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Building an IR strategy: your guide to success

The IR function is vital for attracting and retaining investors. But, in times of economic volatility, there must be structure and strategy in place for IROs to perform their most effective work. This involves a combination of planning, communication, and execution.

In this article, we explore the pillars of building an investor relations strategy to help IROs unlock the power of their investors, build strong relationships, and get the very best out of their stakeholders.

Set clear goals, measure, and evaluate

Being able to measure success starts with knowing what you want to achieve. And having specific goals to reach for provides a north star for your IR efforts. These goals should reflect the outcomes you want to accomplish over a specific time frame – perhaps six or twelve months. 

Whether your goal is to achieve significant growth, increase your business’s credibility amongst prospective investors, or strengthen existing investor relationships, make sure to revisit these goals regularly, adjust them accordingly, and understand what success looks like from your C-Suite. Don’t be afraid to be an executive first and then an IRO to secure yourself a place at the table. 

Develop a clear and consistent message 

Your IR strategy should have a clear and consistent message that reflects your company's vision, values, and business strategy. To differentiate your business from competitors, place your equity story front and centre when creating key messaging. This narrative should be memorable and transparent, whilst effectively detailing your positioning, past achievements and milestones, and intentions moving forward.

Once your messaging is clear, it’s time to determine the most effective channels to reach your target audience with. Start with the end in mind by considering what you would like the headlines of the analysts’ note to read about your business and choose the channels accordingly - whether that be social media, webcasts, or traditional media outlets.

Build relationships and engage with stakeholders

Building and maintaining relationships with your stakeholders is critical for the success of your IR strategy. This includes regularly communicating with them, providing timely and accurate information, and responding to their questions and concerns. A feedback loop here is also crucial, so don’t be afraid to turn the table and ask them for feedback, too.  

Investor days and IR meetings offer businesses the chance to engage stakeholders, as well as strengthen investor relationships by practising openness and transparency. IROs should make these events as accessible and easy for investors to attend as possible, so being considerate of the format of these meetings is crucial.

 Luckily, the rise in virtual and hybrid IR meetings owing to the pandemic has fuelled advancements in meeting technology. Nowadays, parity between in-room and virtual attendees can be achieved through high-quality broadcasting and the ability to hold a balanced Q&A, aided by features like the virtual microphone.

Embrace ESG

Environmental, social and governance issues are a topic of discussion amongst investors, with questions around executive pay and environmental commitments often being broached by stakeholders.

With expectations for businesses to fulfil their ESG duties high, and scrutiny growing, making your organization’s stance on ESG clear sets expectations for current and prospective investors. It’s all part of knowing your audience and understanding their needs and interests.  

Use investor’s day, retail investor’s day and ESG days to highlight your key messages around poignant topics that resonate with your investors. Commit these values to writing by communicating them through various channels such as press releases, presentations, and annual reports.