When the going gets tough, the best companies get going – to communicate more than ever with shareholders and analysts – according to Institutional Investor‘s ranking of “America’s Best Investor Relations.”
The article in the magazine’s April 2009 issue is worth reading, but IR folks who want to benchmark against the “best” should go online and explore II‘s interactive rankings page. It’s a clunky interface, but you can find your industry among the 54 sectors covered.
The magazine polled more than 650 portfolio managers and buy side analysts, along with 400 sell side analysts, to compile its review of winning IR. Some examples of championship efforts cited by II:
- With volatile currency exchange rates hitting many companies’ earnings, MasterCard and McDonald’s won kudos for providing extra data on the impacts, such as income and expense sensitivity to the dollar-euro rate.
- In a scary time for airlines, Continental “soared above its competitors by being open and giving detailed information not provided by others in the sector” – e.g., monthly projections of revenue growth and jet fuel costs. The IRO also says investors appreciate predictability – like being able to count on seeing Continental’s traffic report on the first business day of each month.
- When Coca-Cola Co. and its largest bottler had a run-in over pricing, KO launched a two-stage outreach – contacting top shareholders and influencers to answer rumors and concerns, then following up with a broad communication effort on how the two companies work together.
- With the recession pinching casinos, slot machine maker WMS Industries emphasizes “being much more visible” by meeting personally with investors and analysts. WMS’ IRO says he’s on the road twice as much now as at the start of 2008.
Bottom line, professional investors are working harder than ever to eke out returns. To cultivate long-term relationships, IR people and the companies we serve must go the extra mile to help investors analyze and understand this challenging time.