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Our Blog: The Podium

When It’s Time for a Change: Replacing a Director

Note: This is the finale in our three-part series on succession communications.

As you’ve no doubt noticed from our previous posts on communicating CEO and CFO transitions, there’s no such thing as a “standard” executive announcement. And messaging board-level succession carries additional nuances you’ll need to consider as you frame a board change in the best position for long-term success with the investment community.

To assist in that effort, here are five points to guide you in announcing a change on your board.

1. Change is good. Change carries inherent uncertainty, and investors typically frown on that. However, institutional shareholders, and shareholder activists in particular, have emphasized board refreshment in recent years as a means of improving corporategovernance. Proxy advisers Glass Lewis and ISS also view it favorably. The theory here is that more frequent board turnover opens a company to new thinking and the best possible strategic benefits in the long run. Put another way, your board either can be stagnant or growing. Approach your announcement from a confident perspective, because chances are your shareholders will welcome the addition of new viewpoints.

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Investor Relations Blog, Succession Planning, Corporate Governance, Crisis Communications, Investor Relations, Corporate Communications, Succession Communication

A Fireside Chat with NIRI President and CEO Jim Cudahy

I moderated a fireside chat with NIRI’s new President and CEO, Jim Cudahy, as part of NIRI Boston’s 2015-2016 Season Kickoff Event last week. We talked about the state of IR today, and what we can expect from NIRI in the year to come. Here’s what he told us:

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Investor Relations Blog, SEC, Securities Law, NIRI, Speaking Engagements, Investor Relations

Shareholder on a Shelf: An Earnings Tradition

By Dennis Walsh, Vice President

The Shareholder on a Shelf is a new tradition that has become the holiday gift of choice for IROs to their executive management teams. The story of the Shareholder on a Shelf is as follows:

“Have you ever wondered how the SEC could know;
If you’re naughty or nice in making your reported revenues and margins grow;
For 79 years it’s been a big secret;
Which now can be shared, if you promise to keep it.

At reporting time the SEC sends me to you;
I sit in the shadows to watch and report on all that you do;
My job is an assignment from Ms. Mary Jo White herself;
I am her helper, a friendly scout shareholder that sits on a shelf.

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Holiday, Investor Relations Blog, Reg FD, Sharon Merrill Associates, Investor Relations Agency, Guidance, IRO, Shareholder Communications, Earnings Call, Investor Relations, Earnings, Investor Relations Firm, Activist Investors

Social Media + Investor Relations = Socialize IR

By Dennis Walsh, Senior Consultant & Director of Social Media

Let’s face it; you can’t ignore social media any longer…even as part of your investor relations strategy. You were hoping Facebook would go the way of MySpace and Friendster, but it keeps on growing and has even made its way into our world with its initial public offering.

Talk of Twitter used to elicit laughter in the board room. Now, competitors are using it to promote their brand; hedge funds are using it to decide when to make trades; and rumors spread like wildfires over the Twittersphere. Twitter companion site StockTwits has evolved as a popular platform for traders to share investment ideas. Add to that: YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare, LinkedIn, oh my! IR pros certainly put up a good fight, but it’s time to embrace social media…it’s here to stay.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? We’d like to help you with that.

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IR Program Planning, Investor Relations Blog, Reg FD, Strategic Messaging, Sharon Merrill Associates, Investor Relations Agency, IR Website, IPO, Social Media, Small-cap IR, Investor Relations, Socialize IR, Investor Relations Firm

Is Your Investor Relations Plan Fit? Consider These 5 Steps.

By Dennis Walsh, Senior Consultant & Director of Social Media

As another year comes to a close, two things are probably on every IRO’s mind: New Year’s resolutions and next year’s investor relations plan. Every year, one of the most common resolutions is to get fit. People spend a tremendous amount of time and money developing new health and fitness plans to achieve that goal. This year, apply the same techniques to your IR plan in order to have a successful 2012.

Establish Achievable Goals

You may not be ready to compete in the Arnold Classic body building competition next year, but fitting into that new bathing suit by summer is certainly a realistic goal. When developing your 2012 IR plan, set equally realistic expectations. For example, expecting to grow your capitalization from a mid-cap to a large-cap in just a few months is likely an unrealistic benchmark. Instead, focus on more achievable metrics, such as meeting with a greater number of investors, attending more conferences, or increasing trading volume. Meeting these goals will support your ultimate goal of maximizing shareholder value.

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Holiday, IR Program Planning, Board Packages, Investor Relations Blog, Board Communications, Annual Meeting, Sharon Merrill Associates, Investor Relations Agency, Investor Meetings, NIRI, Investor Conference, IRO, IR Budgets, IPO, Shareholder Communications, Social Media, Small-cap IR, Investor Relations, Investor Relations Firm

Investor Relations Program and SMA Blog Honored with 2010 Bell Ringer Awards

On Monday evening, the Sharon Merrill Associates team attended the 2010 Bell Ringer Awards, sponsored by The Publicity Club of New England. The Bell Ringer Awards recognize and honor excellence and achievement in the communications and public relations professions. The awards are often hailed as the “Oscars” of PR/IR in New England and the club’s board always organizes a high-quality event. We are proud to announce that Sharon Merrill Associates was presented two prestigious awards, one for its Investor Relations Program and another for this blog, The Podium.

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Bell Ringer Awards, IR Program Planning, Investor Relations Blog, Sharon Merrill Associates, Investor Relations Agency, Investor Relations, Investor Relations Firm

Happy Holidays!

On behalf of the entire Sharon Merrill Associates team, I would like to wish all of The Podium’s readers a happy holiday season! Thank you for supporting our blog.

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Holiday, Investor Relations Blog, Investor Relations Agency, Investor Relations Firm

Welcome to “The Podium”

People often ask me what has changed the practice of investor relations most significantly during the nearly 25 years Sharon Merrill Associates (www.SharonMerrill.com) has been communicating the stories of our clients to Wall Street and to Main Street. Regulation Fair Disclosure? Sarbanes-Oxley? The rise of the mutual fund?

The answer is technology. It has changed everything.

The shift to Internet-driven communications created the opportunity for corporate news to be distributed throughout the world in a fraction of a second. This shift was accompanied by a revolution in trading technology. With the rise of electronic markets came spectacular growth in both transaction volume and the speed of the market’s reactions. Whether the reason is legitimate corporate news or unfounded rumor, the investment community today responds in the blink of an eye. This is a far cry from our early days in business prior to the Internet – and even the fax machine – when our associates would hand-deliver news releases by taxicab to the wire services and local daily news outlets.

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Investor Relations Blog, Sharon Merrill Associates, Social Media, Investor Relations

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Find Effective IR Counsel

Whether you’re seeking external IR counsel for the first time or evaluating your current provider, you need a firm that understands your strategy, adapts to your culture and tells your story. Download our free guide on how to assess the effectiveness of an investor relations firm.

How to Assess  an IR Firm

Activism Defense

No company is immune to shareholder activism. Sharon Merrill helps boards of directors and executive management teams identify the activist red flags lurking in your shareholder base, assess your governance risks and develop an action plan to prevent, detect and neutralize any threats. Download our free white paper, “Leveraging Institutional Shareholder Relationships to Reduce Activism Risk,” and learn how the best defense against activism is a strong offense.

Download Activist Defense White Paper

Captivate your Audience

Speaking persuasively is critical in today’s competitive business environment. Effective speakers use voice techniques and body language that project authority and credibility. Download our free e-book, “A Guide to Delivering Captivating Presentations,” for insight into good -and bad- presentation habits, and learn how to improve your skills.

Become a Persuasive Speaker 

Perceptions Matter

How do you ensure that investors clearly understand your strategy, growth drivers and market position? The most effective way is through a perception study. By periodically taking the investment community’s pulse you can avoid the knowledge gaps and misperceptions that hurt valuation. Download our free whitepaper, Why Perceptions Matter, to learn more.

Why Perceptions Matter 

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