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Our Blog: The Podium

The Risks of Not Understanding Perceptions

A $1 million privately owned software company with double digit sales growth and an active new product pipeline is blindsided when its largest customer abruptly switches to an emerging competitor; company revenues drop 20% and private funding for next expansion is at risk.  

A $500 million diversified industrial company is successfully executing against its strategy to drive growth via acquisition and is surprised when several top sales performers abruptly leave the company because they are disconnected from the corporate strategy and vision; core business takes a hit. 

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Perception Audit, Perception Study, Perception, Reputation Management, Industrial Investor Relations, Brand Management

Is It Time to Invest in Your Investor Day?

By Jim Buckley

I recently led a workshop session at the NIRI National conference entitled Time to Invest in Your Company’s Investor Day. The workshop featured a deep dive on all the fundamental components and strategic aspects of an Investor Day, or Analyst Day as some people still prefer. The session was very comprehensive and included a panel with three of today’s best and brightest IROs. (Ok, full disclosure, I handpicked Alexia, Jennifer and Jerry.)

We collectively shared our Investor Day wisdom and experiences, including the Good, the Bad and the Ineffective. The response to the panel, particularly in some follow-up discussions, was decidedly positive. Given that a few folks have asked me recently for supplemental materials – which are available to conference attendees here – I thought I would share some of the key takeaways, as well as appending the “Investor Day Do’s and Don’ts” handout that was developed for the session.

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Reg FD, Investor Day, NIRI, Analyst Day, Investor Relations, Perception Audit

Think Like a Politician: Use Investor Perception Audits as a Strategic Advantage

In politics, there is an age-old debate as to whether elected leaders should vote according to the wishes of their constituents, or vote their conscience as the people’s representative. We have seen politicians criticized for using polling too extensively to guide policy (see Bill Clinton) -- and not enough (see Barack Obama). When I worked as a political consultant prior to entering the IR profession, we used polling to gauge the electorate’s opinions on a certain issue – not to change policy, but to determine what audiences need focused communication and how messaging should be used to address misperceptions. And this is exactly how IR practitioners should use our own version of polling – the investor perception audit.

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed about investor perception audits by Broc Romanek of TheCorporateCounsel.net. The podcast is available here. An investor perception audit is a survey of a company’s capital markets audiences – past, current and potential institutional investors as well as sell-side analysts. Typically conducted by a third-party via telephone to protect anonymity, the perception audit usually includes questions about the company’s strategy, prospects for growth, communications, management strengths, and catalysts for investors to purchase stock, among others. Think you already know what they perceive about your company? Certainly, investors and analysts are usually not shy about voicing their opinions. However, many companies are often surprised at the feedback they receive when investors are not speaking face-to-face with management.

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IR Program Planning, Board Packages, Strategic Messaging, STREETSCOPE, Perception Audit, Shareholder Communications, Investor Relations

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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.

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