Case Study: Cohen Financial

Cohen-logo-300x165Since late 2006, Cohen Financial has been working with Mattson Communications to publicize the company’s mortgage banking transactions and services. In 2009, the company asked Mattson Communications to launch its new debt advisory services. We faced a fixed PR budget with no room to expand. Mattson would have to continue to promote Cohen Financial’s core transactions while launching the new services. With limited staff and funds, we could only create a few materials and conduct an extremely targeted outreach to quickly produce visible marketing metrics.

Solution Fortunately, Mattson had built and nurtured long-term relationships with key commercial real estate (CRE) focused editors and bloggers. Relationships spanned outlets across the company’s core markets – Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Newport Beach, Phoenix, Portland and San Francisco. We held conversations with key contacts at the leading CRE publications, such as, National Real Estate Investor and Mortgage Banking Magazine to determine interest in hearing from Cohen Financial’s debt advisory services experts. Many were very interested in hearing about these new services as other firm’s were not actively discussing their debt advisory efforts.

Our strategy: Position the newly appointed Managing Director of Debt Advisory Services as the most experienced and knowledgeable advisor in this new field, capitalizing on his extensive capital markets background. Our goal: Convince both CRE borrowers and lenders to engage Cohen Financial for debt restructuring and asset evaluation, driving assignments and increasing fees.

Additionally, we would utilize the PR materials we created and positive media stories we secured in Cohen Financial’s monthly e-newsletter issued to about 5500 clients and potential clients. And, we would share this information on Facebook and LinkedIn.

We established program objectives we could measure:
• Generate media coverage, featuring advisory services messages and positioning Mr. Franzetti as the expert.
• Educate all current and potential clients about the new offerings.
• Generate awareness of looming loan maturities and lower CRE property values.
• Offer strategies for loan workouts.
• Create a sense of urgency to act.
• Help secure at least 10 new debt advisory services assignments by year’s end.
• Build Cohen Financial’s sales force confidence via loan workout success stories.
• Differentiate and brand Cohen Financial debt advisory services knowledge leader.

Results We secured feature stories tied directly to our objectives and utilized these articles and blog posts in Cohen Financial’s e-newsletters, garnering significant reader clickthroughs of more than 17.6 percent on average. Mattson Communications created case studies of the new services, which Cohen Financial features on its Web site, in regional sales collateral and shared across its social media efforts. The company secured 15 completed projects with 5 ongoing in 2009 and as of Q1 2010 had 17 additional assignments.

Awards The debt advisory services PR program was awarded the 2010 Publicity Club of Chicago’s Silver Trumpet for distinguished achievement in public relations planning, creativity and execution in the marketing category.

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