Communication Matters

Tips to Overcome Communication Challenges

5/11/2016

Tips to Overcome Communication Challenges

Communication

The financial industry has a major responsibility to communicate information in a clear and usable way—to regulators, investors, and clients. But communications strategies are often a second thought, seen as a way to achieve some other business goal. And that approach may be a mistake.

Suzanne Turner, president of Washington D.C. communications firm Turner 4D, says the biggest mistake executives make about communication is failure to consider it a key part of strategic planning.

“Communications should never be a last-minute, sometimes effort,” she stresses. “It needs to be part of ongoing business planning.”

Turner 4D handles communications planning and strategy for organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Monetary Fund, and the Kronos Company. We asked Turner about key communications challenges advisors and asset managers face. Here’s what we learned:

Consistency – in messages and how they’re delivered – is essential to:

  • Create trust: leave the impression that you’re steady and reliable.
  • Establish brand identity: help your message rise above the chatter.
  • Navigate course corrections: place changes in the context of an established message to make them clear, coherent, and reassuring.

Turner’s advice is straightforward: “Strategic thinking saves time, money, and headaches.”

Regular planning around your company’s goals, direction, and messaging ensures steady, consistent communications. And that leads to smoother sailing through all types of changes – from the news cycle, funding rounds, or market fluctuations.

What can you do to make sure your strategy works? Turner notes that good communication programs can take many different forms. But using data in the right context fosters trust in clients and demonstrates your reliability.

Data needs:

  • Explanation
  • Interpretation
  • Context

In other words, data doesn’t just speak for itself. Your communications need to put market movements in context and shine light on stocks or industries that have been in the news. Explaining reasons for portfolio shifts and the logic behind your long-term holdings helps your investors see you as steady, yet responsive.

In short, ongoing investor education makes for better-informed investors, and gives clients confidence in you – through good times and bad.

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