Wells Fargo, Fidelity, Bank of America and VISA Ranked Strongest Reputations in the Financial Services Industry, According to 2014 Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Study

NEW YORK--()--Makovsky, a leading independent integrated communications firm, today released its 2014 Strongest Financial Services Reputation List, ranking leading brands.

This Strongest Financial Services Reputation List is part of the 2014 Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Study, which examines the current state of the financial industry’s reputation and identifies best practices and emerging trends in communications and marketing. The study was conducted by Ebiquity, a global market research firm, among marketing, communications and investor relations executives at large and mid-sized financial services firms.

The 2014 Makovsky Strongest Financial Services Reputation List*:

1. Wells Fargo
2. Fidelity
3. Bank of America
5. Merrill Lynch
6. J.P. Morgan
7. Goldman Sachs
8. American Express
9. Citibank
10. MasterCard

*Respondents asked, “Thinking about today, what one financial services company has the strongest reputation in the industry?”

“Despite chronic reputation issues, the industry is slowly making its way back,” said Scott Tangney, Executive Vice President, Makovsky. “A few things are prolonging the reputation recovery for the industry and individual companies: First, executives told us the biggest challenge going forward is their own company’s commitment to rebuilding reputation. Second, reputation issues are hurting the bottom line. The study showed that companies lost on average more than 25% in business in the past two years. Third, most organizations have not implemented the most effective integrated programs that have proven to speed reputation repair. They must do more now to avoid additional losses.”

Makovsky unveiled its 2014 Strongest Financial Services Reputation List at the Financial Communications Society event in Manhattan this week where a panel of top communications executives for leading financial services brands – including Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, Fannie Mae and Moody’s Corporation – discussed their perspectives and companies' activities to rebuild the reputation. Some of the key takeaways from the panelists include:

  • Today’s marketing and communications professionals need to be integrated and good at all disciplines to be successful reputation builders.
  • Stricter requirements, more testing, more regulation – all of this is healthy and serves to prepare the industry better for the next crisis event.
  • One of public relations’ fastest growing roles is to publish content for stakeholders.
  • In terms of building reputation, nothing beats delivering value to stakeholders. Successful storylines to communicate this value focus on: 1) helping the customer succeed, 2) helping business thrive and, 3) fostering a culture with values that resonate with customers.
  • Companies are trying to change the dialogue to rebuild trust. In wealth management, the focus is on personalized, goals-based offerings that identify customer concerns and needs and deliver portfolios to meet their objectives.
  • Firms can never stop telling their story as it evolves. Research shows that many current perceptions of brands are no longer valid.
  • Companies need to plan for the next crisis, how they will manage it, and think through how the decisions they make today will create issues in the future.
  • Social media allows companies to share important narratives and content directly with stakeholders. This channel allows for a singular focus on the customer, which is essential to building trust.
  • Companies are focused on cybersecurity as a reputation threat, and have mobilized cross functional groups to scenario plan and handle such events.
  • Simplicity and transparency are key elements of companies’ strategy to build trust. As a form of transparency, companies are providing as much information as possible so that investors can make their own decisions.
  • Communications and marketing executives should embrace compliance decision makers at their company and give them a seat at the table to encourage collaboration.
  • Most of the regulation seen today is the result of responding to a terrible financial crisis. Like many things, this is a balancing act that must be managed to guard against unintended consequences to the economy. Companies want to be partners with regulators and policy makers as new guidelines get implemented.
  • Employees are an excellent barometer for reputation, and engagement with them has become a top priority at financial firms.
  • Reputation research is important, but companies need the resources to carry it out.

For a copy of the 2014 Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Study, including the best practices for building reputation, visit www.makovsky.com/wallstreetrep.

Research Methodology

Ebiquity completed 225 interviews with executives and managers responsible for the management and supervision of communications, investor relations or marketing at large and mid-sized publicly traded and private financial services institutions. The type of companies surveyed included banks, brokerage firms, asset management firms, insurance companies, real estate companies, credit card companies, mortgage lender, venture capital firms and credit unions and financial technology firms. Respondent titles included Chief Marketing Officer, Vice President, Director and Manager/Supervisor. The study conducted online and completed in May 2014. The margin of error associated with this level of reporting is +/- 6.5% at a 95% confidence level. The Wall Street Reputation Study was also conducted in 2013 and 2012.

About Makovsky

Founded in 1979, Makovsky (www.makovsky.com) is one of the nation’s largest and most influential independent integrated communications firms. The firm attributes its success to its original vision: that the Power of Specialized Thinking™ is the best way to build reputation, sales and fair valuation for a client. Based in New York City, the firm has agency partners with nearly 2,000 professionals in 100 cities through IPREX (IPREX.com), the second largest worldwide public relations agency partnership, of which Makovsky is a founder.

About Ebiquity

Ebiquity is a leader in above- and below-line communications tracking and research, providing independent data-driven insights to the global media, CMO and CCO community to continuously improve clients’ business performance.

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Marisha Chinsky, 212-508-9654
Scott Tangney, 212-508-9661


Marisha Chinsky, 212-508-9654
Scott Tangney, 212-508-9661