Connelly On Success And The Uniqueness Of Financial Services

Janeesa Hollingshead, Contributing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

IMAGE 10 Firm Founder Explains Strategies For Success And Uniqueness Of Financial Services Communications, Gives Advice For Career Entrants

Of the firms that WSR honors this week among the IMAGE 10: Top 10 Wealth Management Marketing & Communications Agencies, no success story exceeds that of JConnelly. In two short decades, Jennifer Connelly has cultivated a startup agency into a nationwide and, recently, multinational organization bringing marketing, branding and communications services to a wide range of industries from NGOs to entertainment, and, of course, financial services.

In addition to its reach and influence across sectors, the firm has been recognized on various “Best Places to Work” lists since 2011 and in 2021 was named by Forbes to its list of America’s Best PR Agencies.

We spoke with Connelly to understand the factors behind her firm’s success and the uniqueness of the wealth management space for marketing and communications.

WSR: How is serving the financial services space unique among the industries that you cover in marketing and communications?

Connelly: In the heavily regulated financial services industry, multiple federal and industry agencies often impose overlapping and inconsistent rules that impact how firms or individuals may communicate. It is crucial for a communications firm to understand this intricate environment to ensure both compliant and impactful communications.

As these agencies continually update their rules and regulations in response to the ever-changing social and digital channels, only a firm with extensive experience can quickly navigate and support a client’s goals and strategies. JConnelly excels in this domain, supporting our clients’ outcomes while swiftly adapting to ever-changing regulations and the dynamic social and digital media landscape.

Jennifer Connelly, Founder & CEO, JConnelly

Since its inception in 2003, JConnelly has served financial services brands, representing some of the most esteemed global brands to innovative startups. Many of our clients are regulated by multiple agencies and seek innovative strategies that demand agile execution through multiple platforms, media and channels.

WSR: Your firm has grown tremendously since its founding two decades ago. What techniques and strategies did you implement to achieve such rapid growth?

Connelly: Agility. Flexibility. Sense of urgency.

Today, a communications agency must always be on the balls of their feet poised to execute strategy, capitalize on opportunities or nip issues in the bud. We are privileged to work with some of the smartest and most creative professionals on the planet, and without a doubt, it is the key to our success.

Trust is also critical.

Trust is critical

We approach all situations with grace, integrity and intention – and we work to earn that trust every day. We lead with our values, starting with a commitment to take great care of our clients and each other. We provide trusted and reliable counsel, combined with a deep-seated commitment to relentless execution.

Even more critical is the mindset that if you don’t constantly evolve and approach modern-day communications and marketing, you will fail. Too often, we see brands operating as if they were pre-iPhone, social media and today’s latest digital or social technology. I believe that approach comes from fear and a lack of willingness to accept that last year’s playbook is not an option if you want to succeed.

WSR: What advice do you have for a student or career changer interested in a career in marketing and communications?

Connelly: To excel in marketing and communications, it’s critical to have a selfless mindset, represent yourself professionally and position yourself as someone who can add value, have impact, be a team player, love to learn, leave your ego at the door and have a great attitude, all in service of your client and their goals.

Interning or working as an apprentice is an excellent way to start building a strong foundational understanding of the field. These roles will give you the opportunity to explore various sectors, identify your strengths and interests and accelerate your ability to gain employment.

Being flexible and eager to learn is critical in this rapidly changing industry, where trends and technology evolve quickly. Staying informed, honing your skills and embracing new challenges with a passion for creativity and innovation are essential. As you navigate various sectors and roles, you will develop essential skills such as data analysis, market research, critical thinking and solution-driven problem solving as well as effective communication skills.

Remember to always maintain a mindset that is focused on the client’s goals and objectives, placing yourself in service of their success.

Janeesa Hollingshead, Contributing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at editor@wealthsolutionsreport.com.

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