Unless you have spent the last couple of weeks completely unplugged in the wilderness or you curl up under a rock at night, you’ve heard about the turmoil the global stock market has experienced recently.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen the S&P 500 Index fall into a correction for the first time since 2011 and a mind-bending 1,000-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average during the opening minutes of trading. That was followed by Wall Street’s biggest one-day gain in four years a few days later as trading increased amid expectations that the Federal Reserve may not raise interest rates during September after all.
It’s been quite a ride.
The recent volatility has been called “unprecedented” and “historic” by some market commentators, while others have insisted this is nothing we haven’t seen before and that it’s just “part of the process.”
Working with several partners in the financial sector, we have been curious about their take on the market’s activity and what advice they have been passing on to clients. The answers struck a chord because they apply in a public relations and marketing sense and correlate with the kind of feedback we give our partners and prospects every day.
Here are four PR and marketing lessons from the recent stock market volatility:
It’s All About Communication
Any investment advisory professional worth their salt will tell you that their job is about managing money, yes, but more importantly it’s about managing relationships with their clients and managing expectations. In order to do those things communication is paramount – especially when the market is in turmoil.
The same is true in PR and marketing. To fully support the business goals of our partners, we pride ourselves on creating open lines of communication. From establishing goals and benchmarks, to developing a customized strategy and identifying the right audiences and opportunities, we don’t succeed without consistent communication. Communication plays a key role in everything we do and without it we would be lost.
Diversification is Key
A well-diversified investment portfolio can help provide protection during downturns in the market and will also yield better long-term results. To properly diversify your portfolio, you want a strong mix of asset classes that includes equities, fixed-income and cash. Your portfolio should include a balance of stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, small caps, medium caps, large caps, corporate bonds, municipal bonds and so forth. Or so we’ve been told…
The same logic applies to your overall public relations and marketing efforts. An integrated strategy that includes PR and digital/inbound marketing is the best way to generate awareness of your brand or company. Just like you wouldn’t want to concentrate your investments in any one particular area, your PR and marketing efforts shouldn’t be limited to one specific focus either. Your “portfolio” should include strategic media relations, branding and marketing collateral, a dynamic and responsive website with a company blog, a social media strategy and much more.
Make Necessary Adjustments
The key to finding success with any strategy is making the necessary adjustments along the way. When there is a substantial market correction, your investment advisor may recommend making some minor adjustments to take advantage of the falling stock prices on the way down or to ensure you are not overinvested in a certain area.
When it comes to your PR and marketing efforts, you will want to rethink your strategy and make adjustments along the way, as well. If your news announcements aren’t attracting enough media attention, you may not be getting in front of the right reporters. If your blog isn’t performing the way you want it to, chances are your content isn’t connecting with your target audience. The ability to track your results and adjust when needed is essential to reaching your PR and marketing goals.
Stay Focused on the Long Term
A prevailing theme we hear from finance professionals is that it’s critical to focus on your long-term objectives in order to achieve the results you are looking for. Keeping your goals in perspective – and not reacting to short-term market variations – will serve you well over time, whether you are planning for retirement, saving for your children’s college, or looking to purchase a new home.
You need to adopt a similar mindset when it comes to your PR and marketing efforts. It’s important to keep a long-term perspective when employing certain strategies to promote your brand. PR and marketing are long-term plays and it takes time to build a foundation for success. Increased awareness and brand credibility is developed over time, using a comprehensive, multi-channel PR and marketing approach to reach multiple audiences.
Whether you are an investor or a marketer, the ability to communicate, diversify, adjust and stay focused will increase your odds for long-term success.