Sunday, October 12, 2008

Time to speak up and fight back

I read an interesting article about an op-ed published in Forbes about Goldman Sachs. It predicted that Goldman and Morgan will be the next banks to fail and that they should consider more options of merging with foreign banks. Interestingly, the head of media relations at Goldman replied back stating the claim is more "from gut" than factual. I loved reading the Goldman's reply as well as the original post.

We are indeed living in fascinating times. The communicators at the survivor banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley face a daunting task: Their firms are constantly amidst rumors, analyst discussions, speculations and media scrutiny and it is the job of these communicators to remain vigilant about what is said about them and act promptly to correct facts and restore investor confidence. This is over and above providing candid and honest communication to all their stakeholders about their strategies and current operations, boosting employee morale within the company and keeping clients happy and reassured.

After Moody's sent a release about the possible downgrade of securities of Morgan Stanley, if the Mitsubishi deal doesn't come through, the stock of Morgan Stanley plunged. However, Morgan was quick to respond. The management immediately held meetings with its shareholders, communicated with its employees and counter-parties to reassure them about the Mitsubishi deal and explain Morgan's current stability.

The importance of communicators has never been so crucial. Today, they are adding demonstrable value on every front--right from keeping the morale of employees high to safeguarding the reputation of their company amidst all the speculation and rumors. At a time when confidence is at historically low proportions, only honest communication can restore it and help regain the credibility. In today's environment, where rumors are driving the fate of hundreds of years old institutions, effective, prompt communication has not only helped businesses fight back wherever needed, but it has also helped them survive.

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