Earning Season Signals PR High Alert

The end of January not only signals the beginning of the dog days of winter in most of the country, it is also a time when companies release their earnings.  These releases can signal the future success or struggles of a company or its industry for the rest of the fiscal year.

Public relations and communications departments within these companies are put in high gear as they try to spin the direction and image of their company in a positive direction.  Companies try to relate their success with the customer and continue to enhance their brand within the public light.  In 2011, the industrial and IT sectors exploded based on strong holiday sales.

Apple products jumped off the shelves during the holiday season and, as a result, its earnings increased 11.9 percent from last year.  These increases were primarily a result of the expansion of the iPad sales throughout the holiday season.

For the financial industry, the earnings season resulted in a mixed bag of results.  Wells Fargo reported record income of $4.1 billion for the fourth quarterBank of America also posted positive earnings for the fourth quarter.  Bank of America and Wells Fargo stock decreased after the earnings were published, but rallied for several days after.  Despite both companies’ positive earnings, their public perception hindered the potential success of the company’s stock.

The public perception of earnings season puts public relations departments on the hot seats as they try to show the public the potential success of the organization.  It is difficult to portray companies in a positive light that have been viewed so negatively over recent months.  Wells Fargo continues to be the financial darling of this earning season, and their communications department is one area that can be thanked for its success.

Do you feel that a company’s communications department can truly have an impact on the company’s public perception based on the objective nature of earnings season?

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2 Responses to Earning Season Signals PR High Alert

  1. crose3 says:

    I do think that a company’s communications department can have an impact on the company’s public perception particularly based on Bank of America’s positive earnings for the fourth quarter. Think back to the announcement BofA made in 2011 about establishing a $5 a month debit card fee, and how much negative attention that garnered. BofA heard how upset the public was about this and their communications team swooped in, got rid of the fee and apologized leading the public to forgive BofA. I think that without a good PR team, BofA’s decision could have caused much more damage to itself.

  2. Marshall Eckert says:

    I agree that Bank of America’s Public Relations team came and saved the day for the company in order to protect them after the potential decision to raise debit card fees. During this period, Bank of America was public enemy number one in the eyes of the American people with regard to banks. It is interesting that other banks realized the predicament of Bank of America, let BofA stick there neck out, and receive the public backlash. According to many reports, other major banks contemplated the same decision, but their public relations teams knew they should allow BofA to receive the backlash before announcing any changes in debit fees. PR departments in America’s banks have played a crucial role over the past year following the “Great Recession.”

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