Is your website set up for success in 2020?

Jul 07, 2020
Most large companies fail to explain their corporate purpose on the website, finds new research

Your website is more than your online hub. In the digital-first world we all live in now, your website is your primary communications hub, period.

As you enter the second half of 2020, how effectively is your site bearing the load? Our research suggests many corporate websites are struggling.

At Investis Digital we recently completed our latest Connect.IQ report, which measures the effectiveness of corporate websites across major indexes like the FTSE, NYSE and Nasdaq. We look at everything from how well a business shares its sustainability story to how effectively a business drives traffic to its site with paid media. Let’s take a closer look at what we found.

Reputation management

In these uncertain times, a positive corporate reputation – the belief that a company will do the right thing both operationally and ethically – has never been more critical. And events of 2020 underscore how reputation is now inextricably linked to articulating a purpose that delivers value to society, whether by taking a stand against racism or making life more bearable amid the pandemic. 

So how well are companies doing this on their websites? Our report shows:

  • Only 42 percent of companies explain their purpose and only 1 percent quantify purpose-driven ambitions
  • While 29 percent of companies explain their sustainability strategy, only 24 companies provide any quantification of their sustainability ambitions.

Here’s what businesses can do from here on out:

  • Make your purpose front and center on your website – but don’t slap a purpose statement on your site to cover your bases. First, have a meaningful dialogue with your employees to ensure your purpose and values are authentic reflections of your culture
  • Match your purpose statement with actions. And talk about the steps you are taking to deliver on your purpose. Don’t be afraid of criticism: no business is perfect. We all have work to do, but your actions must match your words
  • Go beyond publishing a sustainability section on your website – many businesses do that already. Connect sustainability to your corporate growth strategy more clearly. Show how your commitment to sustainability is good for society, as well as for your investors.

Consider 2020 as the start of a journey that will define your reputation from here on.

Investor communications

Investor communication priorities have changed as a result of Covid-19. From the obvious need to change the physical arrangements for results announcements and annual general meetings to a refocusing on financial fundamentals such as capital structures and debt, we’ll see further changes as more companies report on the pandemic’s impact on their business.

We’ve seen a significant increase in demand for webcast services, as forward-looking IR teams look to increase senior management face-time while remaining socially distanced. But less than 2 percent of companies in the NYSE 100 host on-demand video webcasts for releases and announcements.

In addition, amid an increasingly challenging economic climate, we believe it is essential for companies to articulate an investment case, which engages investment interest by promoting a company’s story and making clear what sets you apart, why you are a long-term option and how you are positioned to capitalize on opportunity. But less than 10 percent of the NYSE 100 do this online.

Imperatives for the second half of 2020:

  • Don’t try a free or low-cost service for live-streaming your story to investors. Invest in a secure, scalable solution appropriate for the digital-first age
  • Make your investment case central to your company’s narrative. 

Make 2020 the beginning of a new era of strong performance for your website. The stakes are too high not to do so.

Luke Bishop is vice president, client partner at Investis Digital 

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