At New York-headquartered Prosek Partners, the tag line is to "unbox communications" and deliver unique, unconventional strategies for financial firms. At the helm is Managing Partner and CEO Jennifer Prosek, who built Prosek from a small Connecticut PR company to an international communications consultancy with offices in London and a number of key partnerships with agencies in Asia and South America.
Speaking with Hedgeweek, Russell Sherman (pictured), Partner at Prosek, says he is excited by the awakening of the financial PR industry as firms become more receptive to creative PR programmes that go "above and beyond" the traditional programmes typical of the financial industry.
Part of that evolution is employing digital technology to help managers build a more complete digital brand identity.
"In the aftermath of the financial crisis there has been an increased focus on hedge fund transparency. (The days of "log in or go away" websites are gone) and one of the ways that has played out is that funds are more open to understanding the importance of having a strong, online profile," says Sherman, adding that Prosek takes a multi-pronged approach in bringing the digital aspect of PR along with media relations to its PR programmes.
"Each programme is specifically tailored to meet our clients' goals and needs, and therefore, the digital strategy and tactics that are undertaken vary based on these objectives. Typical activities undertaken for hedge fund clients include building/overhauling firms' websites, managing and building additional owned collateral (blogs, social media platforms, etc.) and engaging with media outlets with strong digital platforms and Google rankings to help create highly visible third-party earned online content," explains Sherman.
To further bolster Prosek's own brand and reputation, the firm recently appointed Andy Merrill as a Partner. Merrill joined from Teneo, a US corporate advisory firm. Prior to this he was the US CEO of Finsbury. As Sherman notes: "He has robust crisis issue management and transaction communications experience. He will further bolster our efforts to provide our clients with a multi-faceted and comprehensive approach to brand development and brand protection."
Prosek places a great emphasis on the firm's culture. This has allowed the firm to retain stellar talent who are not only experts in their fields, but know how to run top-notch account teams and service a wide array of clients.
Whereas many PR firms servicing the hedge fund industry approach media relations from a reactive stance, Prosek appreciates that in order to protect a brand, it first helps to build an impervious wall of credibility, accolades and goodwill.
"This happens through a proactive approach to PR, whether it's by enhancing your digital footprint, developing relationships with the media, producing compelling content and thought leadership, participating in speaking engagements at industry conferences or identifying other ways to tell your story," emphasises Sherman. "This does not mean a hedge fund firm has to be public or vocal but the bottom line is, whether it is easy to see or not, they are directly or through us, constantly cultivating relationships with the media, educating reporters, telling their story, and engaging with editors to understand what is being written in the media and why."
On winning this year's award, Sherman comments: "We like to say we are productively paranoid, so winning this award is very gratifying and motivating to continue to deliver stellar results."