Latest since the financial crisis, Wall Street organizations have a difficult stand with the public. The image is bad and this is probably an understatement. Over the past few years hardly any organization or leader of a Wall Street organization has made an effort to improve the public opinion. The opposite is the case. Just recently JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs provided the public again with bad ammunition against their brands and public images. The constant inactivity in brand maintenance is now starting to hurt the bottom lines. It can now be watched how some minor efforts have started taking place.
In the past those brands believed that their brands have nothing to do with the public, since only a few are catering their services to people on the street. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs don’t cater to the average Joe on the street and if, only in an indirect way. This assumption is as wrong as it gets. It took a while until this came to the surface, but since Facebook’s almost scandalous IPO even the last on Wall Street should have gotten the message. For those that haven’t understood why they have direct contact with the public and why this can hurt future business, here is the short and easy explanation:
Morgan Stanley is not a company that provides their major service to people on the street. Morgan Stanley, and so is Goldman Sachs, is one of the underwriters of Facebook’s IPO. Facebook is a “people website”. Facebook’s not undisputed reputation and brand was on the receiving end of lots of bad news due to the messed up IPO and the surfacing miserable business practices of the underwriters. In the old ways, before Facebook’s IPO, Morgan Stanley didn’t give a lot on the public’s opinion. They cashed in and with that the job is done. Facebook is now sitting and working to improve reputation and brand image. The problem for the underwriters in the future, if a company that caters to Main Street goes public and can’t afford to be involved with bad reputation, they might think twice whom they will involve as an underwriter. Morgan Stanley has certainly opened the door and delivered a sales pitch for the competition. That the eventual losses in losing just one case can end up in the billions is out of question. Multiply this by 2,3 or more and you get an astronomical number of losses. Are you a shareholder?
If you look at today’s social media efforts of some big Wall Street players you can easily break out in disbelieve. While all of the mentioned companies are geniuses in the financial markets and surely know their day-to-day business, dealing with the public and discovering where major problems screaming for pain relief is clearly not their strength. Looking at Morgan Stanley’s Twitter account makes one really want to scream. Financial experts might find this interesting, if for some reason they haven’t gotten the news through their usual channels, but this account is certainly not usable to help with the most obvious problem. In support of Morgan Stanley, the other big Wall Street players are not doing much better.
As a recommendation to Morgan Stanley and their Twitter account, erase the content, find someone that has an idea of what to do and start over. That is something your competitor Goldman Sachs does.
There are two major reasons why Wall Street and its firms image has suffered. Number one is clearly the financial crisis with all the following consequences for the public. There is no need to go into more details about this issue. The second and supporting reason is that the most people not involved in the financial industry have no idea what these firms are doing or what their business is. Much worse, they don’t even have an imagination of what the good work is and what these firms do for the common good (for those that don’t believe that they do something good, they do). For a Wall Street brand, that is a deadly mix in the long run. As deadly as it is, as easy it is to do better.
For Wall Street, that means that they have to go out and face the piper. This will offer incredible opportunity to improve their image, brand and business opportunities (yes, business opportunities). If done right, it is worth billions. That should be a motivation.
It is important to educate the public of the work Wall Street does. Social Media is an outstanding tool to do so. Each of the Wall Street firms have so many resources that this can easily accomplished from within. There wouldn’t even be a need to spend an outrageous amount for some outside firm that is looking for an inflated bill. Social Media is also an outstanding tool to engage with people and resolve issues. Given some time and an honest effort, your reputation will improve. The honest effort is important. People are sensitive to nonsense and if you start nonsense you are wasting money, besides time and effort. The one with the best effort will win big.
With Wall Street finally entering the field, Social Media will experience an entire new part of its existence. Let’s all have a look what happens and enjoy the efforts.