Public communications by central banks go far beyond the oft-quoted headlines from speeches delivered by leading policymakers on interest rates and exchange rates.
A regular fixture in the lobby at SF Fed headquarters, Federal Reserve Police Officer Paul Trotter greets employees and visitors with a crinkle-eyed grin and ready jokes.
“Ninety-nine percent of our job is communications,” says Trotter. “We get a lot of visitors. A lot of school groups. I want to make sure people feel comfortable walking in and seeing the uniform.”
Many members of the public often make their first impressions of a central bank, and its communications, when meeting a police officer guarding the gate or a receptionist recording the visitors' names and directing them to their contacts.
A central bank ignores this important piece of its overall communications puzzle at its own peril.