Having recently attended the NIRI annual conference, I came away with a much better understanding of how incredibly diverse and demanding the workload is for most Investor Relations teams. Being an IR Executive requires being wired with both left and right-brain talents: it’s commanding facts and figures as much as it is having great communication skills.
That’s why I was surprised when a SVP of IR at a Fortune 200 company asked me why she’d ever need to create a video, since she’s not in a brand or corporate communications role. Simply put, stakeholders want on-demand information about your leaders and your company, and they want it on their computers, phones and tablets whenever they choose to view it. Along with your annual report, video provides an opportunity to share your company’s stories and people on a level that goes far beyond what you can do just in print.
Attract Intrinsic Investors
Companies and their executives are being bullied and buffeted this way and that by short-term, quick-profit investors. Nobody can make great decisions in a constant high-pressure, social and news media-intensive environment. Great CEOs focus on growing healthy, innovative firms that will last long after they depart and serve a wide group of people: their employees, customers, vendors and the community, to name a few. An excellent article on this topic, appropriately titled “Capitalism for the Long Haul” and written by Dominic Barton, McKinsey’s CEO, was published a few years back in the Harvard Business Review. (You can read it here.)
Attracting committed, long-term investors requires a proactive approach that includes sharing your vision of the company’s future and offering stories that demonstrate your value. People remember stories over facts and figures any day, since they give context and depth and can often convey things in an emotional way, making your points far easier to recall.
Offer Transparency & Greater Visibility
Video also provides an opportunity for investors and prospective investors to see and hear directly from your company’s key players, allowing them to get to know your leaders in a manner that merely reading about them can’t offer. Since by now you already have an IR site, it’s the ideal place to share stories about your company’s people, products and purpose. Give investors a chance to know more about your company than just its stock price. For example, one NIRI speaker mentioned how taking investors to a manufacturing plant was a good way to engage them. For investors who don’t have the time for a site visit – or are currently considering investing with you and are doing their homework to learn more about you – video can provide that window. As an added bonus, video substantially raises your SEO for your website, which often translates into more engagement for you!
Strut your CSR & ESG Credentials
If you’re working at a best-in-class company, you know all the important Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental, Social & Governance work your firm has done will help attract the right kinds of investors. Attributes like your employee retention rates, your LEED-certified buildings and facilities and your diversity and inclusion programs can make long-term investors’ hearts quicken. And there’s no better way to show off these efforts than by documenting them with video.
Consider these comments:
“Companies that are considered leaders in ESG policies are also leading the pack in stock performance by an average of 25%.” —Goldman Sachs
“There is increasing evidence showing that superior performance in managing climate risk is a useful proxy for superior, more strategic corporate management, and therefore for superior financial value and shareholder value-creation.” —RiskMetrics
Demonstrating your company’s commitments through film can allow you to develop partnerships that last for years, rather than those subject to nanosecond trading technology.
When Stanley Black & Decker’s former VP of Investor & Government Relations, Kate Vanek, came to us several years ago to create a few films she was truly ahead of the curve. Annual reports were still largely ink on paper, and IR websites were rare indeed. We created a series of videos that reflected the company’s culture, profiled its C-suite and revealed its hidden success stories. What she didn’t know going in was just how enthusiastically every department would embrace the finished films: HR wanted them for recruiting, corporate communications wanted them for meetings, and on and on.
At NIRI, we talked a great deal about what it takes to get a seat at the Leadership Table. Creating a voice that connects to your constituents, that conveys your true value, and reflects the strategy of your C-Suite is a great place to start. Bringing your story to life will take many participants at your company and your 360 view makes you the perfect person for the project.
Want to see a a couple examples of IR Films? Check out:
Stanley Black and Decker’s “Symphony” demonstrates their long term thinking and “Emhart Teknologies” highlights a very profitable, relatively unknown division of the organization not just as a number on a chart, but as people doing cool things to help the company succeed.