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Post Investor Day Thoughts

Nasdaq Times Square_1106

Nasdaq Times Square_1106 (Photo credit: gmacfadyen)

I recently returned from helping a client host a very successful investor day in New York City.  Every year for the last four years, we have introduced various members of our management team, customers and industry pundits to nearly 100 investors to help them better understand our opportunities and long-term goals.  Our 2013 event was the best yet, so I thought it might be interesting to share some pointers for a successful investor day, while it’s still fresh in my mind.

  • Hold an event only if you have  something to say.  Make your investor day worth the time and effort it takes to successfully produce a great event, and ensure your audience leaves with a favorable opinion of the company.  Holding an event just for the sake of having one is not a great decision.  Holding an event because you have new wisdom to impart about the company, is.
  • Target your audience.  The day is only as good as your attendee list.  Those with a keen interest in your company will help facilitate a more interactive session with great questions and a chance for your management team to shine.
  • Expect no-shows.  Drop off is generally in the 10-20% range, but a bad day in the market or extraordinary breaking news can drive that number up to the 50% range.
  • Be selective in who presents.  Those parts of your business that command investor attention should be included, while those that may not be core to your long-term growth strategy needn’t be.
  • Consider using guest speakers.  Allowing those outside your company to communicate with investors, provides you with third-party support and adds a little something special to your event.  Guest speakers can be solo participants, part of a panel, or included in a fireside chat.  Again, be selective.  Use outside speakers only when you are relatively certain that they will speak positively about your company and that they have a good stage presence.
  • Provide hard copies of your presentation.  There has been much debate recently on NIRI’s eGroups message boards about the benefits (or lack thereof) of slide deck hard copies.  While it’s true that digital communication is the wave of the future, and possibly even of the present, I’ve found that investors generally like to hold the decks in their hands, have them available for easy reference and use them for note taking.
  • Choose your venue carefully.  You’ll want to pick an event space that can comfortably hold all of your guests, leaving them room to spread out a bit, while ensuring the presenters and screen can be seen from anywhere in the room.  I can personally recommend the spaces at Nasdaq and Convene.
  • The message is king, but logistics matter.  While the message is key to giving investors the clarity and visibility for which they are looking, logistics are just as important.  Keep guests comfortable by providing food and drinks (an informal lunch or cocktail party gives investors a chance to mingle with management).  Offer an agenda and clear guidance on what guests should expect during the day.  Have notebooks and pens available for guest use.  Think about what would make you comfortable at an event, and provide that for your guests.
  • Webcast, webcast, webcast.  Not only will a webcast ensure compliance with Reg FD, but it will allow those who cannot travel to the event a chance to participate.
  • Invite the board.  Having the board in attendance shows their commitment to your company, while bringing them closer to your investor base.  A recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal highlighted the need for better communication between these constituencies.  In my book, transparency is always the best policy.

Perhaps the most important piece of wisdom I can share is to have fun with it.  It takes a lot of work, and at least six months of lead time, to produce a successful investor day.  But, if you take a step back to enjoy the day and process, you might find it to be a meaningful experience.

– Laurie Berman, lberman@pondel.com

 

To-Do List: Investor Day

Riviera Country Club

PondelWilkinson recently organized an investor day at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles (Photo Credit: wikipedia.com)

Fall is upon us and the scent of a fine buffet meal is in the air.  Amid the cacophony of seasonal investor conferences and roadshows, another IR programming stalwart is vying for investors’ time – the Investor Day.
 
According to a recent National Investor Relations Institute study, more than two-thirds of members surveyed host some sort of periodic analyst or investor day.  While the data somewhat favor the larger companies (who typically have more analyst coverage), these events are becoming increasingly popular among companies of all sizes. Two of my colleagues recently ran an investor day at the well-heeled Riviera Club in Los Angeles; two others are still recuperating from an over-subscribed investor event in New York that included the NASDAQ closing bell ceremony; and several of us are in the throes of supporting a third analyst and investor day that will include on-camera clapping for the morning bell at the New York Stock Exchange, as well as a media relations component.
 
And while the extensive planning and coordination might warrant a strait jacket, once completed, the effort and investment is almost always worthwhile.
 
The reasons for holding investor days are varied, but typically fall into the following categories:
 

  • To showcase the depth and breadth of the management team and provide additional insights into company-driving businesses;
     

  • To unveil a new product, product line, or company initiative;
     
    To reveal company financial targets and the roadmap toward achieving them; or
     

  • To introduce a newly acquired company or business and its executive team.

 
While company and even investor budgets are still tight, the purse strings seem to be loosening.  But to ensure actual attendance matches up with a “confirmed” list, companies should think hard about creating a compelling event that is not easily bumped from the calendar.
 
In addition to details outlined in the NIRI survey, consider the following when planning for your next Investor Day:
 

  • Issue a Save-the-Date notice well in advance;
     

  • If you are hosting the event at your company headquarters, try to tie it in with a local social event  or facilities tour that might help to bolster attendance (many attendees at the event going on right now will play the famed golf course afterward);
     

  • Construct a theme that creates some personality for the event and helps to unify the message for all of the presenters;
     

  • If the timing works in your favor, perhaps issue a splashy news release on the day of the event outlining your key message points (don’t forget to think about your media campaign and consider offering news as an exclusive to appear on the day of your event);
     

  • Consider inviting a guest speaker(s) such as a customer or industry guru (or show a video of the same) to put your story in greater context; and,
     

  • Make the best use of management’s time together and schedule a company planning session with the assembled division heads the day after your event.

 
Of course, I would be remiss in not casually mentioning the merits of utilizing a seasoned IR advisory team – even on a project basis – to help maximize the investment made for this important annual event.  With the scars to prove it, a team such as ours has almost seen it all – we know what works, what’s compelling, and, of course, which hotels serve the best buffets.

 

PondelWilkinson, investor@pondel.com
 
 

Investor Day Poll

With annual reports complete and 10Ks filed, a number of companies are now in the midst of planning an investor day.  A successful investor day begins with diligent planning – and there are myriad details to consider beginning with the date, time and location.
 
During a recent call with a client, investor day woes were expressed about New York rush hour traffic and the dress code of a particular venue. So here is my question: Where do you think the best place is to hold an investor day?  Please let us know through our Facebook poll

 

Matt Sheldon, msheldon@pondel.com