Best Practices: Digital and Visual Investor Relations Support (Part 1)

“How can IR teams broaden the appeal of their programs by utilizing corporate communications, PR and marketing strategies?”

By Christopher Chu, Vice President, The Piacente Group

The goal of investor relations has always been to protect brand reputation, mitigate risk and showcase executive management teams while maintaining compliance with financial reporting requirements of regulatory bodies.

From a marketing view, it’s our jobs to position management as shining knights in pursuit of maximizing shareholder value while keeping risk at bay. And at minimum, it’s our job to keep the corporate spokespeople of the companies that we work for on message at all times.

We do this via ghost writing for others, mitigating crises or managing the execution of planned events and processes throughout the calendar year. In 2016, I competed for and won a role at J.P. Morgan, joining an investment bank in my 40’s was not something that I had ever planned. It was an unfulfilled itch that needed to be scratched as I had always regretted turning down a role at Goldman to pursue agency IR in my 20’s.

The head of the division where I was employed as well as the head trader of that division entrusted me to lead its Global IR Advisory services team towards new directions, one area of focus was IR thought leadership. So the article that I present to you while timely is also a few years old as it had been shelved when I was recruited to join the marketing team of yet another ADR bank.

Now that I have happily returned to agency life, I thought it would be fun to redraft this shelved piece in hopes that the article sparks interest with IR teams looking to integrate modern digital marketing best practices into their own IR toolkits. The thought being that the world in front of us slows down for no one, not even investor relations which historically has been an extremely conservative field.

As the investor relations community continues to maintain its focus on regulatory communications and financial reporting – the real world around it continues to be constantly bombarded and reshaped by digital marketing. Communications and marketing tactics have traditionally fallen outside the scope of an IR practitioner’s portfolio, yet are commonplace with their colleagues in corporate communications, channel marketing and public relations (PR) teams. The colleagues of IR practitioners have been thrust into this new paradigm, driven by two primary forces content creation and distribution. These two information drivers have promulgated a whole tool chest of analytical tools used to measure, influence and deliver communications across a broad marketing funnel of stakeholders. A marketing funnel by the way describes the “theoretical marketing journey,” by which a consumer is converted from a random uninformed audience participant at the widest part of the funnel to a converted customer at the bottom of the funnel where it is most narrow. If you take this same analogy and swap out a few words for investor and shareholder, it is easily applied to IR marketing. In fact, let’s try it:

A marketing funnel, by the way, describes the “theoretical marketing journey,” by which an investor is converted from a random uninformed audience participant at the widest part of the funnel to a converted shareholder at the bottom of the funnel where it is most narrow.

And voila, we’ve taken our first step in the journey of modernizing the IR toolkit, by looking at marketing theory outside of IR as a discipline. Whether an IR practitioner is targeting a retail audience to invest in their stock or a top shareholder, marketing funnels play an important role in digital IR marketing. As we dive further in this realm of mashing disciplines and integrating IR, corporate communications, PR and marketing we will explore ways in which a Company can put forward a stronger more unified message.

In Relation to IR, Digital Media Techniques Can:

  • Provide a new medium for delivering financial results and communications
  • Be used to call out or provide context to important information statistics
  • Be used to communicate approved messages in “story mode”
  • Re-direct audiences back to information localized on the corporate website and in essence taking back control of content

Part 2 of this article will focus on internal marketing collaboration … see you next time!