How to Create Award-Winning Investor Relations

14 October 2020

By Amy Statham

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Award-winning investor relations isn’t just a popularity contest or a trophy to sit on your shelf, in fact, it can help your bottom line. It was recently reported that companies that boast award-winning investor relations have a higher valuation and lower volatility than other companies. Every year, IR Magazine hosts an awards ceremony that recognizes best-in-class IR. They review multiple categories and follow a diligent process that includes multiple factors and research that are considered when choosing the candidates and winners. In this blog, we will detail some of the winners and nominees who earned their spot as best in the category, and what makes award-winning IR. 

Best ESG Reporting 

Etsy has been awarded for their ESG reporting which they call ‘Impact Reporting’. Companies face growing demands to inform investors about the risk and opportunities – as well as a range of ESG issues. In early 2020, Etsy added new Impact Reporting content to its IR website, as it is among the first public companies to use SASB reporting standards in an integrated fashion in its Annual Report on Form 10K. Deb Wasser, Vice President of Investor Relations notes, “We are extremely proud to be a leader in integrated reporting, and want our economic, social and ecological initiatives to be front-and-center on our IR website.” 

With forward-thinking IR strategies like this, it’s no surprise that in the same awards ceremony, Gabriel Ratcliff, Senior Manager of IR at Etsy was awarded the Rising Star Award. This award seeks to honor individuals who bring fresh thinking and a unique approach to the profession. This category is open to anyone who has been working in IR for less than five years. 

To learn more about Etsy’s website and impact reporting transformation, you can read the case study here

Communications

T-Mobile US was recently awarded ‘Best in Communications’. Speaking to some of the practices that T-Mobile US employs to achieve best-in-class communications, even in distanced times, Jud Henry, SVP of Investor Relations says, “video events are something that investors and analysts seem to really like and have a little bit more engagement by being able to see live management face-to-face in earnings call versus a standard audio format.” However that wasn’t their first approach, Jud notes, “Our first quarter earnings call was in the peak of the pandemic and we reverted to the industry-standard audio call and it felt awkward for the management team. And so with Q2, we adapted and we did a live video earnings call again but we did it in a different manner with limited participants, socially distanced with a safe setup to allow individual stations and live visuals. For investors and analysts, the feedback was really good.” 

When asked about how to ensure good communication in a time where traditional forms of IR have been altered, Jud adds, “the most important thing is making sure that there’s not a quiet period in light of the pandemic, and that we’re adapting the short to medium term in the way we deliver content and the way we communicate to make sure that we keep that channel open and a presence that’s meaningful and helpful for investors and analysts.”

Best IR Website

One of the finalists in the ‘Best IR Website’ category that stood out was Wendy’s. The fast food hallmark modernized their IR website and brought the brand to life for modern day investors, including optimizing their site for engagement with the investment community and a robust ESG section. Speaking to the website revamp, Marsha Gordon, Wendy’s Manager of Shareholder Relations noted, “We were able to easily communicate important messages and documents, especially featuring them on our homepage as a powerful landing page and gateway to the rest of our site.” 

Wendy’s also leveraged a rotating carousel at the top of their homepage, to showcase their latest news including their work on sustainability, dividend entries, and earnings announcements. Additionally, they experimented with a “Request a Meeting” button, which has given their investors a simple way to connect with them directly.

To learn more about how Wendy’s modernized their outdated IR website to one that is best-in-class, read the case study here

Conclusion

With award-winning IR programs trading at an average of 15% premium valuation, compared with their peers, and experience an average 5.2% reduction in beta-implied volatility, it’s worth the time and effort to create an exemplary IR program. To learn more about creating award-winning IR, download our guide on how to Optimize Your IR Processes and Build Strategic Value, here

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