Pity poor Andrew Schiff who is Communications and Marketing director at Wall Street brokerage firm, Euro Pacific Capital. He recently leapt to unwanted fame following a Bloomberg article about how smaller bonuses are leaving Wall Street workers strapped for cash. The article has made him the new poster boy for Wall Street being out of touch.
The article disclosed Schiff’s salary of $350K and a bonus over $50K. This doesn’t put him anywhere near the top league of Wall Street heavy hitters but it does place him in the top 1% of earners. Living in 1200 square feet in a rented apartment in Brooklyn, with two children at pricey private schools, he observed there isn’t a lot of spare change left in the Schiff household at month’s end. Schiff’s point was his lifestyle is at variance with the routine description of Wall Street excess.
The PR Verdict: “D” for the PR who slipped up. Ouch! Unfortunate to have made this gaffe, given Schiff’s job as PR and Marketing head. Next time, before any interview, formal or informal, agree the ground rules.
No doubt Andrew Schiff was pleased to help out a journalist at Bloomberg. Why not? But next time, before answering, make sure the ground rules of the interview are pre-agreed. In this case the interview should have been ‘on background’, i.e. the journalist can use the quotes but not attribute them to Schiff directly. Far better for Schiff’s comments to have been attributed to “a Marketing Director at a Wall Street firm”. Though cumbersome and bureaucratic to agree Ground Rules before every interview, it inevitably saves later heartache. Sometimes it really is worth going back to first principles.
How would you grade Schiff’s comments and his subsequent interviews to follow up media. Go ahead and grade him: