NEW YORK: Financial journalists may seem relatively content with
the PR done by banks, but most do not credit PR agencies for helping to
improve bank communications.
These are among the findings of a survey by Global Financial
Communications Network, a group of nine PR firms. It also found that
levels of satisfaction varied significantly from country to country.
"The increasing development of products that banks are investing in
right now and their increasing international involvement has led most
banks to beef up their communications abilities, and has forced them to
communicate better with the press," said Martin Mosbacher, chairman and
managing partner of Trimedia, the US member of the network.
A major lesson from the survey for PR firms, Mosbacher added, is that
journalists will quickly turn away from agencies that don't know enough
about their financial clients. "All too often, reporters don't get what
they're looking for from PR agencies," he said.
The survey, conducted from September though October 2001, found that 63%
of journalists rated banks as either good or excellent in the overall
effectiveness of their corporate communications. Also, 59% of
journalists surveyed said that communications by banks had improved over
the past year.
Journalists most often ask banks for information on company strategy,
analyst research, and news about deals.
For the survey, 71 journalists were interviewed one-on-one in Belgium,
France, Germany, Britain, Spain, Switzerland, and the US.
Only 40% of US journalists rated communications from banks as above
That contrasted with 78% of all journalists who rated US banks as either
good or excellent. Of US journalists surveyed, 60% said communications
from banks had improved in the past year.
In Britain, 57% of journalists said banks have a good understanding of
what reporters want. More than half of those surveyed in Britain said
communications by banks had improved over the past year.
German journalists find their banks uncooperative or closed-off when it
comes to revealing bad news. Of German journalists surveyed, 54% said
banks' communications have not improved over the past year. German
journalists tend to look to secondary sources of information on banks
far more than reporters in other countries.
By contrast, in France, journalists believe they have good access to
senior bank management, with 62% of French journalists rating banks'
senior management communications as either good or excellent. In
addition, 46% of French journalists said working with a PR agency led to
an improvement in overall communications for banks.
HOW WELL BANKS COMMUNICATE
63% of journalists rate banks as good or excellent in overall
59% of journalists say that during the past year, banks have improved
74% of journalists rate facilitating direct contact with senior
management as very important
77% rate responding rapidly to requests for information as very
93% of journalists surveyed seek information from banks at least once a
68% seek information on company strategy
61% seek analyst research
55% seek information on deals
52% rate press releases as either good or excellent
79% rate press conferences as either good or excellent
Source: GFC/Net Survey 2001, How Well Banks Communicate:
An International Study of Financial Journalists.