Richard Wilson of the Hedge Fund Group, an association of HF professionals that counts more than 27K members, says HFs are missing a big opportunity by mostly shying away from PR.
"The media is always hungry for real-time opinions from real hedge fund managers," he says. "It's something they see as kind of scarce."
He advises managers to consult with a PR firm, their compliance firm and in-house counsel to determine a good time to speak publicly.
"There are ways of working with the press while still taking regulations into consideration," he said.
He's got four main tips for fund managers:
Tuck University corporate communications professor Paul Argenti, who has penned "Digital Strategies for Powerful Corporate Communications," discussed the book he considers an introductory Web 2.0 primer for executives in a business school interview.
"Negative information has always been there," he says. "In the past, companies waited until it got bad enough to respond to it. Today, you learn about it in real-time and can actually do something about it, fix the problem, quell the rumor or change the product attribute, whatever it is, before it bubbles up to the surface."
Maggie Cox, president/CEO of 20-year-old Barnett & Cox Associates (San Luis Obispo, Calif.), traces the evolution of media and PR from the early 1990s, when mainstream media like print and broadcast "still ruled the day," through 2009, when it's much more difficult to manage or control a story.
She uses an interesting example of Pete Rose, who had to rely on others telling his story during his gambling crisis, versus Michael Vick, who had many more channels to rehab his torn image.
Scott Mackenzie, senior consultant, change & internal communications for Hill & Knowlton U.K., leads a debate-format discussion on advantages and disadvantages of social media:
Saint Arnold Brewing Co. founder Brock Wagner, a self-proclaimed "PR slut," makes the CEO case for public relations in an October IABC video posted Dec. 4 by his agency, DPK PR.
Wagner said that customers for entities like craft breweries like to feel like they "discover" a brand, rather than feel like they've been "advertised to."
Burson-Marsteller has measurement on the brain as executives outline a PR approach they call "evidence-based communications," or mixing creativity and strategy traditionally associated with PR along with "really hard facts," as CEO Mark Penn puts it.