Use intelligent "newsjacking" to strengthen client communication

imgbd MasterMind is a joint initiative between Sundaram Mutual and Wealth Forum, in which we offer insights into how you can become a more effective advisor to your clients, by understanding them better, and communicating with them more effectively. This gateway into your clients' minds we believe will help you relate better to them, communicate more effectively with them and thus serve them better. Mastering your client's mind is your gateway to becoming a more successful advisor. Its not for nothing that they say, "Its all in the mind!"

A challenge that many advisors face is how to reiterate the same simple messages to their clients, without sounding boring. You know you need to keep reminding them about why your simple strategies are the most effective, but you don't always know how to say it differently each time. If this is a challenge you are currently facing, consider "newsjacking" as a strategy to strengthen your client communications.

Keep the proposition boringly simple, but make the communication interesting

You believe in simple ways to build long term wealth, you are an ardent supporter of SIPs, you think goal based plans are the best way forward for all investors. Trouble is, once you've told this to your clients, you have nothing new to tell them for the next several years. You know that these messages are simple yet powerful and that clients need to be constantly reminded about these simple messages, because the world out there is flooding them with information that confuses and confounds them and sometimes make them unnecessarily change course.

If you keep reminding them every month about the same message, they are bound to get put off. Yet, you know you must do that. You must find an innovative way to accomplish this, in a manner that your clients can relate to, in a manner that will get them to act the way you strongly believe is right for them.

Amul : one of India's foremost "newsjackers"

Brands have a solution for this dilemma - after all, they need to keep promoting themselves, day in and day out, but with messages that will keep the recall factor high. The strategy many brands use is called "newsjacking". They take topical news items that are making headlines, and find a way to convert or link these to their own products. In India, one of the finest examples of newsjacking is Amul, which has made it a fine art over the years, in fact over decades.


How can financial advisors use "newsjacking"?

There is a lot that financial advisors can learn from this technique of "newsjacking" to drive home their key messages in refreshing ways each time. Advisors are increasingly taking to written communication in multiple media to share their key messages. Some have started their own blogs, many send out periodic email communications to their clients and prospects. What if you were to adopt newsjacking as a way to communicate your key messages in these blogs and emails? Here are a couple of examples to get you thinking in this direction.

Example 1

Lets say your firm is called Simple Wealth Planners and you are one of those who believe in all the simple and "boring" ways to build client wealth that we articulated in the beginning of this article. You come across this news article today:

Virat Kohli to invest Rs 90cr, set up chain of gyms

Here's one way you can "newsjack" this piece of headline grabbing news to create a communication to your clients.

"I read with great interest an article that appeared in the media today about Virat Kohli's decision to invest Rs.90 crores to set up a chain of gyms and fitness centres (
). What struck me most was the astuteness of this investment decision. No, I am not trying to suggest that I believe gyms are a great investment. I frankly don't know enough about them to comment one way or another. But I do know that Virat Kohli understands fitness very well. He is a fitness practitioner, he understands it very well. Investing in what you understand well is the first tenet of successful investing that all the great investors from Warren Buffet to Peter Lynch have taught us, and is a tenet that we at Simple Wealth Planners have wholeheartedly embraced over the last 9 years that we have been serving our investors.

Why do the investment greats say that you must understand where you are investing? Because, when the chips are down, when the going gets a little rough, it is only your conviction in the idea that sees you through, and conviction can come in only when you understand your investment.

If Kohli had invested in a new age e-commerce retailing start-up which runs into some rough weather, he may think twice about his investment, and look for an exit, even at a marginal loss. But when it comes to a fitness business, his conviction will be much higher - and that may help him take the best decisions - which can include investing more in a downturn, for example.

At Simple Wealth Planners, our belief is that keeping things simple is what builds our clients' conviction in the plans we make. The financial world is filled with exotic products that excite, but also confuse. We have studiously steered clear of all such exotic stuff, because we know that conviction in an investment idea is strong only when we and our clients truly understand the investment.

Kohli must have been given dozens of investment alternatives, but he astutely picked one that he understands best. Our job at Simple Wealth Planners is to do just that - weed out the exotic stuff, cut out the noise, and focus on simple wealth plans that all of us understand and that can get us to our destinations."

Example 2

Lets take another, very topical news headline and see how we can newsjack it to drive home our messages:

IMD lowers monsoon forecast to deficient from below normal

"I read with much anxiety today's grim headline that this year's monsoon forecast has been lowered from "below normal" to "deficient" - making it probably two years in a row that our country will receive deficient rainfall (

While our hearts go out to the villagers particularly in the hinterland which is likely to be most affected, our minds are comforted by reading about the Central Government springing into action straight away to minimise rural misery from the likely drought conditions. It is comforting to note that detailed plans are being drawn up at district level across the country, to tackle this situation. It is comforting to note that we have a Central Government leadership that has a proven track record in crisis management and has strong execution skills to implement contingency plans that are now being drawn up.

Uncertainties are part of life, just as they are part of investing. You can try to mitigate risk, but you cannot eliminate risk. With this realisation, you focus your attention on managing risk, after you have done what you could to mitigate risk. Markets can be down for a year, and then give another year of poor performance - making it two in a row - just as our monsoons are threatening to do. Does that mean we abandon markets and give up on wealth creation? No, it means you draw up contingency plans to tackle poor markets, and then implement these plans rigourously, to minimise damage to your long term wealth creation plans.

That's exactly what we do for a living at Simple Wealth Planners. We mitigate portfolio risk through a well-balanced asset allocation and then, when markets turn choppy, we never change course - we remain steadfast in implementing the contingency plans we drew up and agreed with you, our clients. As you know, our contingency plans are really simple - step up the communication with our clients to ensure they get balanced insights on the flood of news that comes in, and implement the quarterly rebalancing of portfolios, without exception, irrespective of the noise that gets heightened in volatile times.

Just as we take comfort in a Central Government whose leadership has exhibited strong crisis management and execution skills, we trust that our clients will remain comforted through bouts of market volatility, that their hard earned money is entrusted to strong, mature, experienced and stable hands."

To conclude

These are just a couple of examples to get you thinking on how you can "newsjack" your way to creating client communications that not only reinforce your key messages, but also communicate in an interesting, topical and refreshing manner, such that your messages stay with your clients.

MasterMind is all about finding ways to strengthen your communication with and deepen your understanding of your clients. A useful way in which you can strengthen your communication with your clients, in a refreshingly new way, is to consider "newsjacking" for writing your periodic client communications.

All content in MasterMind is created by Wealth Forum and should not be construed as an opinion of Sundaram Mutual Fund.

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