by Simona D’Agostino
The number of companies announcing investor or analyst days has started to rise again since March/April, following the significant drop-off caused by the pandemic. As we know, the number of meetings dropped off sharply during and after the Covid-19 lockdown: the majority of company events back in March and April were postponed or cancelled.
This month-on-month increase might be a proof that management teams are acknowledging the need to commit to more IR activities, according to the financial and corporate research platform Sentieo.
We acknowledge that in uncertain times, communication is more important than ever. New challenges for IR communications have certainly aroused over the last two quarters; first of all to craft communications that provide transparency and maintain credibility in the face of a fluid and ongoing crisis.
The crisis has highlighted the importance of companies having the correct technology in place for home working. The transition has been much easier for those companies and employees that were already well prepared. As a result, the virtual meeting space has extended and possibly even geographically broaden a company’s potential investor base.
Tim Daubenspeck, partner at the Brunswick Group, says he expects to see an increase in the number of virtual investor and analyst days this coming quarter. ‘We’ve seen a lot of companies delay analyst days and now we’re working with them to plan them,’ he says. ‘Everybody would rather be there in person, but that’s not possible and you can only delay for so long. If you have an impactful announcement or strategic changes, eventually you have to move ahead.’
For IR teams, these virtual events pose a set of challenges different from a standard investor or analyst day. IR professionals don’t currently have to think about catering, seating plans and any number of other logistics associated with in-person events. Instead, questions relate to the reliability of webcasting providers, the quality of video and audio streams and managing the Q&A section.
Some key crisis communications advice, combined with some typical 1H Earnings newswires, can be useful:
Covid-19 has taught us many lessons, and perhaps the most important one is that successfully managing through a crisis of this magnitude and complexity is a unique opportunity to build trust, credibility and corporate reputation across all stakeholders.
The following are some additional communications considerations as we continue to navigate the pandemic:
(We refer herein also to some abstracts from the IR Magazine latest articles)