For Citigroup, 2016 may be déjà vu all over again. The company’s latest financial goals sure look a lot like last year. But there’s a PR lesson here for all brands to learn and apply.
CFO John Gerspach said the company is looking at an efficiency ratio of 57 percent, a metric that measures the cost of bringing in a single dollar of revenue. While this is the same number Citigroup hit in 2015, Gerspach said he hopes to improve on that percentage by 2017.
“As we look to 2016, we see both opportunities and challenges. We expect the operating environment to remain difficult, with uneven global growth, sustained low commodity prices and a slow trajectory for U.S. rate increases,” Gerspach reported.
When the market is in tough shape and challenges are cropping up making it more difficult to improve profitability, it’s time for some creative and above all, paid for PR.
Now, that doesn’t mean you need to do public relations on the cheap. It simply means that focusing on using PR to bring in new customers can have a much higher ROI than using standard traditional advertising means. In this situation, increasing ROI is an excellent way to improve your efficiency ratio while not damaging your profitability.
The goal here, then, should be threefold.
First, improve your current customers’ view of the business using targeted and personal public relations messaging. Improved customer loyalty makes those customers more likely to consider other company products. If you have customers asking to give you money, then you are in a much better position than if those same customers were just stroking a check every month, oblivious to what else you might offer.
Second, approach potential new customers by using targeted PR to raise their awareness of the brand and the benefits of doing business with that brand.
Third, reach out in new and different ways to increase the brand’s name recognition and positive standing among all potential consumers, whether or not they do business with you or a competitor. Thus, when, for whatever reason, they consider switching, they will think of your brand with positive feelings. That’s half the sale right there.
David Milberg is an entrepreneur who hails from NYC.