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Our Blog: The Podium

Is the Annual Report a Thing of the Past?

By Maureen Wolff, President and Partner

Annual reports are so 1997.

When the National Investor Relations Institute recently asked me for my thoughts on the public company practice of producing a glossy annual report, the premise of the question was not, “How can companies do this better?” or “Please provide some helpful tips for designing annual reports.” It wasn’t even as minimalist as “What’s the least expensive, most simplified way to produce an annual report?” No, the question was much more fundamental: Why, in this age of technology and pressured IR department budgets, should companies bother to create an annual report at all?

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IR Program Planning, Board Communications, Annual Report, Strategic Messaging, IR Website, IR Budgets, Shareholder Communications, Investor Relations

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

IRO-zilla and the Earnings Call

There is a popular cable network TV show called Bridezillas that often depicts women planning their wedding day as high-strung, unreasonable and at times displaying jaw-dropping outrageous behavior. Of course, this makes for great reality TV, but at times I find myself sympathizing with these women. After all, it will be the biggest day of their lives – it had better go as planned!

Similarly, the quarterly earnings call is one of the biggest days in the career of investor relations professionals and their companies. A seamless call is an IRO’s opportunity to shine. A call riddled with issues will damage his or her credibility. These calls require weeks of careful planning to ensure that the right messages are communicated effectively to shareholders. However, much like the bridezillas have to rely on other people to design a dress, coordinate the flower arrangements, bake the cake, etc., IROs must work with a variety of outside providers for the services necessary to facilitate an earnings call. With so much riding on the line, there is no shame in taking on the IRO-zilla role and demanding, rather, clearly stating needs and expectations. The IRO’s professional reputation is at stake.

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IR Vendors, IR Program Planning, Investor Relations Agency, IR Website, NIRI, IRO, IR Budgets, Earnings Call, Social Media, Investor Relations, Earnings, Investor Relations Firm

Investor Relations Field Poised for Growth

Sharon Merrill Associates Executive Vice President David Calusdian and I recently presented on “The Dynamic World of Corporate Disclosure” at the National Investor Relations Institute’s (NIRI) “Introduction to Investor Relations” conference in Boston. NIRI holds this three-day event twice each year. Attendance typically numbers about 100 people and consists of new IR practitioners in various stages of their professional careers at companies of all sizes.

The fact that NIRI holds two such conferences each year is a testament to the growth of investor relations and the stature our field has achieved in corporations across America and the world. To be honest though, we were wondering how attendance would be affected by the recession. After all, the IPO market has not been a fertile breeding ground for new investor relations officers. And the lack of corporate growth in the past year and associated cutbacks has not lent itself to increasing IR budgets or staff.

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NIRI, IR Budgets, Speaking Engagements, Investor Relations

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