Four Trends in Investor Communications Every IRO Should Know
Much of the conversation over the past year has been around the appropriateness of social media and investor communications, but this is not the only emerging trend IROs should be looking at right now.
Other communications trends point to more information hosted online and a convergence of messages. Since diverse audiences can easily access online communications, investors, customers, and employees may all be visiting the investor site. But this is good news since many messages of interest to investors are also important to other audiences – posting these messages in one place will provide better context for all.
Here are four trends for you to incorporate now that will give your communications more context, clarity and reach.
The Annual Report becomes a “Living Report”
Digital medium doesn’t need to be a snapshot in time since the ability to refresh content and provide updates is a key benefit of this format. An online annual report should become a “living report” with strategy and operation updates available throughout the year.
The information typically included in an annual can become part of the overall investor site. Content should be available in a variety of places and not be restricted to the boundaries of a stand-alone report format.
Making the Case for the Investor Site as Disclosure
Regulations are paving the way for more flexibility in disclosure, but the standards are currently vague. As we go through this period of regulation refinement, prepare your communications channels now by using social media to communicate and drive traffic back to the investor site and to make the site more informative.
Additionally, to further the reach of investor information, consider including features that allow for content to be easily shared via email or social networks. The clear trend is for the investor site to become an “information hub” now as well as a disclosure channel in the future.
Integrating CSR and Sustainability with Investor Messages
As corporate social responsibility and sustainability initiatives are becoming more closely tied to financial results, they are beginning to converge with financial communications. Investors and employees alike are concerned about a company’s sustainability and how it impacts the long-term health of the company as well as the bottom line.
IROs should become more involved with sustainability, especially when relating strategic themes between investor and sustainability communications. Reports should thematically align but not necessarily be bundled together to mitigate SEC scrutiny of sustainability reporting.
With Video and Charts, a Dynamic Medium can help the Message
Whether delivering an executive message or taking a look at operations, video is an excellent medium for giving “life” to the story by incorporating conversations and movement. Video is becoming more feasible as both the technology and bandwidth needed for delivery become more commonplace.
The move toward XBRL is pushing an expectation where charts are becoming closer to a Microsoft Excel-like experience – filterable, sortable and dynamic, versus flat and static data.
As President at Savage Brands, Bethany is known for forging powerful connections – connecting people to people and connecting companies with the fresh ideas that make their brands purposeful. In her recent book, "Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line and Build Your Brand on Purpose," Bethany conveys to business leaders the importance of leading with purpose.