The Best PR That Money Can Buy

The Best PR Money Can Buy

Arthur Solomon, Public Relations Consultant

We are now in the early stages of 2019, but there were many lessons from 2018 that should be remembered by PR practitioners. In my opinion, the one that should be included when the book about the greatest PR campaigns is finalized is the Wall Street propaganda effort, which might top the list. (I know that many people think that the everlasting campaign to promote the Bible should be first and maybe so. But that’s a matter of faith. The machinations of the financial community are a reality happening as you read this.)

Complicit in the campaign are Wall Street’s close relatives, the rating firms .–., yes the same ones that are paid by investment firms for their analysis, and who assured us that the companies that helped cause the worst recession in most of our lifetime, about 10 years ago, — were on solid ground. And let’s not forget a large segment of the financial media that often acts as PR people for Wall Street by echoing what the Masters of the Universe proclaim, and also label anyone who hawks a stock a financial advisor.

Business news reporting has become more investigative, more questioning and more incisive in recent years. But for some journalists and their news outlets, old habits are hard to break.

Examples:

  • The word “investor” is bandied about to anyone who purchases a stock, even if they sell it a few days later. Perhaps a better definition would be gambler.
  • The term stock brokers seem to have gone the way of “The Last of the ” Everyone is now an investment advisor, even though all they may know about a stock that they are trying to hawk is what they learned from the person in the next cubicle, whose main interest is pedaling any stock that can earn a commission. (It’s amazing how the genius quotient of these financial advisors rises and falls in proportion to a bull or bear market.)
  • The Dow, S&P and NASDAQ are reported as if their ups and downs were an actual indication of how all stocks performed, without any media disclaimers saying that there are countless stocks that went against the averages. In essence, quoting the averages is an easy way out for the media. (How many “buyers of a piece of America” are more concerned about the Dow’s ups and downs compared to the stocks they own? I’d wager not too many.) 
  • Uncertainty is always an excuse used by Wall Street during a market turn down. Question: Aren’t financial advisors supposed to know how to handle uncertainty so your investments don’t get shredded? Answer: Yes they should. (That’s why you’re paying ) Result: They haven’t got the answers.

Of course, the media also always quotes the advice given by the wise people of Wall Street: Have a balanced portfolio, divided between stocks and bonds, emerging markets and whatever product is being pushed, so if one sector gets hit the other may rise.  Huh? Is that what you’re paying an investment advisor to tell you? That they really don’t know what’s going to happen?  Golly, gee. All you have to do is read the daily newspapers to figure that out yourself.  And if you can’t figure it out, you’re probably better off buying U.S. government securities. Unlike your financial advisor, the government doesn’t try to sell you a security just to make a commission.

While the important print media has to a large extent become much more aggressive and can be trusted in its financial reporting, TV cable stock market reporting is still to be declared a danger zone.  Especially troublesome are the platforms given to CEOs of companies, financial and otherwise, often without a penetrating question being asked. (I might have missed it, but when was the last time you heard a CEO say that a company is in bad shape and investing in it should be avoided.)

One thing I’ve never understood is how a company can be worth $50 a hare on Monday morning and $45 a share a few hours later, when there has been no significant change.

Perhaps the Wall Street Journal‘s famous contest of the late 1980’s of picking stocks by dart throwing is the answer. Or, which team wins the Super Bowl, or to buy or sell depending on if the American League defeats the National League in the World Series.

Or maybe to listen to the financial advisors and do the opposite.


Arthur Solomon -The Best PR That Money Can BuyAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com and artsolomon4pr(at)optimum.net.

 

 

 

image_print

Leave a Comment