Makovsky Study: Reputation Problems Continue to Plague Wall Street


The latest Wall Street Reputation study from Makovsky Integrated Communications is in, and its results won’t surprise many.

In short, the financial industry still suffers from the effects of the 2008 financial crisis–and 81% of communications executives at Wall Street firms believe that this fact continues to damage businesses’ reputations as well as their bottom lines.

This isn’t just about political populism, either: it affects shareholder perceptions.

The most surprising finding in the study? The average business loss reported by participants was “significantly higher” for the past twelve months than during the preceding year.

According to 64% of the 225 executives and managers interviewed for this Ebiquity survey, the biggest reason for these problems is a negative perception of the financial industry itself. The next two factors on the list come from the same place with the same root cause:

  • Investigations, fines and/or lawsuits (55%)
  • Capital and liquidity challenges (53%)

Execs report that reputation has understandably become a top priority at many of the firms involved in the survey; just under half report a loss of market share that could leave their businesses vulnerable to competitors.

Here’s the most important finding to us:

  • The number of execs who listed “improving the company’s reputation to increase sales” as the greatest challenge moving forward was 300% greater in 2014 than in 2013.

Makovsky SVP Scott Tangney gave us his take on the results:

“It’s clear that financial brands need to connect better with their customers to win back their trust not only for the brand but the entire industry. That is a very challenging task in the current sour climate. In addition to improving customer satisfaction through better service, value pricing and innovation, banks and other financial services firms need to improve the satisfaction and trust of the people that interact with their customers each day, their employees.

CMOs and heads of public relations and IR also told us that a highly visible issues management program around customer-centric needs is also critical for rebuilding reputation. Taken together,  marketing and communications executives at financial brands believe that these initiatives will help to improve business and thereby financial performance.

The Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Study has collected the best practices and emerging trends in marketing and communications in the financial industry over the past three years.  We’ll release those best practices for 2014 in the near future.”

Here’s the full infographic: