Planning and Hosting a Successful Investor Day
30 January 2020
By Vanessa Hartung
Investor days can be one of the most effective and cost-efficient activities in your investor relations arsenal – but only if you’re prepared. Anyone who has worked “behind the scenes” of an investor day knows that you need to plan for every detail and anticipate all the possible hiccups of hosting a live event.
But, in the lead up to the event, the IRO must also manage the more substantive and strategic issues associated with telling your company’s story to an audience of investors and analysts. There’s no doubt that, if done right, an investor day can be a platform for achieving some of investor relations’ most critical and valuable objectives. When well-executed, an investor day can:
- Increase investor support,
- Drive valuation,
- Attract the right audience to your stock, and
- Change investor perceptions.
Strategic and tactical components of an investor day
But while the return can be incredibly high, a successful investor day requires an IRO to juggle a host of strategic and tactical components. On the strategic side, the team must ensure that hosting an investor day has the potential to deliver real impact by managing critical strategic efforts.
This includes establishing your goal for the day, understanding investor perception prior to the event, establishing foundational messaging and compelling presentations, selecting and preparing the compelling speakers, and getting the right investors to the event, just to name a few.
On the tactical side, there’s a mile-long list of items that require perfect execution, including venue planning, catering, AV, webcasting, press release development, invite lists, invitation development, branded giveaways, signage, product demos, marketing collateral, badges, security and MANY more.
The seemingly endless list of investor day “to-dos” can be overwhelming, but there is no shortage of industry experts able to share the best practices that can help IROs create an architecture for the most successful investor day possible.
Develop a compelling story
“Investors want to hear something new,” says David C. Calusdian, executive vice president and partner at Sharon Merrill Associates Inc. “Hosting a successful event is really about making sure you have a compelling story to tell.”
This is why Calusdian and other experts encourage IROs to understand how the market views their company as an important starting point in the planning process. Whether it’s a formal perception study or a simple pulse check, understanding current perception will fuel some of the most strategic components of the planning process, including establishing a clear goal for the investor day and the development of foundational messaging.
And when it comes to that messaging, it’s important to know that investors and analysts have an expectation that you’ve got a good story to tell. “They want excellent content,” Calusdian says. “They are very busy and cover several companies that are competing for their attention. You need to provide a compelling message – a reason to be there.”
To create foundational messaging that resonates with your audience, David Fine, principal of Fine Communications suggests imagining the headlines you’d like to read in analyst coverage of your event. He suggests that “feeding analysts specific desired headlines increases the chances that you’ll see those very messages in your coverage the next day.”
Invite the right audience
Establishing goals, crafting messages and designing the presentations that effectively communicate that messaging are essential, but even the most compelling messages and elegant presentations can’t have a significant impact if not presented to the right audience.
“Getting the right audience to your investor day is critical to a successful outcome and maximizing all the hard work and diligence that goes into an event like this,” says Karen Greene, VP of Client Experience at Q4. “You should really use your investor day as a great excuse to build, refine, and reach out to your investor pipeline.”
However, the strategic view that guiding the development of the right messages for the right audience represents only the beginning of the planning process. “First-timers are always amazed by the incredible amount of details that need to be handled, from the outreach to investors, venue logistics, catering, A/V and presentation development, just to name a few,” says Calusdian.
Executing an investor day can certainly be a daunting task, but by taking a thoughtful and strategic approach you will find it can be a real needle-moving communications vehicle. To keep track of everything needed to deliver a successful investor day, download our Investor Day Guide, in which Calusdian, Fine, and Greene share invaluable insights on the critical strategic and logistical steps IROs need to address. The roadmap discusses proven best practices for your next investor day, including maximizing reach, developing differentiated messaging, creating best-in-class presentations, and effectively executing the logistics.