We all know the story of the pilot fish, those tiny little guys that follow around some ocean animal a lot bigger, faster and with more teeth just to feed off the plankton clinging to the side of its “host”.

Well that basically describes the media rating behavior behind financial service provider Piper Jaffray.

The firm’s’ media rating is up +1 point at a moderate 63 rating this month. Media momentum had been running strong for a nearly 8 months before taking a hit this month, off -8 percent. But overall, the brand is showing strong trailing 12-month media gains, up +14 percent year-over-year.

And to top things off for Piper Jaffray, the brand is also at a new 4-year high!

But what’s the Apple connection and why is it important?

First off.  This one caught me by surprise. Investment bankers are constantly tracking the comings and goings of all manner of public companies.  It’s informed publicity and the basic strategy for attracting new clients.   But Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Muster has taken matters up (or down) a notch when it comes to Apple Computer.

And that’s where our media rating story begins.

MediaQuant covers over 40 market sectors.  The Financial Service Sector with its 103 brands rarely show sizeable rating changes from month to month.  If they do, it’s typically for reasons that aren’t necessarily in the public’s best interest, i.e. mortgage backed securities,  financial crisis, faulty loan servicing, red-lining, rate manipulation, insider trading, out-sized bonus packages, etc.   Essentially, there’s no short list of bad news topics for bankers.   Of course, the media is quite culpable here as there’s not whole lot of innovation in the sector.  May be in the online payment area, but basic banking has been, well,  basic.

Enter Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Muster.   Piper Jaffray drove a series of positive (yes, I wrote the word positive with an investment banking brand in the same sentence) for covering a high profile brand – Apple (the host fish, or shark depending upon your OS preference).  And not just Apple the high-flying stock symbol.  But Apple Watch, Apple TV, Apple Music and everything real and imagined that is the Apple mystique.   Mr. Muster has become quite the pundit on Apple’s innovation, even propelling storylines about products that don’t really exists (Apple Television).

Note that Apple’s media rating is currently an enviable 99.

Whether by design or accident, Piper Jaffray has become the ultimate Apple Computer pilot fish.  And with the correct spin and media outreach, this little pilot fish is a standout in the financial service brand sector.