Financial crisis. Broker holding forehead

Financial Services PR execs and agencies are still struggling to combat an industry peppered with regular fines, lawsuits and other scandals. Almost all (99%) of the executives polled in the 2015 Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Study said this has made it increasingly difficult for the financial services industry to rebuild reputation over the past 12 months.

Looking ahead at the next 12 months, executives reported four major threats to building a strong reputation:

  • Non-compliance with regulation/ legal matters,
  • Quality of products or services,
  • Company commitment to building reputation, and
  • Management quality


One aspect this report does not address is the Online Reputation Management that results from negative media coverage being indexed and ranked by the search engines and people sharing this content and adding comments on social media. Search is now the most trusted source of information and news. (2015 Edelman Trust Barometer.)

Many a financial services firm has discovered that when a search for the company or brand name returns 8 or 9 negative listings it adversely affects revenue. Online reviews also affect income. The Harvard Business Review reports that a one-star increase in online reviews can increase revenue by as much as 9%! Negative reviews cause income to drop.

Of course if there’s a real issue that prompted the fine, legal action and/or suspension the first step is to fix the problem. And that brings us back to the 4 major threats mentioned above. At the same time however, take aggressive action to clean up the search, social and review content that’s hurting your brand image.


An online newsroom that has strong SEO elements can be used to anchor your content efforts. You’ll need a strategic content plan and a place to house and distribute that content.

Depending on how much negative content is showing up in search and social, and how influential the website is that content is on, it might not be a quick fix. It needs a strategic approach, lots of high-quality content creation and a team that understands the various search algorithms and social activities needed to clean the search results and social accounts.