IR Recommendations to Implement for the New Normal

Written By Victoria Sivrais, Partner & Elizabeth Saunders, Partner

April 9, 2020

Last week, you likely saw our commentary on how to stay engaged with the Street and evolve your IR program for the “new normal.” As it becomes increasingly clear that stay-at-home orders and the economic fallout are here for the foreseeable future, now is the time to start thinking ahead to the tactical next steps you should be considering as we move forward.

In case you missed it, check it out here: Evolving Your IR Program for the New “Normal”.

30-Day Checklist:

  • Re-align your investor narrative and get your earnings processes in place. With investors focusing on near-term impacts of COVID-19, think about reframing your narrative into a more defensive point of view that emphases the fundamentals of the business, confidence in the long-term nature of your business and transparency of information. Then, prepare for new earnings processes, including managing the earnings call remotely, extensively practicing Q&A and overcommunicating with top holders post-earnings. For additional guidance, see Navigating Earnings in an Uncertain Environment.
  • Take a fresh look at investor materials, with a special focus on investment appeals and positioning, so you can virtually “hit the ground running” post-earnings. It could be that the Growth-oriented narrative you’ve been telling in the “Investment Appeals” page of your presentation needs to be tweaked. Here are some documents you should be going through to ensure they’re up to date and resonate in today’s environment:
    • Investment appeals section of IR site
    • Investor presentation
    • Factsheet
    • IR site messaging and language
    • Targeting “pitch” that you use when reaching out to new investors
  • Similarly, think about your go-to answers for the questions that investors often ask you. You may find that you want to tweak how you’re answering questions around competitive differentiation and industry environment.
  • Take another look at your upcoming IR calendar with the knowledge that you shouldn’t be backing off of marketing, but the platform and format will likely change. Dust off your IR calendar to take a close look at the engagements that you had previously committed to – conferences will likely be virtual if not cancelled, and many analysts will be willing to do “virtual NDRs” in place of travel. Pick up the phone to talk with your covering analysts and their sales teams to brainstorm ways to engage with new and existing holders in lieu of in-person meetings. Now is not the time to back off of marketing, though the medium will likely change.
  • Think through the logistics of a prolonged virtual environment – both for you, and for the Street. Is your IR site optimized for mobile devices? Do you have the right materials online to allow new investors to ramp up on the story? Is your IR presentation easily accessible? Have you set up a conferencing system with video conferencing capabilities, like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, that works across most firewalls?

90-Day Checklist:

  • Strengthen your IR website, which is fast becoming the central hub for investor communications.
    • Consider adding a landing page icon to lead investors to all public statements regarding Covid-19.
    • Ensure the most recent investor roadshow presentation is posted. (This is the single biggest complaint from investors on financial portions of websites.)
    • Build a set of “Company 101” documents and other ‘ramp’ materials to aid new investors in getting up to speed on your story quickly – Put them all in one place.
      • Fact Sheet/Document that introduces your company’s investment story
      • Downloadable financial materials
      • Recent webcasted presentation at sell-side or corporate event
      • Link to applicable Covid-19 information
    • A dynamic FAQ that you update as frequently as possible with incremental disclosures to investors as your management team continues to better understand the ongoing business and financial impacts of COVID-19. This can also be supplemented with an FAQ focused on the overview of the business to aid in ramping new investors
  • Think about incorporating video to creative with how you can give investors “face time” with management. Using video, leveraging in-house capabilities if necessary, can help you log some virtual face time with investors even while we are all practicing social distancing. It’s a perfect time to post these to your IR website. Check out our recent post for more ideas on how to think beyond the press release and expand your virtual communication repertoire to stay in touch with your investors. Trying to figure out where to begin? Start with a “wish list” of executives who you would like to be featured and then begin creating talking points.
  • Ramp up targeting post earnings. Now is the time to take advantage of the new “stock picker” mentality that today’s environment is cultivating, so begin identifying and pre-qualifying new names to introduce them to the story. It is also worth taking a look at your shareholder base to identify quality, long-only holders who are underweight your stock and have buying potential that you should pursue.
  • And finally, double down on ESG. With nearly every large institutional investor having an ESG-integrated or dedicated fund, a strong ESG narrative can get you positive attention. BlackRock’s recent request for all portfolio companies to report on its performance within the SASB materiality matrix will likely kickstart to most companies to get started here. Here are the things you should be doing on ESG (all of which we can help you with):
    • Create a timeline so you know which rating deadlines are coming up throughout the year and can prioritize your focus accordingly
    • Analyze and garner a full understanding of how you score versus your peers and what areas are most critical to focus on
    • Start going through all reports and frameworks to determine what issues are fixable in the near-, mid- and long-term, and which are not as fixable
    • Build out ESG content, including an ESG slide and website page

Reach out to us to get the ball rolling on these initiatives and to tailor them to your specific needs. In the meantime, we also invite you to visit our full COVID-19 Response Center.

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