For financial institutions, the approach matters

This month's corporate analysis looked at the ways both traditional financial institutions and some of the newer financial service companies, like Mint.com, are...

This month's corporate analysis looked at the ways both traditional financial institutions and some of the newer financial service companies, like Mint.com, are using communications to make their way in this recession.

One PR pro who has been following this topic, Dan Simon, MD at Cognito, says that the divide was not just the difference between the old and the new, but also the positioning.

"The crisis in confidence in financial services effectively created a fork in the road for banks and financial institutions in terms of how to position themselves," he says. " Some banks stressed age and stability," such as Bank of America which stressed qualities like stability in its marketing efforts. On the other hand, Simon looks at ETrade and their 'spokes-baby.'

"When the market turned sour, it would've been easy for ETrade to boot the baby," Simon says. "But they stuck with the irreverent approach."

Simon adds that Cognito has worked with both large financial companies and those that are up and coming. And while he wouldn't say that there was one right way to approach the topic, he did say that size plays a role in decision making.

"Bigger, larger, more established financial institutions are more set in their ways," he says. "It takes less time for decisions to be made at smaller firms and younger firms."

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