Investor relations professionals must convert analysts and investors into brand fanatics. With so much competition for investment funds, investor days give you a unique opportunity to carefully craft the narrative and perception you want stakeholders to walk away with. You are in control of everything from messaging to optics. It’s time to take off your IR hat and put on your CMO hat when creating these experiences.
Gone are the days of hosting your top contacts in a ballroom, sharing boring slides filled with charts, and relying on the hotel A/V team to deliver an impactful experience. Audiences, analysts and investors included are now accustomed to the flexibility and convenience of virtual events. We compare it to the expectations people now have for TV. Netflix changed the game and people want to binge or watch when it is convenient to them, not when the TV schedule dictates it to be aired. Events are facing these same changing expectations. They have transformed for the better into what is known in the marketing world as “virtual brand experiences.”
And the industry is taking note of this change. IR Magazine recently hosted their virtual North America Forum. Not surprisingly, one of the major themes throughout the conference was how investor relations professionals are adapting and adjusting to the new ways of doing business. Mark Wilson, Executive Creative Director at Cramer, participated in a fascinating panel exploring Lessons Learned from Running a Large-Scale Virtual Investor Day.
One key takeaway from the session was that the importance of the engineering and technical team behind the scenes in a virtual investor day cannot be overlooked. As we said, these are no longer obligatory touchpoints with key analysts and investors; investor day is now a brand experience and the best chance to build investor loyalty. When the tech works well it’s invisible, like magic, and the viewers’ attention is only on the message being conveyed by the content. Many IR professionals measure the success of the program based on the analyst and media reactions. Make sure your audience is talking about how great your company is and not how they couldn’t see or hear the information being shared; take away the distractions.
Another lasting impact of going virtual is that your team can get creative and make choices to amplify your message, like what venue your executives speak from. Ask yourself, what optics are you are trying to portray about the status of your business? Perhaps you are looking to separate from the sea of sameness in your industry and showcase innovation. You may want to consider broadcasting from a studio environment like Disney or Hasbro. Or maybe, it’s more important to broadcast from company HQ or a retail environment to highlight recent investments like Starbucks or Jack in the Box. Be intentional about these crucial choices and you will successfully build a positive and lasting experience for your stakeholders.
At the end of the day, investor relations professionals are just scratching the surface of possibility for investor days, and the impacts have been incredible. Investor days have transformed into “virtual brand experiences”. We are excited to see what’s next and to enable our clients to push boundaries and reinvent their investor touchpoints.
Patrick Martin, Senior Account Director, Partner