Embrace video to boost investor relationships, says expert

Feb 05, 2019
Proper use of technology can improve shareholder trust, loyalty and retention

Technological innovation, particularly the use of webcasts, is a powerful tool for promoting a company’s investor relations story that should be embraced, according to speakers at a recent webinar discussion on digital strategies.

Speaking at the IR Magazine Webinar – Building global investor relationships using digital strategies, held on January 31, Simon Ball, senior vice president of digital media solutions at West Corporation, said the benefits of online media presentation should be recognized.

‘You’re putting yourself at a disadvantage if you’re not using [video for earnings calls],’ he said. ‘If you’re unsure how to use video, training is accessible and there is lots of it. It’s easy: you can do recordings on your iPhone and play them back. There’s lots of tools available to get your content accustomed to video, too.

‘It’s time CEOs really tried to embrace video. We use video ubiquitously ourselves, of course – we’re in that business – but I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a call with my boss, who’s the company president, that wasn’t on video, or even on our mobile phones. And I think that tide is really coming in.’

Ball suggested that doing a live or prerecorded online broadcast can help to boost shareholder trust, loyalty and retention. ‘People trust people and they make decisions based upon their trust of people,’ he explained.

The speakers agreed that T-Mobile US’ use of video for its earnings call is a good example to look at.

Differentiate your message
‘There’s a lot to be said for looking someone in the eye,’ added Ball. ‘If you’ve had a bad quarter and you’re not projecting growth, you as a CEO want to look your shareholders in the eye and say, I’m going to fix it. Equally, if a firm has had a good quarter, you still want to look the [CEO] in the eye and see the confidence his or her ability to continue that trajectory.’

Rima Hyder, vice president of media & investor relations at FactSet, agreed with Ball. ‘It’s harder when you’re just on the phone. Looking somebody in the eye does give [the earnings call] more credibility,’ she said.

The webinar also provided listeners with tips on how IROs could differentiate their message from the competition. Hyder pointed out that social media tools like Twitter, LinkedIn and WhatsApp could be used to help convey the image of the company.

But she urged IROs to use relevant keywords in all their communication channels to remind shareholders of ‘who you are, what you do and what you are trying to deliver. Consistency across all your communication channels is important. It’s about bringing it back to the overall investment thesis.’

Ball said that for an IRO to stand out from the crowd content presented on the website and in press releases must be ‘discoverable, succinct and clear’. 

‘Don’t have very long verbose [text],’ he advised. ‘Make sure you’re optimizing SEO, keep your message on point and succinct. If you can’t get the message in a short read, then you need to think about how you can do that. That’s incredibly important.’

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