Footballing nations battling it out in the IR Magazine Awards!

June 11, 2014

By: Chen-Lee Tsui, Manager, European Marketing/London

With only a few weeks to go, the IR Magazine Europe 2014 awards are due to take place on Tuesday 24th June. For the football/soccer fans among us, this is the same evening as England’s first World Cup game against Costa Rica!annual IR Magazine Awards ‒ Europe

Now in its 24th year in London, this event celebrates the best Investor Relations achievements across various industry sectors and acknowledges the contributions made by individuals as well as by teams. For both winners and runners-up an IR Magazine Award means that those selected have demonstrated they have created results that deliver real business benefits.

The short list for the awards came out recently. If you’d like a flutter the odds are in favour of Germany – a great footballing nation, with 27 nominations across 17 main award categories. Another world class football team, England (read: UK), picks up 18 nominations (five more than last year!). The Scandinavian countries (sorry, not qualified for the World Cup) share nine nominations, followed by Italy (six), Spain & Portugal (five) and last but not least the orange footballing giant, the Netherlands, with two.

booth

Business Wire has been supporting this industry leading awards program for more than 11 years. This year without fail, we will be present. Back by popular demand, a branded photo booth will be there to capture your evening with friends and colleagues! Attendees will have the opportunity to get their pictures taken for free at the photo booth, providing a great “take-away” lasting memory of the event.

We hope to see many of you there “strike a pose”. Email us with questions, or if you would like to meet up during the program.  See you in London on the 24th June!


Decoding the 2014 Global Trends in Investor Relations

March 21, 2014

By Farah Merchant, Global Disclosure Specialist, Business Wire

BNY Mellon, a global leader in investment management and investment services, conducted its ninth annual Global Trends in Investor Relations survey in late 2013. Nearly 700 companies from 63 countries ranging in different market capitalizations and industry sectors participated in the survey.

Below are some interesting takeaways from this year’s survey:

  • The survey showed that only 27% of quoted companies globally are using social media to communicate with investors. Companies by-in-large reported not adopting social media because of “lack of investor demand” (61%). Other reasons were that management did not see the value of using social media (37%) as well as insufficient resources (33%).
    • The only region that showed an increase in social media use as an IR tool was in Western Europe, where 45% were reported using social media, an increase from 32% the previous year. Developed Asia, on the other hand, was the most reluctant region.
    • Twitter, StockTwits, Mobile Apps and Facebook were the more common social media platforms used, while other social media channels, such as LinkedIn and YouTube have shown a decline in the past few years.

BNY Mellon: Companies not using social media

  • Another trend from the survey is the changing influence of financial media. Most companies still recognize the importance of global financial newspapers such as the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal but increasingly acknowledge that professional investor news services leveraging on-air or on-line environments such as Bloomberg and Reuters have more influence on their current and prospective investors.
    • More than 84% of respondents (an increase from 58% in 2012) rated Bloomberg and Reuters as the most influential outlets while 52% declared the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal to have the most influence.  Another area of growth is investor-generated media, the likes of Seeking Alpha and Motley Fool, which surged from 5% to 15% from 2012 to 2013.

BNY Mellon:  What Media Outlets Matter to IROs and Investors

  • One final point I found interesting was the growing focus on expanding one’s shareholder base worldwide.  Nearly two-thirds of the Western European companies surveyed said their top goal in 2013 was to diversify their shareholder base internationally. The same could be said for Emerging Asia and the Middle East too.
    • In what could be perceived as a contradiction, more than one third of the companies surveyed admitted they do not distribute financial result press releases internationally.  Also, very few investor meetings and conferences were held outside home markets.

BNY Mellon: Growing International Shareholder Base

The landscape of IR is constantly evolving and the results of this survey reflect these changes.  IR professional’s need to continue evaluating the tools available, from new and existing social media platforms, to more traditional engagement methods such as press releases and investor meetings. Staying on top of trends in the global marketplace, and using all the tools available are essential for an effective IR strategy.

To read the full report, Global Trends in Investor Relations 2013: A Survey Analysis of IR Practices Worldwide, Ninth Edition, click here.


Which Publications Inform Today’s Leading Communicators?

March 18, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Earlier this year we asked blog readers to share their top daily reads.  We wanted to see which publications are considered must-reads among today’s communications experts.  Do communicators rely on mainstream media to keep them up to date through mainstream media, like The New York Times?  Industry trade magazines such as Mashable?  Or social networks including Twitter and LinkedIN?

The results were somewhat surprising.  With 152 respondents to date, our survey shows:

  • Just 20% of respondents said they read mainstream media such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today on a daily basis, yet these publications continue to be the top-desired coverage targets for small and big B2B and B2C companies alike.
  • Only 9% of those who replied use LinkedIn as a news source, yet LinkedIn continues as a top conversion platform for many businesses.
  • 17% noted Twitter as their primary news source, the highest of any social network, with one communicator smartly pointing out that Twitter’s speed makes  tools such as Google Alerts less valuable.
  • 14% relied on PR industry trades suggesting that these outlets, while valuable, may not produce content frequently enough to warrant a daily read.
  • A mere 2-11% read highly targeted social, digital or SEO-oriented blogs and articles. While this may be because these topics are heavily covered  in other industry publications, we were still surprised by such a low number.

What do you think?  Which publications are you reading every day?  Take two minutes to fill out this survey yourself, and we will continue to share updates as the data change.

Business Wire Reader Survey

Business Wire Reader Survey

You can find the survey here:  http://blog.businesswire.com/2014/02/27/what-publications-to-top-marketers-read-business-wire/


Investor Thoughts on the SEC’s Proposed Disclosure Reform

February 13, 2014

By Farah Merchant, Business Wire

SEC Chair Mary Jo White recently issued a staff report to Congress on disclosure reform initiatives.  The report, mandated by Congress in the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, offers an overview of the SEC’s Regulation S-K.

Regulation S-K pertains to disclosure, and first applies to companies upon IPO that register with the SEC using form S-1, and refers to ongoing reporting requirements in Forms 8-K and 10-K.

SEC reportWhite’s primary concern is the risk of information overload to investors, and she defined information overload as, “a phenomenon in which ever-increasing amounts of disclosure make it difficult for an investor to wade through the volume of information they receive to ferret out the information that is most relevant.”

She believes the guidance needs to be updated as there is repetition in disclosure, where certain items appear in more than one section, i.e., information on legal proceedings that appears in its own section but also in the notes to financial statements, risk factors and MD&A.

White addressed the need for input from market participants for the following proposed recommendations:

  • Recommending that companies file a “core document” or “company profile” with information that changes infrequently (needs to be reworded)
  • Amending the filing process by streamlining and simplifying disclosure requirements to reduce administrative costs
  • Researching ways to enhance the presentation and communication of information; and to use technology to address these issues

Click here for a copy of the full SEC report.

Is less disclosure more helpful or harmful to investors?

According to a recent Fortune article, the early opinion on the street is that although the disclosure requirements of the SEC may need an updated and possible streamlining, the information currently available is useful and helpful.

Although it may be true that not all investors read a filing in full, there are many that do, as the full filing provides insight on investment and voting decisions. By having more information available, investors feel that they can be more diligent in assessing risks. If nothing else, the recent financial crisis has taught investors a valuable lesson and that is to be more informed, more educated and to not discount risks.

So already we have a difference of opinion. On one hand you have the SEC looking to ‘simplify’ their disclosure process, with the possibility of reducing the amount of information necessary for companies to meet disclosure requirements. On the other hand, you have the street, which at first blush is more than happy with the amount of content and would be happy to receive even more granular details.

So where do you stand on SEC disclosures: More, less, or just right?


Best Practices Guide to Successfully Navigating Social Media for Publicly-Held Companies

January 16, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social + Evolving Media

We are excited to share our latest guide for investor relations and corporate communication professionals outlining the steps they should take (and avoid) to both engage and manage their reputation across social channels.

Business Wire Benefits of SM for IROs

This report details the opportunities and risks of using social media as both a research and communication tool in today’s investor relations programs.  Included are 12 ways investor relations professionals can leverage social media tools for a stronger, more effective engagement program, as well as 12 reasons why social media platforms are not compliant communication tools.

Embracing social media as a news sharing and engagement tool

Business Wire continues to advocate utilizing social media channels to amplify the visibility of company news.  These channels, designed to enhance the communication between organizations and their members, are perfect for brand advocacy.

Business Wire’s guidance for running a successful and legally compliant socially oriented investor communication program include:

  • How to spot an emerging crisis or reputation attack using social media monitoring
  • The importance and impact of multimedia to analysts and other key constituents
  • Real time communications, or why live tweeting earnings works so well
  • Ways to initiate and expand third party sharing of pertinent company information increasing the visibility and authority of your news

Avoiding social channels as a sole means of sharing financial or disclosure oriented news

For the last 4 months, we have taken a long hard look at the concept of utilizing social media distribution channels for financial disclosure.  While we are obviously big fans of utilizing social media as a tool to share news and information, the technology simply is not there yet for these channels to replace traditional disclosure platforms.

Business Wire’s guidance on why social media platforms are not appropriate as the sole method of disclosure includes:

  • Potential coverage limitation
  • Lack of visibility of social updates
  • The impact and risk of message modification
  • Social network demographics and usage rates

To download this free guide in its entirety, visit http://go.businesswire.com/social-media-for-financial-disclosure
Share this with your friends!  Tweet this news out in one click by visiting http://ctt.ec/UEbvf

Want to schedule a time to speak with a Business Wire sales representative about social media, news distribution and disclosure compliance?  Let us know!


Critical Content for an IR Site: Press Releases Most Viewed Within Investor Centers

January 13, 2014
Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communication Services

Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communication Services

By Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services

We’ve heard from naysayers for years now that the press release is dead, especially within the financial industry. The statistical truth, however, is that the press release is, by far, the most accessed type of content within an investor relations center, or IR site.

At Business Wire, we work with thousands of publicly traded companies to disseminate press releases containing important financial data. Many of those organizations have also partnered with Business Wire to host their IR site. As we monitored these sites, we noted that the most popular content ranked as follows for 2013:

  1. Press Releases
  2. Events and presentations
  3. Executive biographies
  4. Annual reports and other financial documents
  5. Analyst coverage

With hundreds of thousands of views, the press release reigns supreme as it is viewed almost seven times more than events and presentations, the second most preferred content type. Views for all content types increased from 2012 to 2013. Interestingly enough, executive biographies grew over 300 percent, passing annual reports by a level.

I’ve always championed the frequently asked questions or FAQ section, particularly for the IR site, and it is next in line after the top five content types above. Financial communications can be complex at times, and investors, analysts and financial reporters have a lot of questions they need answered quickly. It makes it straightforward for all parties if the most common questions are provided with the most current answers.

Due to the demand for press releases, it is vital that they post simultaneously and directly to the IR site as they are distributed via the newswire. Categorizing releases not only by date, but also by subject matter, will make them easier to review and manage.


Six Simple Steps to Switch Your IR Site

October 16, 2013

By Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services

Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communication Services

Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communication Services

Earlier this year, The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. purchased the Corporate Solutions Division of Thomson Reuters which included their IR site hosting services. Recently, NYSE Euronext announced that it would discontinue financial subsidies for companies using these legacy services.

Needless to say, many companies are rapidly performing due diligence to find a new IR site hosting partner. Business Wire is pleased to be a preferred partner for NYSE, meaning qualified companies can easily switch their site hosting to our advanced InvestorHQ platform and continue to receive financial assistance.  In fact, we have helped several of those companies quickly and easily switch their investor center over to our secure, advanced InvestorHQ platform.

If you’re one of these companies and you worry about your IR site – don’t. Review the six simple steps we’ve laid out below, and let Business Wire guide you through the entire process.

  1. Schedule Launch
  2. Transfer Content
  3. Choose Categories
  4. Select Navigation
  5. Match design
  6. Go Mobile

These steps will help you understand what is involved so that your IR site can be converted quickly and cleanly.

1.       Schedule Launch

Anytime you begin a new project, you should visualize the desired end result first, and lay out a structured plan to achieve that outcome. Once we have established your required launch date, Business Wire will provide that plan, including a timeline featuring milestone dates that help us meet the deadline. If your corporate site is in the process of being redesigned, the redesign stage will also be incorporated into the timeline.

During this time, you will be trained on the easy-to-use content management system, and advised on best practices for important areas that span a variety of levels. Consultation will encompass the time zone of your IR site so dates and times post accurately, how your site will display in each of the latest web browsers, the importing of your contact database for email distribution, and the security of your content with access levels for individual site administrators.

2.       Transfer Content

Depending upon how long your company has been in business, you may or may not have a lot of content residing within your current IR site. All you need to do is let your assigned Business Wire HQ Specialist know which content you want to keep and where you want it located within the new site. Your HQ Specialist will physically move the content for you, expediting the launch of your IR site. If you are creating new content for new features and sections within Business Wire InvestorHQ, just send the content to your HQ Specialist for set up.

Not only will all future press releases distributed over Business Wire post automatically into the IR site, but more importantly, the releases will post directly. The distribution of Business Wire press releases and the Business Wire InvestorHQ Investor Center remain within the Business Wire framework, eliminating the need for a third-party wire release aggregator and decreasing the potential of a lost or delayed press release. There are cost-savings, workflow efficiencies and security inherent to using one partner for both services.

GraceIRScreenShot

3.       Choose Categories

Content should be categorized so that it is readily accessible for site visitors. Not only should press releases be available by date, but also by topic or subject matter.  For example, note that CKE Restaurants (http://investor.ckr.com) created categories entitled “Financial Releases,” “CKE,” “Carl’s Jr.,” and “Hardees,” so that their press releases are organized by parent company and brand, yet still allow investors and analysts to locate and access financial releases quickly.

Events and presentations should also be categorized even as commonly as “Past Events” and “Future Events,” as displayed on the W.R. Grace investor center (http://investor.grace.com) when future dates are available. If your company has multiple events, you may consider fine-tuning with classifications like “Webcasts,” “Board Meeting,” “Analyst Day,” or “Press Conference.”

4.       Select Navigation

There are certain types of content, including Analyst Coverage, Stock Charts, SEC Filings, Executive Biographies and additional Corporate Governance documents that should be available within every investor center. Your navigation structure should reflect those content types, and your HQ Specialist will present each of these content types to you and order the navigation in a pattern that best suits your company’s needs.

5.       Match Design

Site visitors need to be able to visually trust that the IR site contains official company data. This is done by following the same fonts, colors, spacing and other design elements that reflect the identity of the corporation. It can also be done by using the company’s domain name within the uniform resource locator (URL) similar to http://investor.chemtura.com or http://ir.standex.com, as well as linking to the IR site from an “Investor Relations” navigation button located on the corporate site. We recommend that the investor center follow the same design as the corporate site, positioning all branding available, even down to the “From” identifier on email alerts and broadcasts.

6.       Go Mobile.

As mobile usage increases dramatically, it is imperative that sites are easily accessible by a mobile audience. Business Wire offers mobile-optimized IR websites that are legible when accessed by smartphones and tablets of varying screen sizes.

When it comes to news distribution, hosting and consumption, it is worth noting that Business Wire has been around for more than 53 years and provides a multitude of financial disclosure services. Partner with Business Wire and stop worrying about your IR site.

For more information on the “must-haves” and “should-haves” for an IR site, we suggest reading: IR Sites: A Guide to Requirements and Best Practices white paper.


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