The shift to a more virtual world has had a residual impact on events in the investor relations community, especially events that once thrived on in-person attendance – like investor days. To discuss how events have transformed over the past few years, how to choose the right virtual events partner, and how to folow investor day best practices, Q4 partnered with Arbor Advisory and The Buddy Group for a webinar titled, How to Wow the Crowd: Investor Day Best Practices for IROs.
Q4’s Senior Vice President of Global Client Experience, Karen Greene, was joined by Sam Levenson, Founder and CEO of Arbor Advisory, Eli Marcus, Vice President of Strategy and Channel Growth at The Buddy Group, and Jamie Bardell, Vice President of events for Q4 to share best practices and how to execute a flawless event.
Why Host an Investor Day?
Sam starts off the discussion by explaining that investor days have played a critical role in building management credibility. They are marquee events that showcase a company’s strategy and the teams that execute the strategy. While you don’t need a significant M&A transaction to host an investor day, you need actual content and real news; you don’t want to draw an audience in for a simple update.
The Transformation of Investor Days
Investor days have changed drastically in the last few years due to the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, events were solely physical, and webcasts were often an afterthought, typically a simple audio webcast or sometimes video. But the situation has changed so completely that Sam says they now call these events “Investor Days 2.0.” A new bar has been set concerning the technology and production of these events.
Planning your IR day
It’s important that you and your management team give the proper time and commitment to both planning and execution. So, when and where should you start?
The panel recommends you begin planning no less than six months in advance and even longer if you intend to host a hybrid or in-person event. Sam reminds the audience that in a six-month timeframe, you will have at least two earnings reports, two board meetings, and two audit committees while your executive team is simultaneously running a business. So, while six months may seem like plenty of time, it will still be a tight timeline.
Once you have a timeline, you can start your planning and execution process. Eli explains that he begins at the “top” with location and set design, then moves on to production and project management. On the slide below, he shows the task list The Buddy Group shares with its clients when they think about putting an investor day together.
Material and Production Value
The right technology, suitable material, and content will set you apart from your peers. Many factors come together to create a great IR day, from building a landing page and producing the video to making a takeaway. If you’ve done it right and have a high-quality production, those assets have legs beyond the event. Eli explains that he’s a firm believer that the content you’re producing for your investor day needs to look like it could have come out of your marketing team. Sam recommends interspersing your content with customer testimonials, product demos, sizzle reels, and animated content so your slides and presentation match your talking points. This creates a more visually compelling story and helps draw your audience in.
While this is more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to produce, he explains that you must think more broadly as a marketer. For example, he says that if you think about how other aspects of your business can use this content, you will be producing a captivating presentation and content that can then be used for sales, marketing, social media and even HR. He gives an example of one of their clients who recently took excerpts of each of their executive speeches and used them as features on LinkedIn over several weeks after the investor day.
In addition to the creation of these pieces, Eli suggests setting time aside for rehearsals. For example, if you’re going to do a live hybrid, you need to rehearse simple actions like entering and exiting the stage, how you’re going to do your hand-offs, and develop comfort with how the teleprompters are being positioned. And, of course, your Q&A.
Choosing the Right Partner
A well-executed investor day can help move the needle regarding investor support and drive tangible valuation for an organization.
As an IRO, you want a partner that understands what it takes to successfully produce a virtual investor day, particularly one with experience delivering many events over the last several years. Make sure you choose a partner with a platform designed for ease of use and one that offers features to ensure your audience is engaged. For example, if you are looking for an in-person or hybrid event, make sure you have the option for either in-person or pre-recorded content, as well as a mixture of the two.
Make sure your content, technology, and presentations are excellent and engaging. Remember, very high returns on successful investor days are possible, but the investment is much more significant than it was a few years ago. The panel reiterates that this is the biggest sales pitch you have the opportunity to make every two years. It’s a critical moment to convince investors of the strength of the management team and long-term strategy and to give them a reason to believe and invest.
To learn more about Q4’s virtual investor day platform, click here.