When most people picture a career in public relations, they assume it to be associated with glamorous consumer product launches and influencer-endorsed campaigns for prestige industries like fashion, beauty and entertainment. However, public relations in fact encompasses a plethora of functions across a range of industries which are fabulous in their own right. One industry frequently overlooked is financial services, and many are unaware of the crucial role that communications plays in this space.
While it may not involve working with physical “products” and traditionally creative campaigns, it does bring exciting opportunities to work with leading Australian and global businesses and executives. From working with an economist who served under the Obama administration, to being a guest at a private client event also attended by a previous Australian Prime Minister… my experience has been nothing short of exciting.
For communications students at universities who are still unsure of the direction they want to take after graduation, I thought I would share why public relations is important and what led me to choose this as a career path.
Why is financial public relations important?
There is no doubt that corporate reputation and governance is highly important to the success and longevity of a company. Within the financial services industry, public scrutiny on the performance and ethical behaviour of a company is higher than ever following the market turmoil and business operation challenges that have characterised 2020. Need I also mention the ongoing levels of consumer mistrust following the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services sector.
The increase in online and more-accessible media has broken down traditional communication barriers between a business and its shareholders, customers, clients, employees, and other relevant stakeholders. While at Madden we work with quality businesses who operate within ethical principles, inconsistent messaging across different channels and stakeholders can muddle a brand’s image and established reputation. Our job as professional communicators in this industry is to create strategic frameworks that elevate a business’ brand, people, product, or service to demonstrate their industry-leading expertise across multi-channel communication. Despite its relative intangibility, reputation capital is increasingly becoming a highly valued asset of many companies.
Why choose financial public relations as a career path?
Much like every other student, I spent the majority of my time at university feeling unsure about my career choices after graduation. Sometime early into my third year, a wise tutor speaking on our future career prospects told our class that the best job opportunities can be those outside of our field of knowledge. She was right, a job should present continuous challenges and learnings that we can grow from. Not long after, I got my first foot in the door after successfully gaining an internship at Madden with no prior knowledge of the finance industry. The rest is history!
Unsurprisingly, my experience in the industry has been a rewarding one – giving me the best of two worlds as I learned the ropes in both public relations and financial services. In my day-to-day tasks I’m constantly being challenged, and improving my skills in media relations, drafting press materials, reporting and social media, and most importantly in showing my value as a communications consultant to our clients. Simultaneously, I’m also gaining an abundance of knowledge in macroeconomics, regulation and share markets while working with some of the most respected economists and financial executives I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to work with and learn from.
Sometimes, the most counterintuitive career path can open up new pathways and career satisfaction way beyond your early expectations!