Smaller IFAs can reap the benefits of public relations. Linda Winder tells Paul Robertson how.
If you want to know about public relations in the protection arena for your own firm, Linda Winder would be one to ask, because she has ticked just about all of the building blocks that make up this sector.
The adviser side she ticked at LifeSearch, before it became the industry behemoth it is today. There followed a spell at financial PR firm Lansons Communications, focusing on big brand consumer campaigns, and the trade and personal environment. She then headed off to LV= as head of Life and Pensions PR.
She is now a director at Carr Consulting and Communications, tasked with growing the public relations and communications side of that business, so it is fairly well established that she must know her PR onions, interacting with the dreaded media, and various other forms of quasi-advertising as opposed to basically making adverts.
The question is, is there, for your average brokerage, a concrete financial benefit to PR? As long as you are advertising and interacting with your local client base, is there any need?
“PR is quite hard to evaluate in terms of monetary value for what it is that you are getting, or what it is that you are doing, and that is why it is very different to advertising, which is much easier to track in that sense,” Winder said.
“But you see, with companies that do it very well, that even though you might not be able to put an exact monetary value on PR, it makes a huge difference to how people think about the company, the amount of leads they get and how people actively want to come to you.”
As an aside, there is, however a rough measurement, advertising value equivalent, where, as Winder explained, you can say an article is worth what you would have paid for that as advertising in terms of the space taken in the chosen media.
“It is quite a crude measurement, but at least it is something; if you are doing it regularly you can track against itself,” Winder added.
Another little-known benefit of an active PR presence is the brokers access to providers tends to increase, because being out and about in the industry fosters personal relationships that cross over broker/provider lines.
Winder has noticed this: “It is useful to talk to the industry press because you can help change the industry you are in, rather than sitting moaning about something. And yes, it also gets you good contacts in all of those businesses that you can leverage if you need them.”