I seem to be meeting up with smart women at the moment. On Monday I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Henrietta Hirst of Par Excellence PR. She is focused, disciplined and knows her market which is hedge funds and other alternative investments. Not only can she whip up a story and get it round to all the important people in the sector but she can also get them to print it. It was fascinating listening to her and she was very helpful as we discussed our businesses. I learnt a lot about PR and how a hedgie might use it to grow their funds. She also knew how to get the best from a waiter but as someone who has just returned from a 500 mile fund-raising cycle ride around Vietnam I was not surprised!
Now, as most of you do not run hedge funds (although I suspect some might be thinking of starting one) Henrietta’s expertise is not going to be relevant. That having been said many of us need to recognise that we need to do more to raise our visibility. Networking, social media and personal branding are all the rage at the moment and yet many people do not do any with regard to their work. So often I hear the refrain “he has a very good network” spoken with admiration, so here are a couple of good reasons to get your ‘PR’ going:
First, as investment banks shrink skills are more readily available and with supply and demand kicking in, are getting cheaper. In these conditions P&L can almost be a liability as others in the firm eye up the money you are making and want it to protect their position. In these circumstances the business cliché to work “on” the business not just “in” it becomes important. ‘Politics’ might just be a colleague’s strategy!
Secondly, PR lets people find out about you before you know of them, it really is selling forward. It is an easier sale at worst and at best it is simply order processing! PR generates some reflected glory, whether this be speaking at a conference, appearing in the FT or merely hearing about you from someone they respect. We all know that a reference is of very limited use because you will only give those names that will speak in glowing terms about how good you are. The City is a small place, especially in the markets, and with tools like ‘Linked In’ it is very easy to find out who knows who.
So get out there and grow your reputation or at least help others to do it for you. There are many tips and tricks so give me a call on 020 7987 7080 if you want to discuss your strategy in this area. On the other hand if you are or thinking about running a hedge fund go and speak with Henrietta.