The Wall St. Meltdown and What it Means for PR

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[image: NYTimes]

Is there only so much a communications program can do in the wake of one of the biggest financial crisis’ since the Great Depression? Many would argue that a time like this is when firms need PR even more than when things are going well. If anything, we’ll likely see more of the statement, “A spokesperson at [company name here] declined to comment,” in stories related to the crisis.

“Part of our job should always be to provide the reality check and do our best to control what it is we can control,” said Steve Frankel, partner at financial PR firm Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher in an interview with PRWeek‘s Tonya Garcia.

The Flack’s Peter Himler asks, “Could the best public/investor relations advice money can buy — from Kekst and Lipin to Frank and Abernathy –have saved these financial institutions? Was it even possible to keep M&L [Merril and Lehman] out of the harsh media spotlight?” We’d argue that no, it was not.

Greg Jawski, financial services specialist and VP with Ogilvy PR, tells PRNewser that changes in the financial landscape “have triggered a host of new challenges in providing media relations counsel and execution for financial services companies.”

According to Jaswki, “The growth and adoption of online sites coupled with the consolidation of traditional outlets has made placing stories increasingly difficult. In order to deliver true ROI and deliver on a communications plan for a corporate client, the agency side is tasked with understanding not just the business in which their client operates but also the technical details of the broader financial landscape.”