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Industry Insights

Effective Communications & Media Relations Strategies During Financial Markets Turmoil

12 June 2023 by Max Forsyth


The recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Credit Suisse has sent shockwaves through the global financial markets. As the dust settles, banking corporate communications professionals must step up to the plate to communicate effectively with the media, customers, stakeholders, and target audiences. This blog post will explore how communication pros in the banking sector can protect and enhance their brand's reputation amidst the current financial turmoil, using data, insights, and examples of successful corporate communications.

Be Transparent and Swift in Responding to the Crisis

When a crisis like the collapse of SVB and Credit Suisse occurs, the first thing stakeholders and customers want is clear and transparent information. By addressing the situation promptly and providing regular updates, banks can maintain trust and confidence. For example, when Wells Fargo faced a scandal in 2016, the bank’s CEO, John Stumpf, quickly took responsibility and apologized, which helped to minimize reputational damage.

Leverage Data and Insights to Inform Communication

During financial turmoil, it's essential for banking corporate communications professionals to use data and insights to inform their messaging. By utilizing market analysis, customer feedback, and industry trends, banks can craft targeted, relevant messages that resonate with their audiences. For example, during the 2008 financial crisis, JPMorgan Chase effectively used data to reassure customers and stakeholders of the bank's stability and resilience.

Demonstrate Empathy and Show Genuine Concern

In times of crisis, empathy and genuine concern can go a long way in strengthening relationships with customers and stakeholders. Banks should demonstrate that they understand the challenges their customers face and are committed to helping them navigate these difficult times. For instance, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several banks, including Bank of America and Citigroup, introduced financial relief programs for customers and small businesses.

Collaborate with the Media and Keep Them Informed

Working with the media is a critical component of effective corporate communications during financial turmoil. Banks should maintain open lines of communication with journalists and provide them with accurate, up-to-date information. By collaborating with the media, banks can ensure that their side of the story is heard and that misinformation is minimized. For example, Goldman Sachs has a strong media relations team that works closely with journalists to ensure accurate reporting and to maintain the bank's reputation.

Reinforce Your Brand Values and Showcase Corporate Social Responsibility

During financial crises, it's more important than ever for banks to reinforce their brand values and showcase their commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR). By highlighting positive actions and initiatives, banks can demonstrate their commitment to the well-being of their customers, employees, and communities. For example, Barclays Bank's "LifeSkills" program, aimed at helping young people develop essential skills for employment, has been a highly successful CSR initiative that has helped bolster the bank's reputation.

In conclusion, navigating financial markets turmoil can be a daunting task for banking corporate communications professionals, but by implementing strategic, empathetic, and data-driven approaches, they can effectively safeguard and enhance their brand's reputation. By employing these strategies and learning from successful examples, banking corporate communications professionals can navigate the challenges of financial turmoil and emerge with a more resilient and trusted brand.

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