VICTORIA GEDDES, Executive Director
In our popular two-part blog on The Do’s and Don’ts of Investor Days, we were working on the not unreasonable assumption that they would be in person events. Over the past two years Covid has ruled out face to face meetings, let alone organizing large events such as AGMs and Investor Days, so we have all become used to the virtual format. Unlike the AGM which is very structured and easily replicated online using the experience of registries and third party specialist providers, the Investor Day presents a whole new set of challenges for companies. For many, this event has been postponed in each of the past two years in the hope that things would soon revert to business as usual. However, the reality is that the world has moved to virtual formats, in whole or part, for the foreseeable future so we are faced with a new task – mastering Virtual Investor Day planning. So here is our take on where to start.
What Stays the Same
Whether executing an event in person or virtually, the fundamental building blocks of Investor Day planning remain intact. These include:
- Start with an understanding of market perceptions – One of the reasons for undertaking an Investor Day is to address any misperceptions that the company has identified. If it is not clear whether investors truly understand the company’s strategy or the day to day realities of operating the business, it can be helpful to engage a third-party to conduct a perception study. The findings can then be used as a roadmap to develop the agenda, messaging and slides.
- Identify what you want investors to learn from the event – Apart from gaining a deeper understanding about the products or services provided by the company and the quality of the management team responsible for delivering them, it helps to be clear about the three to four key messages that you want the audience to take away from the meeting. Rather than letting these evolve from the process, gaining consensus from the management team upfront on the key points is vital so that the Investor Day program can then be built around them.
- Deliver compelling presentations – These are different to results presentations and need to strike a balance between simplicity and meaningful content. 88% of surveyed professionals report that they frequently refer to investor presentations as a leading source of information.
Best practice presentation development
- Having clear messages
- Use structured flow that tells a story
- Simple slides with a clear takeaway in the title
- Leveraging the content with strong and meaningful design
A focus on the longer term – Investors get plenty of opportunity to hear about the short term during the year so this is the one opportunity to provide an overview of the strategy and to talk about the bigger picture. As the world continues to grapple with the uncertainties associated with climate change, Covid variants, inflation and war there will be a demand for some longer-term guidance of key metrics. We are not suggesting providing long term financial targets as that can be problematic, but establishing early on what metrics, ranges, assumptions or scenarios can reasonably be provided in the current environment.
What is Different
The need to engage a virtual, and easily distracted audience, is one of the biggest differences to consider as you plan your Investor Day. To keep your audience engaged, consider the following strategies:
- Shorten the event – Best practice is to keep your virtual event to approximately two and a half hours compared with the all day in-person event that would typically include site visits.
- Incorporate video of your speakers – Video versus an audio-only webcast can make a major difference in engaging your virtual audience.
- Ensure clear, content-dense presentations – The shorter event timeframe puts an even greater emphasis on creating compelling and concise presentations that get to the heart of the issues investors want to better understand.
- Prioritise Q&A – Ideally 30% to 40% of the event time should be dedicated to Q&A to break up the presentations and engage your audience.
- Leverage digital assets to make your story come alive – For example, include customer testimonial videos, product demos, virtual tours or advance screenings of new promotional videos.
- Incorporate interactive sessions – Fireside chats or panel discussions with customers, industry experts or leaders within your organisation can be highly engaging and an excellent way to validate your company’s market position or strategy.
While the shift to virtual formats today is out of necessity, experts and investors agree that the virtual event is here to stay. Part two of Mastering Virtual Investor Days will be published in next month’s newsletter and will focus on managing digital logistics and effective online presenting. These are critical considerations when delivering virtual events, which are more convenient for investors, as there is no travel required, and can be considerably more cost effective for companies. Virtual Investor Days can allow for engagement with an unlimited audience size and, when done right, can more effectively deliver on your investor relations’ goals.