Hosting an investor day can be a powerful way to raise management visibility and credibility, highlight the depth of your management team, and clarify your company’s value proposition and growth strategy. But planning a successful investor day is no small task. Here are five tips to help you along the way.
- Have Clear Objectives.
It’s crucial to start the planning process with clear objectives. Why are you hosting the event at this particular time? What investor relations outcomes do you expect? What messages do you want to communicate? Who should deliver prepared remarks?
For example, planning an investor day around a major announcement adds excitement and gives you the opportunity to provide the Street with a deeper level of detail. This in turn creates an additional incentive for investors to attend the event. These announcements can range from the arrival of a new CEO to a major product launch, a transformative acquisition or a new corporate strategy.
It can make sense to include third-party speakers in addition to your management team, depending on the focus of your investor day. For example, a company that recently announced a new drug might invite a physician to speak about its benefits. A software company launching a new product could include a user panel discussion. Selecting the appropriate speakers is instrumental to successful investor day messaging.
- Do Your Due Diligence in Selecting the Venue and Date.
Countless hours of planning go into organizing an investor day, so do your due diligence when selecting the location and time of year for the event. It can be helpful to reach out to your sell-side analysts and key shareholders in advance for their opinions about the timing or location you are considering.
Key things to consider:
- While New York City is the default location for investor days because of the potential for higher attendance, there may be a compelling reason to select another venue. For example, a new manufacturing facility could showcase your company’s unique competitive advantages.
- Time of Year. It is wise to avoid holiday periods and stay away from typical vacation weeks and earnings seasons.
- Conflicting Events. Check for any conflicting industry or investor conferences, as well as any planned events by your peers.
- Create and Follow a Detailed Timeline.
Developing a highly detailed timeline is imperative to keep you on track while planning your investor day. Holding weekly update meetings for the investor relations team and any outside consultants will ensure that you are on track and not missing any important deadlines.
Key items to include in your timeline:
- Action Steps. Identify every single action step with the target completion date and the name of the person responsible for implementation.
- List all the deliverables necessary for the event, such as the invitee list, conference room setup arrangements and speakers’ presentations and scripts.
- Highlight all deadlines related to your venue and vendors, such as providing the conference center with a final count for meals. Being systematic will help avoid last-minute headaches and potentially additional rush charges and fees.
- Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse.
Rehearsing for the investor day is essential. It allows your speakers to practice their delivery as well as make sure they are successfully communicating the key messages you want the audience to take away from the presentations. Conducting a full run-through of all of the presentations will ensure that the timing is in synch with the schedule, and that the prepared remarks will not run too long – or too short. It also is a good idea to go through potential questions and rehearse the appropriate answers.
Key things to consider when rehearsing:
- Presentation Training. For members of the management team who may not be as experienced with presenting to investors, it is worthwhile to consider presentation training. Engaging an expert presentation coach can help build confidence and ensure a dynamic delivery.
- Reg FD Training. If your speakers are not familiar with Reg FD, it is important to get them trained by an expert so they know what they are and are not allowed to say when talking to the Street.
- Gather Feedback (to prepare for your next event).
Preparing a feedback survey to distribute to attendees following your investor day will provide management with a deeper understanding of the Street’s opinions about your company as an investment, as well as the effectiveness of the event. Understanding what messages were successfully communicated and what areas may need some work can help shape and improve your future communications.
Jamie A. Bernard is a Senior Associate at Sharon Merrill. She counsels clients on a range of investor relations issues, including investor targeting, competitive intelligence and online communications. She provides direct support for investor days and non-deal road shows, as well as market research projects and quarterly earnings announcements. Jamie represents clients in a variety of industries including energy, environmental services, industrial, life sciences, oil and gas, consulting and technology. She is currently on the board of directors of the Boston Chapter of the National Investor Relations Institute.
For more information on how Sharon Merrill can help you host an Investor Day, please contact us at info@InvestorRelations.com, or at 617-542-5300.