Category Archives: Investor relations

Who are the next Investor Relations Officers? (…and a final #selfie w/ Jeff Morgan)

125 attendees are gathered in Boston this week for The National Investor Relations Institute’s (NIRI) Fundamentals of Investor Relations Seminar. This 3.5 day seminar is NIRI’s “IR 101” – and in addition to North America, the “students” (and current clients) fly in from across the globe: Brazil, Egypt, Iceland, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Palestine, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Between the formal sessions, coffee refueling and our sales demonstrations (to thunderous applause), we conducted an attendee study to learn exactly how this Freshman Class of IROs is built.

Where did you come from?

ROLE

Are you a new hire or an internal change?   

years

There are no grand conclusions here, other than IR is predominantly a financial role – and many of the sessions have a heavier focus on the communications aspects of the IR role. That’s probably an easier path than trying to teach a marketing guy about GAAP reconciliation.

———————————————————————-

It’s also important to take a pause here and wish Jeff Morgan, NIRI’s exiting CEO, a sincere and fond farewell. Jeff became the CEO of NIRI in 2007 and immediately sculpted a business environment that takes expert care of IR practitioners and service providers alike. As Jeff said, “we’re all NIRI members.”

82ef9aa8-5111-4e4f-a28c-f9974a2fe0c1-large

Break a leg, Jeff!

What is content marketing? Why, it’s merely investor relations for products and brands.

This week, 2,500 very passionate content marketers have descended on Cleveland to attend Content Marketing World. We’re a huge proponent.

How pundits define content marketing: transparent storytelling for products and brands. However, rather than telling those stories through traditional media and paid channels like “advertising,” companies own their own…

“…media channels and create passionate subscribers to the brand. To do this effectively, we need to create valuable, impactful and compelling content on a consistent basis…”

~ Joe Pulzzi, CEO, Content Marketing Institute

“Valuable, impactful and compelling content.” Or as we say in the IR space… material disclosure.

Click here to download our exclusive study sourced from 40,000 responses.

Click here to download our exclusive study sourced from 40,000 responses.

Investor relations departments are the quintessential content marketers– specifically because they cannot embellish from the facts at all. They cannot buy ads promising any benefit. What IR does is tell their corporate story by offering an engaging mosaic of facts (past performance), introduce the drivers (senior management) and then continue to publish relevant content via landing pages (IR website), webinars (earnings calls), infographics (stock charts) and multimedia events (virtual investor conferences).

This constant nurture cultivates trust with the prospect (called the “investor”) and well as current clients (called “shareholders”)

One essential aspect of content marketing is communicating what the targeted audience deems important to entice them to engage more. What is relevant to your investors?  Read our ongoing study “How Investor Consume Investor Relations” sourced from over 40,000 responses from both individual and institutional investors.

Download it now.

Have a great day.

What to consider for mobile communications to investors

In the new book, The Mobile Mind Shift: Engineer Your Business to Win in the Mobile Moment (Ted Schadler, Josh Bernoff, Julie Ask), much of the book’s premise speaks of The Mobile Moment. The Mobile Moment is “the instant in which your customer is seeking an answer.”

The book gives clear examples, air travel being an obvious one: book my flight, check my flight, delay alerts about my flight, bar code my boarding pass and so on. Certainly, urgency and immediacy are germane for the travel customer.

But what about mobile for investor relations? What is “the instant in which your [investor] is seeking an answer?” Hopefully, your shareholder communications moments are NOT driven by urgency and immediacy (crisis communications), but by a moment of convenience.

CouchApp

“I want to view $XYZ’s investor PPT on my train commute into the office. I want to review $XYZ’s recent 10-K in Starbucks. I want to listen to the $XYZ’s earnings call on my couch. In my underwear.” Urgent, not. Immediate, perhaps. Convenient, absolutely.

Remember – no one is trading off an IR website, mobile or desk browser. Investors don’t visit your IR website for real-time quotes. Investors visit your IR website for careful due diligence research – as clearly reported in our “How Investors Consume Investor Relations Content” study. They may not be trading at that Mobile Moment, but they are making decisions.

To guide executives to create a mobile strategy, The Mobile Mind Shift’s authors recommend three concepts to define a mobile offering:

  • Intensity: whether it is appropriate to connect with customers on mobile.
  • Expectation: the level of urgency to build a mobile site.
  • Behavior: the features customers are ready for.

These are the drivers that you need to discuss within your department. Understandably, as a shareholder communications service provider, we’ve already walked this path for you. Our IR Rooms have two Mobile Moment Matchmakers: responsive design and theIRapp. Offering both assure that regardless of their behavior, you address both the intensity and expectation of each individual (professional or retail) investor.

Have a great day.

Dōmo arigatō, Mr. (AP earnings reporter) Roboto

The Associated Press (AP) announced that they will be expanding their quarterly earning reporting from 300 companies to 4,400 companies by automating this banal and non-investigative journalism with “robots.”

AP_robot


From the AP:

For many years, we have been spending a lot of time crunching numbers and rewriting information from companies to publish approximately 300 earnings reports each quarter. We discovered that automation technology, from a company called Automated Insights, paired with data from Zacks Investment Research, would allow us to automate short stories – 150 to 300 words — about the earnings of companies in roughly the same time that it took our reporters.

Instead, our journalists will focus on reporting and writing stories about what the numbers mean and what gets said in earnings calls on the day of the release, identifying trends and finding exclusive stories we can publish at the time of the earnings reports.

What this means for issuers:

  • Expanded distribution from the AP: AP earnings articles are a formulaic synopsis of your formal earnings announcement. “Mr. Roboto” doubles your earnings’ content marketing towards investors, analysts and financial journalists who get feeds from the AP. In essence, the AP is treating your earnings as data rather than news.
  • Journalists more focused on stories: This is especially important for Emerging Growth and Small-cap companies. Many of these companies are Story Stocks, as their numbers are not so great (yet). The Human Journalists may have more availability and curiosity now for underdog and under-the-radar stocks. You could experience better ROI for your outreach efforts to the appropriate AP journalists. Get your story polished. 
  • What’s good for the goose is good for the gander: Issuers should have no fear of newsflow automation. Automate all banal distribution tasks. Here is a briefing on how you can automate your newsflow into Twitter and Stocktwits.

NOTE: The AP is not the only capital markets “reporting” organization to use robots. Resistance is futile.

Have a great day.

A brief “What Does CASL Mean for IR” blog post that does not constitute legal advice what-so-ever ipso facto

The Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL – pronounced “Castle”) goes into effect today, July 1, 2014. If you are in Canada or send electronic communications (email, IMs, Twitter direct messages) to Canadians, you’ll need to comply.

What does this mean for IR departments? Most likely, not a heck of a lot – especially if you have a commercially managed IR website (like our IR Room). You are already following the US CAN-SPAM guidelines by default.

Your email / opt-in procedure should already include:

  • The name of your organization and a description of the types of opt-in messages subscribers can expect to receive. For IR, this is your email alert opt-in system built within you IR site i.e. “I would like to receive a daily closing stock price.”
  • A statement informing individuals that they may withdraw (opt-out) their consent i.e “You can unsubscribe at any time.”
  • A functioning unsubscribe mechanism.
  • The mailing address and one of either a phone number/web address/email address of your organization.

That said, why is CASL being called the toughest SPAM law on the planet?

CASLThe difference between the US spam laws and Canada’s is actually deceiving simple.

In the US, it is opt-out legislation: you can (more or less) email contacts without legal retribution as long as you do not continue to email them AFTER they have unsubscribed. A “beg forgiveness rather than ask permission” model.

CASL is the opposite. It’s opt-in legislation: you cannot (commercially) email anyone without their appropriate consent BEFORE you hit the send button.

A simple example: you recently presented at an investor conference and the host organization gave you a contact list of all attendees. Your earnings call is next week and you would like to invite this group to the listen to the call. You may email the US-based contacts. The recipients may personally view your email as junk and alert “the internet” you are spam and get your email domain blacklisted (which is a drag), but that’s about it. However, if there are Canadian firms on the contact list, without documented express permission to email them - they have a binding legal right to ruin your day.

If you commit a violation under any of sections 6 to 9 of CASL, then you can be slapped with a steep administrative monetary penalty (AMP). The maximum amount of an AMP, per violation, for an individual is $1 million, and for a business, $10 million. Directors, officers and agents of a corporation can be liable too.

Fortunately, there is a three-year transition period, until July 1, 2017, to help companies adopt these new regulations. If you have more questions about CASL, contact an REAL CASL attorney who is familiar with this issue.

Realistically, the lionshare of IR departments will not have any trouble with CASL, as the technical opt-in process does mirror US CAN-SPAM. The trouble-spots will be around bulk uploading and emailing to new contact lists. You will need to be thoughtful about emailing contacts (in mass) from a IR targeting program.

Overall, the communications behavior of IR departments created no issues with the US CAN-SPAM Act, so the same professional IR work patterns should apply with CASL.

Emerging Growth and small-cap companies need to be a very aware to what their IR firms are doing on their behalf (coughcoughstockpromotioncough). Liability will trickle to all involved.

Bottomline, just don’t send “blast emails” to non-opt-in Canadian contacts. Official FAQs here: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/com500/faq500.htm

Have a great day.

New Practice Group from Vintage Guides Clients with Shareholder Communications Solutions

“Corporate Services” brings intelligent value to investor relations at Emerging Growth and Small-cap companies

NEW YORK, June 27, 2014 / PR Newswire / — Vintage, a division of PR Newswire, today announced the expansion of their Vintage offerings to include Corporate Services, a practice area providing customized investor relations solutions for small-cap and emerging growth companies (EGC). The establishment of this new practice group within Vintage follows the company’s recent rebranding announcement.

The inclusion of investor relations services along with Vintage’s regulatory compliance services – IPO registration, XBRL, EDGAR and financial print – creates the industry’s first turnkey, intelligent value for public companies: beginning with their experience as a pre-IPO organization well into their maturity as a public equity.

PIGGY_BANKS_IRO_imbalanced5

Click to enlarge

According to a recent industry report from Rivel Research, small-cap companies spend 42% of their total investor relations budget with outside service providers, compared to the 18% allocation that large companies spend. For many smaller companies, the investor relations function is still viewed as a cost center and within these companies, whose average annual spend on external IR services is $130,000, budgets cuts are a constant concern. These financial pressures mandate that companies spend as intelligently as possible.

Vintage’s investor relations solutions cover multiple aspects of transparent shareholder communications, and are built to fit EGC, small- and mid-cap company requirements:

  • Investor relations websites
  • Earnings webcasting and conference calls
  • Media and news disclosure
  • Analyst-targeted distribution
  • Virtual Data Rooms
  • Rich media content creation
  • Annual report production and online distribution

“Emerging growth and small-cap companies have two related challenges – they are overlooked by Wall Street and underserved by the shareholder communications firms that support the industry,” said Liam Power, President of Vintage. “We’re helping our current Vintage regulatory compliance clients by bundling and integrating investor relations solutions into our Corporate Services practice, giving clients a toolset that can increase the presence of their financial brand while eliminating redundant, wasteful workflow tasks.”

One key example of the importance of shareholder communications, as reported in the 2014 “How Investors Consume Investor Relations Content” study, is that 70% of investors reported they will not take a position in a stock if the company does not have an investor relations website. “It is our goal to remove the barriers to capital for all our clients. For smaller companies, this includes offering a fee structure that is  balanced with their needs for shareholder communications,” continued Power. “That is how we define intelligent value.”

Vintage has released three new regulatory compliance and shareholder communications packages expressly for EGC and small-cap companies.

For detailed information:  http://www.thevintagegroup.com/contact-us/

###

About Vintage

Vintage, a PR Newswire division, is a top-three provider of full-service regulatory compliance and shareholder communications services, delivered across our three practice areas: Capital Markets, Corporate Services and Institutional & Fund Services.

Founded in 2002 and acquired by PR Newswire in 2007, Vintage has evolved to become the industry’s intelligent value choice. We deliver a flexible balance of people, facilities and technology to ensure that regulatory compliance and shareholder communications processes are efficient, transparent and painless. Services include IPO registrations, transactions, virtual data rooms, EDGAR & XBRL filing, typesetting, financial printing and investor relations websites. www.thevintagegroup.com

About PR Newswire

PR Newswire (www.prnewswire.com) is the premier global provider of multimedia platforms that enable marketers, corporate communicators, sustainability officers, public affairs and investor relations officers to leverage content to engage with all their key audiences. Having pioneered the commercial news distribution industry 60 years ago, PR Newswire today provides end-to-end solutions to produce, optimize and target content — from rich media to online video to multimedia — and then distribute content and measure results across traditional, digital, mobile and social channels. Combining the world’s largest multi-channel, multi-cultural content distribution and optimization network with comprehensive workflow tools and platforms, PR Newswire enables the world’s enterprises to engage opportunity everywhere it exists. PR Newswire serves tens of thousands of clients from offices in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, and is a UBM plc company. www.prnewswire.com

Media Contact:

Bradley H. Smith
Director of Marketing, IR and Compliance Services
PR Newswire & Vintage
+1 201.947.7157
bradley.smith@prnewswire.com

NIRI 2014: social media whitepaper (and happy faces part 1)

The National Investor Relations Institute’s 2014 Conference in Las Vegas was a big win for everyone. Sincere thanks to the NIRI organization for hosting yet another successful event. This annual event is one of the few conferences where IR practitioners and service providers meet not just to “buy and sell,” but to have real discussion about the industry and its drivers.

One of the more popular (and appreciated) conversation in our booth was regarding our very practical advice for social media. We ran out of printed copies of current whitepaper that gives guidance for risk-free and hands-free social media for IR: you can download it here.

A few IROs even referenced the social media blog article from last March. That was very complimentary.

Visiting our booth isn’t just about shareholder communications. We squeezed in a little fun too!

n2 n4 n7 n32 n31 n30 n29 n26 n23 n14 n12 n10