What is Digital Investor Relations?
I have worked with a lot of companies over the years, primarily as an investor relations consultant, and it never ceases to amaze me how many intelligent business people simply do not understand the digital realm. Now, I don’t mean this an insult, rather it is an observation of how quickly digital media has grown and evolved.
At its simplest form, Digital Investor Relations is the augmentation of traditional IR activities with digital multimedia. This allows IR professionals to increase the scope and focus of their activities, and improve their overall ability to accurately communicate with the investing public.
When I started in IR (Investor Relations), it was pretty simple, you lived and died by the phone.
Regardless of whether you were speaking with a shareholder, or the media or an interested broker, the phone was your mission-critical tool. Well, I would argue that it is still the most important tool in the toolbelt for any IR professional, but now that phone has some key helpers.
The first key digital tools that really transformed the investor relations industry should be a surprise to no-one, i) E-mail and ii) Website. The use of advanced CRM’s (customer relations management software) was also adopted fairly early-on.
Now, we see that digital media is a key component of any successful investor relations strategy. The use of video and audio was once restricted to television or radio and paid promotional activities, but now we can distribute freely via Youtube, iTunes, Facebook, Twitter, and the list goes on and on and on.
CEO Interviews, corporate presentations, and even press releases can now be released en mass to the public, in real time, and be carried out via a two-way conversation. Emails can now be easily and freely sent to busy financial professionals, that utilize video or graphic representations of data. And all of this is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, usually by a little device that is currently in your hand or pocket.
This makes the IR Professional’s job far more efficient, and it vastly improves the quality of communication coming from the company to their stakeholders.
In order for this to succeed, there needs to be a well thought out plan put into place, one that ensures the property materials are crafted, the proper platforms are incorporated, and the proper message is being delivered.
Without forethought and planning, digital media will lack focus, it will lack direction, and worst of all, it will undermine the companies communications and messaging with stakeholders. Making your traditional investor relations activities far more difficult, if not impossible.