The release of earnings news to stakeholders, shareholders and market analysts is one of the most important and challenging duties of IROs.
As stocks worldwide navigate the most uncertain period since the financial crisis and organizations face a more difficult outlook, the investor relations community is urged to reiterate companies’ competitive strengths and identify key themes to convey and reinforce the capability of the management.
‘Your earnings call is your biggest audience every single quarter,’ said Jason Fooks, senior vice president of IR and marketing at Safehold, in a recent IR Magazine Webinar.
‘Of course, you need to talk about your financial results and what your financial results mean. But it doesn’t hurt to reiterate your strategy, your competitive strengths, what your position is in the marketplace and what the vision is for the company. Use the earnings call as an opportunity to continue to underscore the main ideas you want people to think about when they think of your brand and what you represent.’
Fooks added that Safehold has enhanced its preparation for earning calls by providing the audience data and information in an organized way through the use of earning decks every quarter. But he urged IROs to always give participants ‘a reason to tune in’ by holding back some crucial data and addressing it during the call to boost engagement.
Even when feedback and data are largely positive, calls and meetings tend to focus on areas that need improvement, especially when stocks are down. The value of IROs, experts say, becomes more obvious in challenging times. The worth of the relationships they have built and the credibility they have earned also become much more apparent’
‘It’s important to build on the credibility aspect to the extent you can,’ said John Nunziati, IR partner at Q4. ‘It’s important to emphasize the capability your management team has in navigating through these uncertain volatile environments, being able to point out that the management team has navigated environments like this before, even if it was in 2008. That provides that credibility.’
For newer companies that don’t have that experience, Nunziati said it’s paramount to show a cross-departmental focus that indicates the company posture in the current markets.
‘You have to emphasize that you are looking at a variety of scenarios and potential actions you’ll take in each of them,’ he added. ‘Even if you aren’t disclosing those actions, you’re showing that your management team is involved in analyzing and preparing to act when necessary.’