The world continues to head toward a different kind of new normal, and investor relations professionals are shifting their approach to planning events.
Even before 2020, most earnings calls featured a virtual element as companies shared their news via an audio-only call or meeting. Today, events ranging from annual shareholder meetings and investor days to conferences and non-deal roadshows are delivered virtually, and video has added another layer of connection between hosts and attendees.
Even as business travel and in-person events resume in many parts of the world, analysts increasingly prefer the flexibility to choose how to engage with organizations and their events – whether it’s in person or remotely.
Some value the convenience and safety that virtual events provide to hear from a company’s representatives, while others prefer to attend in person to augment sessions with one-on-one conversations and organic interactions.
In this sense, IR professionals must evolve their events to take this preference into account while planning future investor events. Hybrid IR events will continue to be increasingly common.
Continue ESG commitment with hybrid events
Hybrid events incorporate the best aspects of virtual and in-person approaches, combining the practical components of virtual events with one or more physical venues. Organizers must, however, borrow the correct elements from each format to plan and execute an event that creates the most significant impact.
IR professionals can begin planning their event by administering surveys of past or potential future attendees to gauge their preference for how they want to attend. This gives organizers the flexibility to have a physical venue only in those locations with a high concentration of investors choosing to attend in person, and they can continue to live-stream investor events to other locations.
Virtual events have also helped IR professionals eliminate the need for their C-suite to fly in from headquarters to address investors locally. Hybrid events enable companies to have their country management present in person, while their global management joins the event through webcasting.
This hybrid approach ensures lower costs, better profitability and a demonstrated commitment to upholding the company’s ESG values – all while showing genuine consideration for investor preference.
Bring together virtual and in-person attendees
While investors may have multiple options for attending the next IR event, hybrid events compel organizers to provide an equally engaging experience for both virtual and in-person attendees; failing on this means investors could tune out. Organizers should plan to have separate and hyper-personalized agendas for everyone, no matter how they are attending.
For example, investors at physical events tend to linger after lunch breaks, networking and communicating with company representatives. This time would be ideal for holding online-only breakout sessions with company representatives or broadcasting other exclusive content targeting virtual attendees and open to in-person attendees.
Question and answer sessions and polling are a whole different story. Both in-person and virtual attendees will be keen to see the questions posed by other investors and the company’s responses to them. Using a hybrid event platform with robust Q&A and live polling features can be crucial to seamlessly engage both audiences.
Deliver quality IR content and measure the impact
Be it hybrid, virtual or in person, when it comes to events the primary objective for every IR professional is to provide timely financial and non-financial data to their investors and position their company in the best possible way.
A successful hybrid IR event relies on two factors: the platform and the quality of presentation. The presentation of information to investors – and mainly its quality – can make all the difference for IROs.
Having already embraced virtual events, most IR professionals now consider webcasting one of the most critical technologies for their IR programs, according to a recent study by Cision. Relying on webcasting technology with HD video streaming and zero network bandwidth interruption can help IROs deliver their messages without distractions.
If presenters and audiences from different parts of the world join an investor event, a hybrid event platform providing automated and searchable transcription can ensure IR messages are not left to interpretation.
By making virtual event engagement tools accessible to a hybrid audience, hybrid events also empower IROs with real-time metrics and analytic reports to understand how investors respond to important IR messages.
Eliminate event stress
There’s no doubt that hybrid events enable IR days and annual general meetings to be more inclusive, thus boosting the overall impact. But they can be complicated to execute with more moving parts.
Deploying crews to manage audio-visual set-up and operations at the physical venue, ensuring sufficient bandwidth for live streaming, deploying virtual tools for the in-person audience, implementing security protocols for virtual attendees: these considerations are vital to an event’s success, but they can take away an IR professional’s focus from the primary objectives.
As IR events transition into a hybrid model, organizers must partner with companies that provide a robust and feature-rich hybrid event platform combined with comprehensive services for end-to-end event management, including on-site support. Doing so ensures the experience matches the expectations attendees have for an event and in turn helps it match the organization’s brand.
Hybrid events are the future of IR events
Hybrid events are the future of IR events as they ensure high engagement levels similar to virtual events and consider the evolving preferences of investors. These events’ impact will directly depend on how seamlessly IROs provide an equally compelling experience to physical and virtual attendees.
PGi’s GlobalMeet Webcast and GlobalMeet Operator Assisted are the most preferred platforms for more than 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies for their high-profile investor relations events, known for their security and scalability. End-to-end white-glove support provided by PGi event experts helps IR professionals deliver hybrid and virtual events with guaranteed peace of mind.
Connect with us for a demo today.
About the author: Lauren Weatherly is the senior vice president of marketing at PGi, which provides businesses with secure, professional technology that inspires and connects audiences worldwide. Through its cloud-based and feature-rich virtual events and videoconferencing technology, PGi empowers virtual events that enable the future of work. To learn more, visit pgi.com.