acknowledgement.

Of course, today I saw an article saying that college students are still dying to get into the financial services industry. Many are waiting to hear news of summer internships and they are eager to make their way to the the cavernous alleys of Wall Street. So be it. However, I do think that this is the time for financial services firms to hunker down and repair their reputations for the long-term. I vote “yes.”

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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