They’re often wrong, usually generic and struggle to stand out in the crowd. Why are they the most valuable outputs financial firms offer?
A good portion of financial communications is made up of very well-educated people making confident predictions about the future. At the end of every year, banks and investment firms package these up into PDFs with (in bad times) images of stormy seas/river rapids and (in good times) green pastures and verdant meadows, and they collectively deluge inboxes around the world.
These predictions – once you unpack the jargon – are usually wrong and always forgotten by about mid-January. Why, then, are they among the most important communications financial services has to offer?
It’s easy to mock the generic writing and cliched visuals these outlooks deliver – but nobody has ever pretended their value is aesthetic.
Instead, they set the tone for the communications to come in the year, in a portfolio manager’s combined version of an end-of-year stock take and new year’s resolutions. They set out the themes they’ll cover, offering a roadmap for the year ahead in the forms of insights into the macroeconomic landscape that identify potential challenges, and highlight potential opportunities.
These outlooks serve as a crucial foundation for crafting communications strategies that are not only reactive but also proactive, allowing PR professionals to position their clients strategically in relation to events as they develop. You’ve got to start from somewhere – and instead of pretending to see the future, outlooks are that valuable first step.
They allow comms professionals to position their clients as industry leaders with foresight and adaptability. The tone set by annual economic outlooks can shape narratives around financial performance, market positioning, and even organisational resilience if things get really tough.
They allow our clients to pre-emptively address concerns, showcase preparedness, and position themselves as proactive stewards of their own clients’ funds in the face of economic uncertainties. On the flip side, identifying emerging opportunities allows for the development of targeted campaigns that capitalise on favourable trends.
They can also serve as crucial credibility-builders. If an organisation accurately predicts and navigates economic challenges, it demonstrates a level of acumen and strategic vision that resonates with stakeholders, fostering trust among investors, customers, and the wider public.
And of, even if they are wrong, outlooks can be usefully wrong. Market volatility is an inherent aspect of the financial landscape. Annual economic outlooks empower comms professionals to craft narratives that contextualise market fluctuations, positioning their clients as resilient and adaptable in the face of uncertainties. This proactive approach not only mitigates potential negative impacts, but also positions organisations as thought leaders capable of steering through turbulent times.
So, in short – those PDFs are worth it.