Wall Street continues to feel unloved. The latest poll by Harris Interactive had only 17 % of respondents with a favorable image of Wall Street, down from 23% last year. According to the survey, Wall Street sits at the loser table in the high school cafeteria along with Big Tobacco. How do you make Wall Street one of the cool kids again?
Banks have recently been touting their small-business lending programs and charitable work, but the dial continues to move in the wrong direction. Why?
It is generally accepted that Occupy Wall Street and the ongoing mortgage mess reflect a seismic breakdown in trust. In addition, the key PR challenge for Wall Street is to prove its long-term added value benefit to society.
The PR Verdict: “D” for Wall Street. While small business lending is expected of banks, the tough PR challenge is justifying how the financial wizardry found on Wall Street serves the wider public good.
The Harris report was ironically released at the same time as deadlines for submissions to the proposed Volcker Rule. The rule, which seeks to limit proprietary trading by banks, had firms in overdrive the last few days, publicly objecting to the change. In the subsequent media coverage, Wall Street failed to articulate the wider public-good benefits of proprietary trading, allowing the the opposing and oft-repeated accusation that it creates systemic risk, to gain ground.
Unless Wall Street makes big picture PR a genuine priority, they might be chumming with Big Tobacco a little longer.
How would you rate Wall Street’s efforts at a comeback?