OPINION: How asset managers can get reputation management right

Pearl Kasirye

Author bio: Pearl M. Kasirye is a reputation manager and the Head of PR at Pearl Lemon PR. She has had clients featured in Forbes, TEDx, Business Insider, and other reputable publications to build their brand reputations. 

Asset management firms are built on trust, credibility, and strong reputations. Potential clients consider those three factors the most, and these factors are the main indicators of how successful your firm will be in the long run.

Unlike fashion brands and companies in the hospitality industry, asset management firms won’t benefit from lazy marketing campaigns. Your target audience is different because you offer services in the financial sector. You won’t get a lot of benefits from Facebook ads or Instagram reels because your ideal clients are wealthy, corporate individuals.

That means that your reputation needs to speak for itself. Thankfully online reputations can be carefully curated with the right strategies. As a reputation manager at Pearl Lemon PR, I’ll share some strategies that have worked well with our clients in the asset management sector.

Hone into your niche

Instead of offering all kinds of asset management services, try to hone into your niche by specialising in specific services. Do you have the most expertise in real estate? What about pension funds? Are you better at managing high-net-worth individuals?

By determining your niche, it becomes easier to understand exactly what kind of audience you’re targeting. This is important because our goal as reputation managers is to understand your ideal client and who you are to make those two elements connect seamlessly.

Target your niche audience & get press

If your niche is managing high-net-worth individuals (HNWI), you need to analyse which publications they trust, where they get their information, and how to communicate with them. HNWIs are most likely to read publications like The Financial Times, The Economist, Forbes, and other tier-1 publications covering finance and business.

Getting featured in one of those publications will position your firm as credible, trustworthy, and reputable.

This can be done in one of many ways:

Get a quote from the founder of your asset management firm or one of the consultants to weigh in on a trending topic in the financial industry. This quote will include their name and a link to the firm’s website. It will show a potential client that your firm has experts who understand the financial sector enough to be featured in The Economist (for example).

Get a full-page interview published in a reputable publication highlighting your firm’s unique approach to managing money. Share information about the firm’s philosophy, attention to detail, and customer care. This brings more transparency to your firm and helps you connect with your potential clients more when they know more about you and the company.

Write and publish research or other types of articles related to your niche. You can publish these on the firm’s blog or in other finance publications. The important thing is to showcase your expertise in the field and build trust over time.

There are different ways to get press or brand features that will benefit your overall reputation. The important thing is to remember that you must start thinking about reputation management before something bad happens.

Prepare for a storm beforehand

This is a common phrase that my team and I use when we discuss our reputation management clients. We realised that if they’d been doing reputation management before scandals or bad press occurred, then it would be easier to clean up their image.

The problem is, people in the financial services industry focus heavily on numbers and running the business without considering public perception and reputation management. It’s easy to leave this on the back burner and only take it seriously when one bad article makes you lose millions in annual revenue.

Yes, it can get that bad. We’ve encountered situations where a potential client reaches out to us because their page 1 results on Google are full of bad press that makes investors nervous. One thing we always tell them is to start working on their reputation management for 6 months+ to win back public trust and improve their brand image in the long run.

The best way to prepare for a storm beforehand is by keeping your pulse on the media and understanding the scandals and the issues that other firms are facing so you know what mistakes to avoid. It’s also recommended to have an in-house public relations or communications team that does the heavy lifting for you. Some firms prefer to hire PR agencies while others prefer to have an in-house team. The logistics are up to you, as long as you are doing something to get your firm’s name in the press on a consistent basis.

Right now, inflation is rising, banks are increasing interest rates, and the economy is in a crisis. This is your chance as an asset management firm to share your insights about how people can manage their money during this time. It’s an excellent time for you to get free press for your expertise in managing money during an economic crisis. You may not have looked at this economic situation as a PR opportunity, but it is an excellent opportunity. That’s why having a communications team is incredible because they have their pulse on the media and news so that they can position you to benefit from it.

You will build credibility, trust, popularity, and a good reputation if you are consistently featured in reputable publications for your niche. Get yourself and your firm’s name mentioned in big conversations so that you can attract big business and separate yourself from your competitors.

Key Takeaways

Asset management firms are not like retail stores that get reviews from each customer that are publicly available online. Asset management firms are intrinsically complex and delicate businesses that rely on building strong relationships with customers and maintaining a clean reputation.

By honing into your niche and fully understanding your target clients, what they like, what they read, and which publications they trust, you can start getting your name out there. Don’t be like most asset management firms, prepare for scandals or bad press before anything even happens. By doing this, you’ll be ahead of your competitors and you’ll position your firm to have a strong reputation that will stand the test of time.

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