Aim. Ready. Fire!

TargetI’m no expert on hunting, much less combat. And it’s been a long time since I took an NRA gun safety course as a kid. But in the art of financial communication, I do have an opinion on how we ought to take our shots: The order should be “Aim. Ready. Fire!”

By this, I mean that investor relations professionals should counterbalance the occasional tendencies in the executive suite or PR department to – really quick now – “Fire!” The call may come as, “Let’s get out a press release” … and then we’ll think about it. In more level-headed places, the first step may be to get something ready – develop a press release, write a Q&A, organize a conference call. Execute a tactic.

I’m all for preparation and action. But our first step really should be “Aim.” The IR professional in the room should ask, what’s our goal? Who are we trying to reach? Can we get more specific on objectives? How will this advance our business or support the company’s value? Can we get more specific on these target audiences? Are we aiming the right message to people who will respond to it? What will maximize our impact?

At the start of each tactic, that is, we should think through a little strategy.

© Copyright 2008 Johnson Strategic Communications Inc.

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