P.R.U.N.E. What You Communicate

Bill McManus   |  Mon Feb 13 10:15:00 EST 2017


Every day, we, as a society, are inundated with a constant stream of information, news, and opinions coming at us from all directions—it’s on our televisions, smartphones, computers, social media feeds, email, text messages, browsers, etc. The volume and velocity of messages that reach us can make it difficult for any one message to break through the clutter and catch our eye in this era of information overload. So how, then, can financial advisors capture clients’ attention and influence action?

The first step is to understand what information is actually engaging your clients; oftentimes the topics that we consider important aren’t even on investors’ radar. Can you guess what the most popular Google searches were in 2016? I’ll let you in on a secret: Brexit, interest rates, the S&P 500, and the Federal Reserve did not top the list. The top four trending search terms for 2016 were Powerball, Prince, Hurricane Matthew, and Pokemon Go.1

I’ll admit that I got caught up in all of the Powerball mania, and I love the tune “When Doves Cry” just as much as the next guy, but I was still surprised by this data. Comparing what might be top-of-mind for financial advisors and what might be top-of-mind for their clients shows that there is a fairly significant disconnect between what we in the industry focus on and what is actually grabbing people’s attention. This insight, though, can be quite helpful as we figure out how to get clients and prospects to notice our messages. Use the P.R.U.N.E. approach.


The P.R.U.N.E. approach is a tactic that can serve as a way to first get clients’ attention and then transition to their personal agenda, which is where decisions are made. The acronym is a way to remember to ask yourself whether the information you’re providing in your communications is:

1. Proximate

2. Relevant

3. Urgent

4. Novel

5. Emotional

In other words, when communicating with clients and prospects, try to do so in a way that takes into consideration what people are talking about, what’s the latest buzz, what might be immediately important to your audience, what is happening now, what matters to them, what’s cutting-edge, etc. The more of these five characteristics you can tailor into your messaging, the more likely you will be to grab the attention of and effectively communicate with your clients.

It all starts with getting that second glance, which might lead to a bite. Once you have them on the line, you have to know how to keep them there and engaged. Appeal to their interests and concerns—not just what you think they should be focusing on—and you may then begin to transition into deeper, more personal interactions with clients.

1 http://time.com/4598647/most-popular-google-search-2016/



Bill McManus

Bill McManus  

Director, Strategic Markets

Bill is part of the Strategic Markets Team for Hartford Funds. In his current position, Bill is responsible for engaging and educating both financial advisors and their clients about current and emerging opportunities in the financial-services marketplace. These opportunities range from tactical strategies in areas such as retirement-income planning, investment planning, and charitable planning, to anticipating and preparing for long-term demographic and lifestyle changes.

Bill joined the organization in 2003 as an advisor consultant responsible for marketing Hartford Funds in Virginia and West Virginia. Bill earned his Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®) designation, is FINRA Series 7 and 63 registered, and holds his life and variable insurance licenses.

Bill has been widely quoted in consumer and trade publications such as US News and World Report and Wealth Management.com. He has also appeared as a featured guest on Bloomberg Radio to discuss his views on retirement-related topics.

Originally from Smithville, New Jersey, Bill attended the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. He currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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