It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your IR program is?

Investor Relations

Investor Relations (source)

I’m not really asking where your IR program is in the geographic sense of the word.  I’m asking where your IR program is in terms of effectiveness.  Every once in a while, it’s good to take a step back and evaluate whether your strategies and tactics are still productive.
 
A recent webcast, based on a survey conducted by Thomson Reuters, demonstrated that in today’s world of “risk aversion, macro dominance, reduced focus on active equity and equity fund outflows,” getting your story heard can be very challenging.  An article in CFO Magazine echoed the sentiment that “the rockiness of the equity markets and the prevalence of high-frequency trading and exchange-traded funds make cultivating the investor base tougher than ever.”
 
Are you doing the right things to be appropriately noticed by the investment community?  Respondents from the Thomson Reuters survey noted that knowledge of the business and ability to answer questions, responsiveness and timelines, and financial guidance are among the most important facets of a good investor relations program.  Interestingly, however, a separate survey conducted by the National Investor Relations Institute showed that the number of companies providing financial guidance has steadily declined over the last several years, with 76 percent of companies providing financial guidance in 2012, compared with 81 percent in 2010 and 85 percent in 2009.
 
While there will never be full agreement between the investment community and listed companies on providing guidance, and while every investor relations program is unique, there are a few things that all IROs should consider:
 

  • Build trust with the investment community through consistency, transparency and willingness to engage.
  • Take an individualized, targeted and precise approach to identifying appropriate investors.  Spend time with these prospective investors through one-on-one meetings, at conferences or by hosting site visits and investor days.  Stress quality over quantity.
  • Ensure your messages help the investment community understand your growth path and its trajectory.
  • Use business and financial press as an additional communications vehicle.  Include video in press releases and on your IR website to generate better engagement by making your story come to life.
  • Be aware of what’s being said about your company via social media, and strategically use social media to deliver your messages.
  • While any worthwhile activity generally requires time and patience, the long-term result should be enhanced shareholder value.

 

Laurie Berman, lberman@pondel.com
 
 

AP’s Right ‘Frame’ of Mind

Associated Press Logo

The Associated Press

Soon, reporters at the Associated Press will be equipped with smart phones enabling them to simultaneously report news across all social media platforms, according to insiders at the global wire service.
 
AP reporters, trained to write, will be able and directed to capture video, take wire-worthy photos, tweet live from a news event, and of course, “phone in” stories as appropriate. Incorporating video alongside online news is not exactly brand new, although wire service reporters trained on how to shoot video is something of a paradigm shift in the media reporting business.
 
AP’s move is indicative of the changing media landscape and how some news outlets are responding to today’s highly competitive, multi-media news cycle.  Although wire services have remained relatively unscathed in this new media environment, mostly because of their ability to produce and distribute 24-hour news coverage, editorial staffs still have been cut, and long gone are the days of simply filing news for the next day’s newspaper.
 
What’s interesting is the growing use of video in online news coverage, not to mention how traditional journalists are embracing this medium.  Ironically, a recent survey by PR Newswire found that 75 percent of journalists want to use video when gathering news.  This is a sharp contrast compared to only 43 percent of communications professionals who say video is important to journalists.
 
Video is new again. This is primarily due to the Internet and inexpensive technologies that enable people to shoot, edit and post good quality content.  More than 40 billion videos are viewed in the U.S. each month, says Jonathan Taplin, clinical professor at USC’s Annerberg School for Communication.  There’s also great value, too.  Videos can be shared with key audiences and picked up by online media, but most importantly, the content creates a deeper bond with viewers.  That’s why movies will never go out of out of business.
 
The lesson here is that video dramatically has changed the media landscape.  Remote multi-media reporters with real journalism experience will be the new modern day correspondents of the 21st century. While this sounds like a futuristic science fiction movie plot, the reality is that it’s happening now, not tomorrow or in the near future.

 

George Medici, gmedici@pondel.com