As we know from experience, creating an effective, powerful website is essential to attract and nurture the right investors. Even the best websites, however, experience issues over time. It could be that web traffic is declining even if nothing has changed with the organization’s products and services. Or you may be receiving feedback that the information your investors are looking for is hard to find on the site. One of the critical responsibilities of an IR professional is ensuring the IR website is always “on,” effectively communicating the company’s message. When it’s time to make a change, it comes down to two options: which is a better fit for the company, is it better to rebrand or redesign an IR website? Even though they’re not the same, the terms rebrand and redesign are often used interchangeably. So which one do you need?
What Is A Rebrand?
Rebranding focuses on updating the visual identity of your website rather than redesigning the entire site structure. Selecting a new corporate name, color scheme, and collateral is a significant event in any company’s life, requiring considerable effort from nearly every department. In terms of the IR website, rebranding aims to appeal more to your target investors and align your key messages with your new brand.
Although the general layout is the same, the key elements are updated to reflect the brand’s changes. The changes align with rebranded marketing materials and the rebranded corporate website to maintain a consistent look throughout all assets.
How does an IR professional know that it’s time to rebrand? Some good questions to ask yourself are:
- Has our target audience evolved (demographics, perceptions, goals, budget, etc.)?
- Is our brand out of step with current design trends and market expectations?
- Is our messaging and/or design aesthetic inconsistent across all channels (e.g., website, sales materials, business cards, and email signature)?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” it’s time to consider updating the creative elements of your business, including but not limited to your IR website. Once the new assets have been chosen, the next step is to reach out to your IR website provider so they can execute the modifications necessary to update the critical brand items on your IR site and keep everything in sync with your new corporate brand.
What Is A Redesign?
When you redesign an IR website, the website is modernized and re-engineered so that it is written, designed, and developed to help the business achieve changed, new, or evolving goals. It’s a more intense effort than a rebrand and typically includes significant layout changes, new pages, content updates, corporate site navigation, and/or custom widgets. To see a great example of a company that redesigned its site, this case study of Wendy’s highlights how updating its IR website impacted its relationship with its senior management and investors.
In the study, Martha Gordon, Manager of Shareholder Relations at Wendy’s, described their old site as “clunky to move around” and “not doing the Wendy’s brand justice.” She wanted to raise Wendy’s online presence to “current day standards” and “evolve to a next level website,” which was fresh, clear, and engaging for investors. Since launching their new site, Wendy’s IR team has received accolades from their senior management team for “a contemporary and interactive best-in-class IR site that’s also a trendsetter with ESG.”
How can an IR professional identify it’s time to redesign an IR website? By asking yourself:
- Is my IR website reflecting the current goals of our IR program?
- Is my website ranking improving in search engines and generating the right kinds of traffic?
- Are all of the company’s new programs, products, or services represented on our IR site?
What Is Accessibility?
One of the most significant grounds to redesign an IR website is based on the concept of accessibility. Accessibility has become a prominent topic over the last few years. It means ensuring that there are no barriers to providing a comparable digital user experience to all, regardless of disability or the way people access your technology. This requires a delicate balance between design, narrative, and accessibility needs.
Accessibility requirements are driven by groups such as the American Disability Act (ADA), the Accessible Canada Act (ACA), and in Europe the European Accessibility Act. Although these acts place requirements on providers, the actual guidelines that businesses should follow are provided by the Web Contact Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
An important reason to redesign a site to improve its accessibility involves threat mitigation. The results will not only increase your reachable audience but also proactively mitigate potential risks against compliance and legal threats.
What To Do Now
If you’re ready to discuss how Q4 can bring new value to your website, contact your Client Success Manager or firstname.lastname@example.org!